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Saint Columba (521-597) (also known as Saint Columkill) was an Irish missionary who helped re-introduce Christianity to Scotland and the north of England. He was born in Donegal on December 7, 521. He became a monk and soon rose in the church hierarchy to the rank of priest. Tradition asserts that, sometime around 560, he became involved in a copyright wrangle with Saint Finnian over a psalter. The dispute eventually led to a pitched battle in 561 during which many men were killed. As penance for these deaths, Columba was ordered to make the same number of new converts as had been killed. In 563 he founded a monastery on the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland which became the centre of his evangelising mission to Scotland. There are many stories of miracles which he performed during his mission to convert the Picts.

Columba is also the source of the first known reference to the Loch Ness Monster. According to the story, in 565 he came across a group of Picts who were burying a man killed by the monster, and brought the man back to life. In another version, he is said to have saved the man while the man was being attacked, driving away the monster with the sign of the cross.

He died on June 9, 597. His feast day is June 9.

He is frequently confused with Saint Columbanus.



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