List of Scottish Saints
A native of the Holy Land (traditionally claimed to have been born at Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee)
Saint Andrew (Greek: Andreas, "manly, brave"), called in the Orthodox tradition Protocletos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the elder brother of Saint Peter.
About the middle of the tenth century, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. Several legends state that the relics of Andrew were brought under supernatural guidance from Constantinople to the place where the modern town of St. Andrews stands (Pictish, Muckross; Gaelic, Cill Rìmhinn).
The oldest surviving accounts are two: one is among the manuscripts collected by Jean-Baptiste Colbert and willed to Louis XIV, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, the other in the Harleian Mss in the British Library, London. They state that the relics of Andrew were brought by one Regulus to the Pictish king Óengus mac Fegusa (729–761). The only historical Regulus (Riagail or Rule) — the name is preserved by the tower of St. Rule — was an Irish monk expelled from Ireland with St. Columba; his date, however, is c. 573–600. There are good reasons for supposing that the relics were originally in the collection of Acca, bishop of Hexham, who took them into Pictish country when he was driven from Hexham (c. 732), and founded a see, not, according to tradition, in Galloway, but on the site of St. Andrews. The connection made with Regulus is, therefore, due in all probability to the desire to date the foundation of the church at St. Andrews as early as possible.
Another legend says that in the late eighth century, during a joint battle with the English, King Ungus (either the Óengus mac Fergusa mentioned previously or Óengus II of the Picts (820–834)) saw a cloud shaped like a saltire, and declared Andrew was watching over them, and if they won by his grace, then he would be their patron saint. However, there is evidence Andrew was venerated in Scotland before this.
Andrew's connection with Scotland may have been reinforced following the Synod of Whitby, when the Celtic Church felt that Columba had been "outranked" by Peter and that Peter's older brother would make a higher ranking patron. The 1320 Declaration of Arbroath cites Scotland's conversion to Christianity by St. Andrew, "the first to be an Apostle".
Numerous parish churches in the Church of Scotland and congregations of other Christian churches in Scotland are named after St. Andrew.
Adomnán of Iona
Saint Adomnán of Iona (627/8-704) was abbot of Iona (679-704), hagiographer, statesman and clerical lawyer; he was the author of the most important Vita of Saint Columba and promulgator of the "Law of Innocents". A popular anglicised form of his name is Saint Eunan from the Gaelic Naomh Adhamhnán.
Aidan of Lindisfarne
Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne, the Apostle of Northumbria (died 651), was the founder and first bishop of the monastery on the island of Lindisfarne in England. A Christian missionary, he is credited with restoring Christianity to Northumbria.
An Irishman, possibly born in Connacht, Aidan was a monk at the monastery on the island of Iona in Scotland.
Saint Blane (Old Irish Bláán) was a Bishop and Confessor in Scotland, born on the island of Bute, date unknown; died 590. His feast is kept on 10 August. He was a nephew of St. Cathan, and was educated in Ireland under Sts. Comgall and Kenneth; he became a monk, went to Scotland, and eventually was bishop among the Picts. Several miracles are related of him, among them the restoration of a dead boy to life.
Saint Columba (7 December 521 - 9 June 597) is sometimes referred to as Columba of Iona, or, in Old Irish, as Saint Colm Cille or Columcille (meaning "Dove of the church"). He was the outstanding figure among the Gaelic missionary monks who reintroduced Christianity to Scotland during the Dark Ages.
Saint Curetán (Latin: Curitanus, Kiritinus, or Boniface ) was a Scoto-Pictish bishop and saint, whose floruit lay between 690 and 710. He is listed as one of the witnesses in the Cáin Adomnáin, where he is called "Curetan epscop". In the Matyrology of Tallaght he is called "of Ross Mand Bairend" and in the Martyrology of O'Gorman he is styled "bishop and abbot of Ross maic Bairend". His bishopric is usually held, and with good reason, to have been Ross, the seat of which was at the settlement in the Black Isle called Ros-Maircnidh or Rosemarkie, named after the local stream. A hagiography of Curetán is found in the sixteeth century MS known as the Breviary of Aberdeen, where his vita occurs under the name "Boniface". In this hagiography, his Latin name is accompanied by a story of his Hebrew origins, a descendant of the sister of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew, who was first ordained as a priest by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, before travelling to Rome and becoming Pope, later resigning and moving to Pictland.
