- Alternate uses: see Iona (disambiguation).
Iona, population 175, is a small island (1 mile wide, 3.5 miles long) of the Inner Hebrides, Scotland. Its Gaelic name is I Chaluim Cille (Saint Columba's Island). In 563 Saint Columba, exiled from his native Ireland, founded a monastery here, and from here Christianity spread to the rest of Scotland. Many believe that the Book of Kells was produced on Iona at this time. The monastery survived until the Reformation.
Iona also became the burial site for the kings of Dalriada and their successors, the early kings of Scotland. Notable burials there include:
In 1938 George MacLeod founded the Iona Community, an ecumenical Christian community of men and women from different walks of life and different traditions in the Christian church that is committed to seeking new ways of living the gospel of Jesus Christ in today's world. This community is a leading force in the present Celtic Christianity revival. The Iona Community runs 3 residential centres on the Isle of Iona and on Mull. These are places of welcome and engagement giving a unique opportunity to live together in community with people of every background from all over the world. Weeks at the centres often follow a programme related to the concerns of the Iona Community.
Iona Abbey is of particular historical and religious interest to pilgrims and also of note Iona Nunnery is a site of 13th century ruins and a colourful garden. Iona is popular among visitors for its tranquility and natural beauty. Its geographical features include the Bay at the Back of the Ocean and the Hill with His Back to Ireland , said to be adjacent to the beach where Saint Columba landed.
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