Wednesday, 22 August 2012


under the Patronage of
 His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira     and the
 Chairmanship of  His Excellency Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia.


There  will  be  a  temporary                 IONA ORTHODOX CENTRE         at  CLACHANACH

for   a  fortnight  in  both 
Spring and Autumn 2012
The dates are: 

Saturday 28th April - Saturday 5th May
Saturday 5th May - Saturday 12th May
Saturday 15th September - Saturday 22nd September
Saturday 22nd September - Saturday 29th September

You   are  invited  to  make  your   individual  Pilgrimage/Retreat   during  any  of   these  weeks.

It is expected that there will be an Orthodox Priest resident for much of this time.

5  minutes  from  the  Abbey  and  from  St.  Oran's  Chapel.

The 12th Century ST. ORAN'S CHAPEL; oldest building on Iona.

THE   ISLE   OF   IONA   -  a  beautiful and  sacred  place

Colum Cille - St. Columba - came to Iona from his native Ireland about 563 A.D.
From Iona, Columba and his monks spread Celtic Christianity through North Britain.

They were in communion with all Orthodox Christians.

If  you  would  like  to  become  part  of  a temporary  Orthodox  Community  on  Iona
for  a  week;
to  make  a  private  retreat  or  an  individual  pilgrimage,
or  simply  to  enjoy  the  peace  and  tranquillity  of  Iona

...   where  the  veil  between  Heaven  and  Earth  grows  very  thin ...

      then please contact   as  soon  as  possible:
- if interested in April-May Retreats - 

Reader Ignatios Bacon,
Oratory  of  the Theotokos  and  St.  Cumein,
Kilchuimen/Fort Augustus,  Scotland   PH32 4DG
Telephone:   01320 366457

     If your interest is in a September Retreat -

Fr. Mark McBeth,
35 Buchanan Drive,
G73 3PF

Tel. 0141 647 2728 and
0787 2536 105

The September retreats will be led by Fr. David Gill



Long journey, rough sea crossing, arrival exhausted on a beautiful atmospheric island. The welcoming house with good food and regular morning and evening worship in the local old chapel.
The beauty of the island when the sun shone was breathtaking, and even mystical in the rain. 
A wonderful visit for reflection, renewal, rest and company. I long to go again. 

Margaret Handley
Mar 16 2012

I had waited many years to fulfil my ambition of going to Iona but when Iona Orthodox retreats offered me the opportunity of doing so, it did not disappoint. There is a painting by John Duncan, 'Saint Columba Bidding Farewell to the White Horse', where the horse, sensing the Saint's impending death, comes to see him for the last time. For me, this captures precisely the spirit of Iona: the oneness of spirituality and nature.

At Matins and Vespers in Saint Oran's Chapel, the prayers are accompanied by House Martins darting in and out of the chapel door to their nest in the rafters.

Having walked to Saint Columba's Bay, the tranquillity was broken by a sense that I was being watched. Looking out to sea I found I was being observed by a sealwhich had surfaced just offshore. It dived and surfaced to stare at me , dived and surfaced before it returned to the sea and I turned to retrace my steps. 

I found Iona to be a place with a unique form of peacefulness which invites and encourages contemplation and prayer. I returned to the mainland, with its bustle and distractions, with a host of memories but also physically revitalised and spiritually refreshed.

Martin Stone

I spent a few days on Iona last Autumn.  I found it to be a very peaceful place.  It was really getting one to one with nature with the grass and the sheep and the cows, which were all really laid back.  On the way over, I had never seen so many rainbows in my life.  I met some lovely people in the Orthodox retreat house and St. Orans Chapel was a good setting for the prayer services. 

Charlotte Anna

Our Patron


St. Columba Fr. Peter Preble Fr. John A. PeckSaint Columba (the Latinized name for Colum, meaning dove) was born at Garten in Donegall to a noble family. He entered the monastic school of Moville under Saint Finnian, who had studied at Saint Ninnian’s great monastery. Here Columba received the diaconate and entered monastic life. Tradition tells us that it is there that his sanctity is first attested to by the performance of miracles. Having completed his training he travelled to Leinster and then later to the monastery of Clonard. Here he was probably ordained priest before leaving for Glansnevin and the monastery there. When a pestilence devastated the country in 543, the monks dispersed and Columba spent 15 years traversing in Ireland founding several important monasteries, including Derry in 546. Sometime around 560, he became involved in a dispute with Saint Finnian over a psalter. Columba had copied a psalter and believed he had the right to keep it, Saint Finnian did not.
In 563 Columba, with twelve companions, left for Scotland. The reasons given for this departure vary but it is probable that he was involved in encouraging clan warfare against King Diarmait in 561, with some connection to the psalter dispute. On the Island of Iona he founded the famous Abbey, a centre for Celtic Christianity. Iona became a base for missionary work amongst the Northern Picts. Columba visited King Bridei, near Inverness, and won his respect. The royal residence had been bolted closed but, at the sign of the cross, the doors flew open and thus struck by such a miracle, the King listened and was baptised. Many of the people soon followed. This respect he found subsequently led him into a political role and he helped greatly in shaping the political landscape of that time, with some opposition remaining from the Druids.
Columba spent the rest of his life preaching and travelling in Scotland. The ‘Book of Deer’ (a tenth century illuminated manuscript, providing a unique insight into cultural, social and ecclesiastical life of the East of Scotland.) attests to Columba’s work and miracles in the East of the country. On another journey to the West he met with Saint Mungo, the apostle of Strathclyde. He returned to Iona, when not engaged in missionary work, and there many came to seek his counsel. From here, Columba governed the many communities he had founded. In the Celtic tradition the Abbot, although perhaps only in priest’s orders, was at times considered to govern above that of the position of a bishop, the bishop thus being subject to the Abbot’s jurisdiction.
On the afternoon of 8th June, 597, Columba climbed the hill behind his monastery and gave his final blessing to the place he loved so much. At vespers, that night, he collapsed before the altar and found home with his heavenly Father, surrounded by his monks. He was seventy six years of age. He was buried in the monastery but, one hundred years later, his bones were disinterred and revered. They were taken to Ireland when the threat of Vikings became apparent but they vanished in time. Books and garments remained at Iona Abbey and were the focus for miraculous works.
Saint Adamnan, a future Abbot of Iona, said of Columba
“He was angelic in appearance, graceful in speech, holy in work”.
It is without doubt that Columba stands as one of the greatest of the Celtic Saints. A man of incredible industry, of missionary work, of creating communities and not least a man of humility and deep charity.