The story is similar to that in the Life of St. Serf, and it has been conjectured that both were the product of the Romanizing faction in the Easter Controversy. There are place-name commemorations to Saint Curetán along Glen Urquhart, Strathglass, Glen Glass, Loch Ness and the Cromarty Firth. Curetán-Boniface is also associated with the churches of Restenneth and Invergowrie, churches which, like Rosemarkie, both have dedications to Saint Peter.
Cuthbert of Lindisfarne
St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (ca. 634–20 March 687) was an Anglo-Saxon monk and bishop in the Kingdom of Northumbria which at that time included, in modern terms, north east England and south east Scotland as far as the Firth of Forth. Afterwards he became one of the most important medieval saints of England, with widespread recognition in the places he had been in Scotland.
Cuthbert is regarded as the patron saint of Northumbria. His feast day is March 20.
David I of Scotland
King David I (or Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim; also known as Saint David I or David I "the Saint") (1084 – May 24, 1153), was King of Scots from 1124 until his death, and the youngest son of Malcolm Canmore and of Saint Margaret (sister of Edgar Ætheling).
He married Matilda, daughter and heiress of Waltheof, Earl of Northumbria, in 1113 and thus gained possession of the earldom of Huntingdon.
On the death of King Edgar in 1107, the territories of the Scottish crown were divided in accordance with the terms of his will between his two brothers, Alexander and David. Alexander, together with the crown, received Scotland north of the Rivers Forth and Clyde, David the southern district with the title of Earl of Cumberland. The death of Alexander in 1124 gave David possession of the whole starting on 27 April of that year.
In 1127, in the character of an English baron, he swore fealty to Matilda as heiress to her father Henry I, and when the usurper Stephen ousted her in 1135 David vindicated her cause in arms and invaded the Kingdom of England. But Stephen marched north with a great army, whereupon David made peace. The peace, however, was not kept. After threatening an invasion in 1137, David marched into England in 1138, but sustained a minor defeat on Cutton Moor in the engagement known as the Battle of the Standard.
He returned to Carlisle, and soon afterwards concluded peace. In 1141 he joined Matilda in London and accompanied her to Winchester, but after a narrow escape from capture he returned to Scotland. Henceforth he remained in his own kingdom and devoted himself to its political and ecclesiastical reorganisation. A devoted son of the church, he founded five bishoprics and many monasteries. In secular politics he energetically forwarded the process of feudalisation and anglicisation which his immediate predecessors had initiated. He died at Carlisle. David I is recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as a Saint, although he was never formally canonized.
He had two sons, Malcolm (not to be confused with Malcolm IV of Scotland, this Malcolm's nephew) and Henry and two daughters, Claricia and Hodierna.
Saint Drostan (d. early 7th century), also Drustan, Dustan, and Throstan, was the founder and abbot of the monastery of Old Deer in Aberdeenshire. His relics were translated to the church at Aberdour and his holy well lies nearby. Saint Drostan's day is July 11. The water of St. Drostan's Well is an important ingredient of Aberlour Pure Single Highland Malt Whisky.
Saint Duthac, or Duthus (1000-1065), is the patron saint of the Royal Burgh of Tain in Scotland.
According to the Breviary of Aberdeen, Duthac was a native Scot. Tradition has it that Duthac was educated in Ireland and died in Tain.
A chapel was built in his honor and a sanctuary established at Tain. The great Ferchar mac in tSagairt, first Earl or Mormaer of Ross in the thirteenth century, and was ministered by the Norbertine canons of Fearn Abbey. A century later, this sanctuary was notably breached by English supporters who captured Robert the Bruce's wife and daughter sheltering in the chapel. The chapel was burnt later in political violence between regional power groups, namely the Clan MacKay and the Clan Ross. The ruins of the chapel still exist as a centrepiece of a cemetery along the shores of the Dornoch Firth.
Saint Duthac was greatly venerated in Scotland before the (First) Reformation - Celtic to Catholic - and his memory is still preserved in place names, notably Kilduthie; Arduthie near Stonehaven and Kilduich on the Loch Duich. Tain, where he died and was buried, had the Church built specially in his honour. His death is recorded in "The Annals of Ulster" year 1065. After many years his body was found to be incorrupt and his relics were translated to a more splendid shrine at St. Duthus Collegiate Church built between 1370 and 1458. They disappeared in 1560 at the time of the Reformation.
