Saint Columba (7 December 521 – 9 June 597 AD), also known as Colum Cille (meaning “Dove of the church”) (Norse name: Kolbjørn, meaning black bear (cave dweller), or Kolban) was an outstanding figure among the Gaelic Irish missionary monks who, some of his advocates claim, introduced Christianity to the Picts during the Early Medieval Period. He was one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.
Columba is credited as being a leading figure in the revitalization of monasticism, and “His achievements illustrated the importance of the Celtic church in bringing a revival of Christianity to Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.” It is said Clan Robertson are heirs of Columba. Clan MacKinnon may also have some claim to being descendant of St Columcille as after he founded his Church on Isle Iona, The MacKinnons were the abbotts to the Church for centuries. This would also account for the fact that Clan MacKinnon is among the ancient clans of Scotland.
Saint Columba is the patron saint of the city of Derry in Ireland. The saint founded a monastic settlement there in c. AD 540. The name of the city in Irish is Doire Colmcille and is derived from the native oak trees in the area and the city’s association with the great saint. Today, the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Columba’s Long Tower stands at the spot of this original settlement.