Descendant from the Royal Family of Donegal, he decided to be a ‘Prince of the Church’.
He charged around founding religious houses — at least thirty-seven of them. Then a pagan chief violated one of them. A bad mistake; St COLUMBA was no pushover — he would always push back.
The chief was swiftly executed. The pagans were highly annoyed and raised an army of 3,000. Our hero with his small band of followers killed the lot with the loss of just one Christian.
The authorities excommunicated our Saint for causing unnecessary death, even though he told them the Archangel Gabriel said he could. So the synod offered atonement if he could convert and reclaim 3,000 souls.
Heathens being a little thin on the ground on his home patch, Col set off towards Scotland with a small band of followers until he reached Iona where some angels came and supplied him with a syllabus.
After this he romped through Scotland with a set of miracles and soon had his quota of converts. He even found time to save a potential victim from the Loch Ness Monster.
By the time he had finished there were a hundred churches in full swing.