St Filan was an Augustinian monk from the priory on the Isle of May, Scotland.
St Filan left the Isle of May for Pittenweem in Fife and converted the local populace to Christianity. The Augustinians subsequently founded a Priory in Pittenweem.
He is supposed to have lived in St Filan's Cave, situated in Cove Wynd, Pittenweem, which is open to the public. The cave was rediscovered circa 1900 when a horse ploughing in the Priory garden fell down a hole into it. The cave has flat rocks that are presumed to be beds and a small spring of "holy water" at the rear.
St Filan is the patron saint of skydiving.
Saint Fillan, Phillan, Fáelán (Old Irish) or Faolan (modern Gaelic) is the name of (probably) two Scottish saints, of Irish origin. The career of a historic individual lies behind at least one of these 'saints' (fl. 8th century), but much of the tradition surrounding 'Fillan' seems to be of a purely legendary character. The name Fillan probably means "little wolf" being formed on a diminutive of faol, an old word for the animal.
The St Fillan whose feast is kept on 20 June had churches dedicated to his honor at Ballyheyland, Queens County, Ireland, and at Loch Earn, Perthshire.
The other, who is commemorated on 9 January, was specially venerated at Cluain Mavscua, County Westmeath, Ireland, and so early as the 8th or 9th century at Strathfillan, Perthshire, Scotland, where there was an ancient monastery dedicated to him, which, like most of the religious houses of early times, was afterwards secularized. The lay-abbot, who was its superior in the reign of William the Lion, held high rank in the Scottish kingdom. This monastery was restored in the reign of Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce), and became a cell of the abbey of canons regular at Inchaffray. The new foundation received a grant from King Robert, in gratitude for the aid which he was supposed to have obtained from a now lost relic of the saint (an arm-bone, enclosed in a silver reliquary) on the eve of the great victory at the battle of Bannockburn.
Another relic was the saint's staff or crozier, which became known as the coygerach or quigrich, and was long in the possession of a family of the name of Jore or Dewar, who were its hereditary guardians. They certainly had it in their custody in the year 1428, and their right was formally recognized by King James III in 1487.
The head of the crozier, which is of silver-gilt with a smaller crozier of bronze inclosed within it, is now deposited in the Museum of Scotland. The saint's bronze bell is also preserved in the museum.
Finan of Lindisfarne
Finan of Lindisfarne (died February 17, 661), also known as Saint Finan, was an Irish monk, trained at Iona in Scotland, who became Bishop of Lindisfarne from 651 until 661. Originally from Ireland, he founded a cathedral on Lindisfarne and converted the kings Sigebert of Essex and Peada of the Middle Angles to Christianity. Bede is the main source for Finan's life.
Saint Gervadius (also known as Garnat; Garnet; Gerardin; Gerardine; Gernard; Gernardius; Gervardius )
Saint's Day 8 November
Gervadius was a hermit at Kenedor (present day Kinneddar, Lossiemouth, Moray). He was born in Ireland and some sources claim that he came to Scotland as a refugee from viking raids in his native land. He is believed to have been part of a Celtic religious community that was present in Kinneddar in the 10th century, occupying a cave in a rocky promontory just to the east. Gervadius died c.934 AD. The early maps give reference to his having been there by naming the area Holyman's Head. His cave became a place of pilgrimage right up to the Reformation and survived into the 19th century before being quarried out.
The legend was that he lit flaming torches at night to warn ships away from the dangerous rocks. Legend also has it that once when he needed wood to complete construction of a church, a great storm struck upriver of him, washing enough timber down to him.
Gilbert de Moravia
Gilbert de Moravia († 1245), later known as Saint Gilbert of Dornoch, was the most famous Bishop of Caithness and founder of Dornoch Cathedral.
His name may suggest that he came from the semi-Gaelicized family of Flemish origin who were Lords of Duffus, and who during Gilbert's episcopate would create the Earldom of Sutherland under Gilbert's possible cousin, William de Moravia, 1st Earl of Sutherland. It is known that Gilbert was the son of one Muiredach, son of Alexander de Moravia ("of Moray", so not necessarily a family name). If Gilbert was of purely Gaelic origin, his name may be a Francization of the Gaelic name Gille Brigte (modern: Gillebrìghde). Gilbert allegedly had a younger brother, Richard de Moravia, who was killed fighting against Scandinavians and whose effigy-sarcophagus currently resides in the cathedral.
