Daily Archives: December 7, 2017

Iona and Jerusalem

Christianized from various sources, including:


Experts on the famous Scottish monastery of Iona have long speculated about whether a rock in the ancient monastery was the site of St Columba’s cell (St Columba was Abbot of Iona from the date of the monastery’s founda­tion in 563 till his repose in 597). The location of the tiny wooden building was described by St Adamnan (Adam), the seventh-century abbot of Iona and writer of St Columba’s life.

Sixty years ago a team exca­vated the summit of the outcrop, found the burned remains of a tiny wooden hut and proposed that the building had been St Columba’s cell. Most scholars rejected the idea. However, two archaeologists from the University of Glasgow have now tracked down the scraps of burned timber (excavated in 1957, but long presumed lost) and ar­­ranged to have them radiocarbon-dated. The results demonstrate that the hut was not a later structure but did indeed date to somewhere between 540 and 650.

New research sug­gests that a now long-vanished stone cross that had once stood on the rocky outcrop had been erected there, probably shortly after St Columba had reposed and therefore potentially in com­memoration of him. This new evidence, together with Adomnan’s description of the location (and the traditional Gaelic name of the rock outcrop: Tòrr an Aba [Mound of the Abbot]), makes it almost certain that the “Tor” was indeed the site of Columba’s cell, and that the wooden hut, excavated 60 years ago, was the centre of the monas­tery.

It is also likely that it was the place where he wrote one of the world’s oldest surviving manuscripts of the Age of Saints, the Cathach, a collec­tion of psalms. During much of that period, Iona was of crit­ical importance in spreading the know­ledge of God throughout large areas of Western Europe. It was probably at Iona that the famous early illumin­ated manuscript, the Book of Kells, was produced; and it was from here that the epicentre of northern English Christianity, the monastery of Lindisfarne, was founded.

The archaeologists have also discov­ered evidence that Iona’s pil­grim­age road was established in the eighth or ninth century AD. It would make it one of the earliest Christian pilgrimage roads in the world. It is now considered that the whole plan of Iona was based on Jerusalem. It is believed that Iona’s version of the Jerusalem pilgrimage road was eventually up to 600 yards long, and, by the ninth century, may have begun at Martyrs’ Bay (the probable location of the martyrdom of Iona monks by the Vikings in 806), and ended at the tomb of St Columba, where the monastery is now located.


O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…

Woe unto you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites!…All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them who are sent to thee, how often I wanted to gather thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you did not want it!

Matthew 23, 29, 36 and 37

Just as he had promised before he was elected, President Trump has now recognized occupied Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State. His Modern Orthodox Jewish son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, and now Jewish daughter, Ivanka, are pleased. The rest of the world is in consternation and in the Arab world violence can be expected. Let us not forget that in Jerusalem in November 2016 the revived Sanhedrin sent President Trump and President Putin a petition about the restoration of the Third Temple. The Sanhedrin press spokesman, Rabbi Gideon Weiss, said at the time that the election of Mr Trump had made the dream of restoring the Temple a reality. He added that ‘the American and Russian leaders could lead the peoples of ‘the global world’ to peace by building the Temple’.

Meanwhile, in the centre of ‘the Christian world’, a Council of nearly 400 Orthodox patriarchs and bishops in the main ‘Temple’ of Moscow, attended by all the Local Orthodox Churches except for Constantinople and Greece who refused to attend (more Local Churches than attended the so-called ‘Council of Crete’ in 2016), has just concluded. The Council was addressed by President Putin, the first time in over 300 years that a Patriarchal Council has been addressed by a Russian leader. The President then met the leaders of the Local Churches, like a new Constantine, the first Christian Emperor. President Putin appears as the protector of the whole Orthodox world, and has just won back Syria through defeating terrorism there and co-operating closely with the regional powers, Turkey and Iran.

After the Moscow Council, which commemorated the centenary of the restoration of the Russian Patriarchate, so much worked for by Metr Antony (Khrapovitsky), and so gathered the Orthodox children together, Patriarch Theophil (the name means ‘friend of God’) of Jerusalem is today visiting the city of Ekaterinburg. Today is St Catherine’s day and the name of the city means ‘Catherine’s fortress’. It is also of course the place of martyrdom of the last Christian Emperor, Nicholas II. Meanwhile, in Moscow, the prominent ‘friend of God’ and pious Orthodox layman, Konstantin Malofeev, has stated that just as 100 years ago those who sought the restoration of the Patriarchate to resist the coming atheist onslaught were victorious, so we too ‘must convince contemporary Russian society that if Russia is to remain a sovereign country, the restoration of Tsardom is just as indispensible’.

He that has ears to hear, let him hear.