Gilbert then very likely came from Moray. He was for a long time the Archdeacon of the Bishopric of Moray. It is probable that Gilbert was elected to the see sometime in the year 1223, in the presence of King Alexander II of Scotland and his army. He was certainly bishop of Caithness by the summer of 1224. King Alexander probably decided that, after the murder of Gilbert's predecessor Adam of Melrose, the bishopric's seat (cathedra) should be moved closer to royal protection. So it was that Gilbert's episcopate saw the move of the bishopric from Halkirk in the far north of the diocese to Dornoch in the far south. It was to the new cathedral that, in 1239, Gilbert would move Bishop Adam's body.
Gilbert nevertheless continued to reside for much of his episcopate in the north, and maintained a palace at Scrabster. It was here that he died in 1245, traditionally on April 1. The latter day is his feast day. He was buried at Dornoch.
He is the last Scottish saint to appear in the Calendar of Saints, although it is not known if he was ever formally canonized.
Saint Laserian (also known as Molaise) was a 7th century missionry who worked in both Ireland and Scotland.
He later entered the monastery at Leighlin in Ireland where he became abbot and possibly bishop. His monastery thrived and gave its name to the diocese established in 1110. He adapted Church discipline in accordance with the practices of Rome and introduced the Roman method of dating the celebration of Easter. He died in 639.
St. Machar is believed to be a sixth-century Irish missionary active on the Isle of Mull and perhaps eastern Scotland. His existence and identity, however, have long been queried.
Legend claims that Machar was a son of Fiachna, Prince of Ulster (not the ancient Fiachna, High King of Ireland) and that he was given the name Mochumma when baptised as a young man by St. Colman of Kilmacduagh (Colman MacDuagh). He was supposedly one of the group of twelve men who accompanied St. Columba from Ireland into exile on Iona in 561, where they established the monastery that became the centre for Christian missionary work in Scotland and northern England. Machar is said to have worked mostly on the neighbouring Isle of Mull, but that the miracles he wrought there made others envious and Columba was asked to send him elsewhere. Columba supposedly told Machar to take their mission to the Pictish people of eastern Scotland, founding a church "where a river formed the shape of a crosier".
The precision of this purported instruction has meant that more than one place in eastern Scotland has been proposed as the site where Machar founded a church. One is the site of St. Machar's Cathedral, Aberdeen; another is a site near Aboyne where it is claimed Machar established a cell. Three features in the area are named after him: St. Machar's Well, St. Machar's Cross (a boulder into which a cross has been cut) and a rock known as St. Machar's Chair (the Cathair Mochrieha; "Mochrieha" is another version of Machar/Mochumma's name).
Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney
Saint Magnus, Earl Magnus Erlendsson of Orkney, was the first Earl of Orkney to bear that name, and ruled from 1108 to about 1116 or 1117.
Born in 1075, Magnus' grandparents Earl Thorfinn and his wife Ingibiorg Finnsdottir had two sons; Erlend and Paul. Through Ingibiorg's father Finn Arnesson and his wife, this family was related to the Norwegian Kings Olav II and Harald II.
Magnus was the son of Erlend Thorfinnsson, Earl of Orkney, and he first served Magnus III of Norway, who took possession of the islands in 1098, deposing Erlend and his brother, Paul. Paul's son, Haakon Paulsson, then became regent on behalf of the Norwegian prince, Sigurd, who created Haakon earl in 1105. According to the Orkneyinga Saga Magnus had a reputation for piety and gentleness, and blotted his record with the Norwegians by refusing to fight on a Viking raid on Anglesey, Wales, because of his religious convictions, instead staying on board singing psalms. He was obliged to take refuge in Scotland, but returned to Orkney in 1105 and disputed the succession with his cousin Håkon. Having failed to reach an agreement, he sought help from King Eystein II of Norway, who granted him the earldom and he ruled jointly and amicably with Håkon until 1114.
Their followers fell out, and the two sides met at the Thing (assembly) on Orkney Mainland, ready to do battle. Peace was negotiated and the Earls arranged to meet each other on the island of Egilsay, each bringing only two ships. Magnus arrived on 16 April 1116 (or 1117) with his two ships, but then Haakon treacherously turned up with eight ships. Magnus was captured and offered to go into exile or prison, but an assembly of chieftains insisted that one earl must die. Haakon's standard bearer refused to execute Magnus, and an angry Haakon made his cook Lifolf kill Magnus by striking him on the head with an axe. It was said that Magnus first prayed for the souls of his executioners.
Magnus was buried in the Christchurch at Birsay. The rocky area around his grave miraculously became a green field, and there were numerous reports of miraculous happenings and healings. William the Old, Bishop of Orkney, warned that it was "heresy to go about with such tales", then was struck blind at his church and subsequently had his sight restored after praying at the grave of Magnus, not long after visiting Norway (and perhaps meeting Earl Rognvald Kolsson).
Saint Malo (saint)
Saint Malo (also known as Maclou and, in Latin, as Maclovius or Machutus) was the mid-6th century founder of Saint-Malo in Brittany, France.
Details of Malo's career are preserved in three medieval 'Lives' which seem to include incidents associated with several different people of similar names. Despite this confusion, it appears that Malo was born about the year 520, probably in Wales.
Saint Mirin is an Irish monk who died circa 620, also known as Mirin of Benchor (now called Bangor), Merinus, Merryn, Meadhran and Mirren.
The founder and abbot of Paisley Abbey, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, the shrine of this saint there became a centre of pilgrimage.
He was a contemporary of Saint Columba and disciple of Saint Comgall and is venerated in both Ireland and Scotland.
He is the patron saint of Paisley. St. Mirren F.C., a football club from Paisley, is named after him.
St Modan was the son of an Irish chieftain. He became a monk and built a chapel at Dryburgh, Scotland, in 522 which he used as a base for several years. This later became the site of a monastery: Dryburgh Abbey.
He actively proselyted on behalf of the Celtic church in the Falkirk and Stirling areas, and along the Forth, continuing until he was elected abbot, a post which he accepted reluctantly. After a number of years he resigned and became a hermit, settling in the Dumbarton area, where he eventually died. His relics were enshrined at Saint Modan's church, Rosneath.
Saint Molaise, born late 6th century, also called Saint Laisren or Lazerian, meaning light. Born in Ireland and raised in Scotland as a young man he lived the life of a hermit on Holy Isle. He later visited Rome as a pilgrim and was subsequently said to have been ordained a bishop there. On return to Ireland he founded a church at Leighlin in County Carlow and eventually became abbot of a local monastery.
Saint Molaise's feast day is celebrated on April 18.
St Moluag is the Patron Saint of Argyll and of the old Scots Kingdom of Dalriada as evidenced by a Charter as late as 1544 from the Earl of Argyll which states "in honour of God Omnipotent, the blessed Virgin, and Saint Moloc, our patron".
According to the Irish Annals, in 562 Saint Lughaidh, better known by his pet name of Moluag, beat St Columba in a race to the large island of the Lyn of Lorn in Argyll. Now called the Isle of Lismore it was the sacred island of the Western Picts and the burial place of their kings whose capital was at Beregonium, across the water at Benderloch. Moluag was an Irish noble of the Dál nAraide who trained with St Comgall at Bangor (co. Down). Moluag was an Irish Pict, closely allied to the Dalriads, so it is assumed he was able to move into this border region with the approval of both King Brude and the Cenél Loairn.
There are various Irish forms of the name, such as Lughaidh, Luoc and Lua. Latinized they become Lugidus, Lugadius and Luanus. The name, as it has come down the centuries, Moluag or Moluoc, is made up of the honorific mo, plus the original name Lughaidh, pronounced Lua, plus the endearing suffix -oc. From Lismore St Moluag went on to found two other great centres in the land of the Picts at Rosemarkie and Mortlach. These were his three centres of teaching, and it is significant that all three were to become the seats of the Roman Catholic Sees of the Isles, Ross and Aberdeen.
Saint Monan (fl. 6th-7th century) is a legendary saint about whom very little is known. He may have lived in the 6th to 7th centuries. The only description of his life comes from the Brevarium Aberdonense, which was published in Edinburgh in 1509 - 1510. This account has numerous demonstrable errors, but it claims that St. Monan was a companion of Saint Adrian who was with him on the Isle of May when he suffered martyrdom and then went on to Inverey in Fife and set up a chapel. This chapel was rebuilt by David II of Scotland between 1329 and 1371 after he recovered from battle wounds thanks to the intercession of the saint. This place is the modern day St Monans in Fife, Scotland. The only other corroboration for the saint comes from the monks of Ireland who recorded a "Saint Moenenn" for the same feast day as Monan. This Moenenn was a bishop in Ireland.
Monan's feast day in the Roman Catholic Church is March 1.
Saint Mungo is the commonly used name for Saint Kentigern (also known as Cantigernus (Latin) or Cyndeyrn Garthwys (Welsh)). He was the late 6th century apostle of the Brythonic Kingdom of Strathclyde in modern Scotland, and patron saint and founder of the city of Glasgow.
In the 'Life of Saint Mungo', he performed four religious miracles in Glasgow. The following verse is used to remember Mungo's four miracles:
Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam
The verses refer to the following:
The Bird — Mungo restored life to the pet robin of Saint Serf, which had been killed by some of his fellow classmates, hoping to blame him for its death.
The Tree — Mungo had been left in charge of a fire in Saint Serf's monastery. He fell asleep and the fire went out. Taking branches from a tree, he restarted the fire.
The Bell — the bell is thought to have been brought by Mungo from Rome. It was said to have been used in services and to mourn the deceased. The original bell no longer exists, and a replacement, created in the 1640s, is now on display in Glasgow.
The Fish — refers to the story about Queen Languoreth of Strathclyde who was suspected of infidelity by her husband. King Riderch demanded to see her ring, which he claimed she had given to her lover. In reality the King had thrown it into the River Clyde. Faced with execution she appealed for help to Mungo, who ordered a messenger to catch a fish in the river. On opening the fish, the ring was miraculously found inside, which allowed the Queen to clear her name. (This story may be confused with an almost identical one concerning King Maelgwn of Gwynedd and Saint Asaph.)
On the spot where Mungo was buried now stands the cathedral dedicated in his honour. His shrine was a great centre of Christian pilgrimage until the Scottish Reformation. His remains are said to still rest in the crypt.
His festival was kept throughout Scotland on 13 January. The Bollandists have printed a special mass for this feast, dating from the 13th century. His feast day in the West is 1 July. His feast day in the Eastern Orthodox Church is 14 January.
Mungo's four religious miracles in Glasgow are represented in the city's coat of arms. Glasgow's current motto Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of his word and the praising of his name and the more secular Let Glasgow flourish, are both inspired by Mungo's original call "Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the word".
Máel Ruba, Maol Rubha or Malruibhe ( b. 642 - d. 722 ), sometimes Latinised as Rufus, was a monk, originally from Bangor, Ireland, and founder of the monastic community of Applecross in Ross. The Gaelic name of Applecross, "A' Chomraich", comes from a sanctuary which surrounded his church. Maol Rubha's monastery was a major Christian centre and instrumental in the spread of both Christianity and Gaelic culture amongst the Picts of northern Scotland. There are several locations named after Maol Rubha such as Loch Maree. In the 17th century the Presbytery of Dingwall was disturbed by the existence of several rituals, such as the sacrificing of bulls, revolving around a debased memory of Máel Ruba. Máel Ruba was descended from Niall, King of Ireland, on the side of his father Elganach. His rnother, Subtan, was a niece of Saint Comgall of Bangor. Máel Ruba was born in the area of Derry and was educated at Bangor. When he was thirty, he sailed from Ireland to Scotland with a group of monks.
For two years he travelled around the area, chiefly in Argyll, and founded about half a dozen churches before settling at Abercrossan (Applecross) in the west of Ross. Here he built his chief church and monastery in the midst of the Picts, and thence he set out on missionary journeys: westward to the islands Skye and Lewis, eastward to Forres and Keith, and northward to Loch Shinn, Durness, and Farr.
It was on this last journey that he was killed by Danish vikings, probably at Teampull, around nine miles up the Strathnaver from Farr, where he had built a cell. Maelrubha was buried near the River Naver, not far from his cell, and his grave is still marked by "a rough cross-marked stone". The tradition, in the Aberdeen Breviary, that he was killed at Urquhart and buried at Abercrossan is probably a mistake arising from a confusion of Gaelic placenames.
Saint Ninian (c. 360 - 432) is the earliest known bishop to have visited Scotland. Neither his place and date of birth, nor his early life, are known with any certainty.
The traditional story is that he was born in Brythonic Cumbria, probably Rheged, but travelled to Rome as a young man to study Christianity. There he was made a bishop and given the task of converting the Picts by the Pope, St Siricius.
Tradition (first mentioned by Bede) states that around 397 he set up his base at Whithorn in south-west Scotland, building a stone church there, known as the Candida Casa which means the White House. From there he began work among the Northern Brythons of the surrounding area. Later he undertook a journey northwards along the east coast in order to spread Christianity among the southern Picts. The word southern is almost certainly a misnomer based on the maps of early times which mistakenly depict the east coast of Scotland as if it were the south coast. Placename evidence and local tradition suggest that he may have travelled as far as the Shetland Islands. He trained many missionaries, among whom, it is said, was the man who converted Saint Columba.
In 2001, a Glasgow University Celticist argued that St. Ninian was in fact the same man as St Finnian, likewise a mentor of St. Columba, and that the confusion is due to an 8th century scribal spelling error. Scholars seem to be accepting that this was indeed the case.
Saint Oda of Scotland (c.680 – c.726) was a Scottish princess who became a holy woman in the Netherlands.
Oda was born blind and her father sent her to pilgrimage to Liège to visit the relics of Saint Lambert. While praying at Saint Lambert's grave she was miraculously cured from her blindness. The miraculous cure of Oda is recorded in Saint Lambert's 8th century vitae. Vowing to dedicate her life to God, she returned to Scotland.
According to records written in the 13th century, her father wanted her to marry in Scotland. Because of her vow she fled across the North Sea. After a pilgrimage to Rome and Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano, she moved to live in an open space in the woods in a place now known as Sint Oedenrode in the Netherlands (a small manmade open space in the woods is called a 'rode' in Dutch - the village is named after the Scottish princess).
16th century records describe how Oda prayed in various villages in the Netherlands and Belgium only to be disturbed by magpies. She fled from the magpies and the birds led her to the open space in the forest.
Saint Oda is usually depicted wearing a long blue gown with one shoulder bare. She usually carries a staff or a book (symbolic for her cure of blindness). She is always shown with a magpie on her hand and a crown under her feet (symbolic of her rejection of the crown of Scotland).
Saint John Ogilvie
John Ogilvie (1579 – 1615) was born as the son of a wealthy laird near Keith in Banffshire, Scotland, and was educated and converted to Roman Catholicism by the Jesuits in Germany. He joined the Order in 1608 and was ordained in Paris. He returned to Scotland disguised as a soldier, and began to preach and spread Christianity in secret, saying Masses in peoples homes and handing out Bibles/Rosary Beads in the streets. In 1614, he was caught and arrested (after the Scottish Reformation in 1549 it became illegal to preach, spread or otherwise endorse Catholicism) in Glasgow, Scotland, and taken to jail in Paisley. He suffered terrible tortures, including being kept awake for eight days and nine nights. Nonetheless, Ogilvie would not confess to his activities. After a biased trial, he was paraded through the streets and hanged at Glasgow Cross, on 10th March 1615.
His last words were "If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me but the prayers of heretics I will not have". After he was pushed from the ladder, he threw his hidden Rosary Beads out into the crowd. One of his enemies caught them, and he became a devout Catholic for the rest of his life. All of Ogilvie's followers were rounded up and put in jail. They suffered heavy fines, but none of them received the death penalty.
As a martyr of the Counter-Reformation he was beatified in 1929 and canonised in 1976.
He is the only post-Reformation saint from Scotland.
Saint Regulus or Saint Rule of Andrew was a monk of Patras who, in the fourth century, according to a Scottish legend that became current during the twelfth century (National Archives of Scotland), fled to Scotland with the bones of Saint Andrew, and deposited them at St Andrews. His feast day in the Aberdeen Breviary is October 17.
Saint Regulus was galvanized into action by a visionary dream that Emperor Constantine had decided to remove Saint Andrew's relics from from Patras to Constantinople. Warned by an angel, he was to move as many bones as far away as he could to the 'ends of the earth' for safekeeping.
He was shipwrecked at Muckross on the shore of Fifeshire at the spot called Kilrymont, which is now St. Andrews, and was welcomed by a Pictish king, Hungus or Angus, who was actually of the eighth or ninth century. The monastery claimed to have three fingers of the saint's right hand, the upper bone of an arm, one kneecap, and one of his teeth. Within the grounds of the cathedral is the tower of St Regulus, which is all that remains of a late pre-Norman church.
The legend served to authenticate the apostle Andrew as patron saint of Scotland. "The Regulus legend was publicised by Scottish kings, nobles and churchmen from the 12th century onwards for political reasons. Scottish independence had come under threat from England since the late 11th century, and the Scottish Church was contesting a claim to primacy by the archbishop of York. In the medieval world precedence was important. By promoting the story of Saint Andrew's choice of Scotland in the 4th century, the Scots acquired a top-rank patron saint, a separate identity from England, and a date for the supposed foundation of the Scottish Church, predating the conversion of England and Ireland to Christianity by several centuries." (National Archives of Scotland)
Rognvald Kali Kolsson
Ragnvald Kale Kollson was a Norwegian saint. He was born ca. 1100 and died 20 August 1158. In 1129 he was appointed jarl of half of Orkney. He initiated the construction of the St. Magnus' Cathedral in Kirkwall in 1137. He was murdered in Caithness in 1158. He was buried inside the St. Magnus cathedral and miracles were reported. He was supposedly canonized by pope Celestine III.
A saint referred to in Sir Walter Scott's book, St. Ronan's Well. Scott's St. Ronan was a Celtic monk, Bishop of Kilmaronen, who advocated the use of the Roman rather than Celtic manner for the calculation of the date of Easter.
This St. Ronan is the patron saint of the Scottish town of Innerleithen.
Saint Otteran, a descendant of Conall Gulban, is usually identified with Odhron, who preceded Colum Cille in Iona. His death is recorded in 548 and his grave was greatly revered in Iona. He was chosen by the Vikings as patron of the city of Waterford in 1096 and later became patron of the diocese.
Saint Serf (Servanus) (ca. 500-d. 583 AD) was probably a Brythonic saint, certainly of Scotland. The only thing that can be safely asserted of Serf is that he proselytized in the area of western Fife. It is not known exactly when. He is also called the apostle of Orkney, with less historical plausibility. Saint Serf is also somehow connected with Saint Mungo's Church near Simonburn, Northumberland (off the Bellingham Road, north of Chollerford). His feast day is July 1.
Wendelin of Trier
Saint Wendelin or Wendelin of Trier (b. c. 554; probably d. 617) was a hermit and abbot.
There is very little definite information about this saint. His earliest biographies (two in Latin and two in German), did not appear until after 1417. The story as told there is that Wendelin was the son of a Scottish king. After a piously spent youth he secretly left his home on a pilgrimage to Rome. On his way back he settled as a hermit at Westricht in the Diocese of Trier. When a great landowner criticised him for his idle life he entered this lord's service as a herdsman, but later a miracle obliged the landowner to allow him to return to his solitude.
Wendelin then established a company of hermits from which sprang the Benedictine Abbey of Tholey in Saarland. He was consecrated abbot about 597, according to the later legends, while Tholey was apparently founded as a collegiate body about 630. It is difficult to say how far the later biographers are trustworthy.
William of Perth
Saint William of Perth (Saint William of Rochester) (died ca. 1201) was a Scottish saint who was martyred in England.
Born at Perth, practically all that is known of this martyr comes from the Nova legenda Anglie, and that is little. In youth he had been somewhat wild, but on reaching manhood he devoted himself wholly to the service of God. A baker by trade (some sources say he was a fisherman), he was accustomed to set aside every tenth loaf for the poor.
He went to Mass daily, and one morning, before it was light, found on the threshold of the church an abandoned child, whom he adopted and to whom he taught his trade. Later he took a vow to visit the Holy Places, and, having received the consecrated wallet and staff as a palmer, set out with his adopted son, whose name is given as "Cockermay Doucri", which is said to be Scots for "David the Foundling". They stayed three days at Rochester, and purposed to proceed next day to Canterbury (and perhaps thence to Jerusalem), but instead David willfully misled his benefactor on a short-cut and, with robbery in view, felled him with a blow on the head and cut his throat.
The body was discovered by a mad woman, who plaited a garland of honeysuckle and placed it first on the head of the corpse and then her own, whereupon the madness left her. On learning her tale the monks of Rochester carried the body to the cathedral and there buried it. He was honored as a martyr because he was on a pilgrimage to holy places. As a result of the miracle involving the madwoman as well as other miracles wrought at his intercession after death, he was acclaimed a saint by the people.
Saint Andrew and St Andrews Day
St Andrews holiday - Anatomy / National News
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