Oban, Scotland – Music in the Pub


In July 2011, I was involved, with a group of friends in a Celtic Trail, a pilgrimage at the roots of Celtic Spirituality.
We stopped for the night in the port city of Oban, the gate to the Hebrides, on our way to Iona.
In the evening, I went with two colleagues for a walk by the sea.
On the way back we have heard music from a pub, we entered, got a beer, and enjoyed the pleasant surprise. Here is just a glimpse of it.

Celebration Day of St. Dewi of Wales – 1 March 544

St. Dewi of Wales – stained glass (source, HERE)

When the pagan Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries, many British Christians sought refuge in the hill country of Wales. There they developed a style of Christian life devoted to learning, asceticism, and missionary fervor. Since there were no cities, the centers of culture were the monasteries, and most abbots were bishops as well. Dewi (David in English) was the founder, abbot, and bishop of the monastery of Mynyw (Menevia in English) in Pembrokeshire (now St. David’s Cathedral). He was responsible for much of the spread of Christianity in Wales, and his monastery was sought out by many scholars from Ireland and elsewhere. He is commonly accounted the apostle of Wales, asPatrick is of Ireland. His tomb is in St. David’s cathedral, on the site of ancient Mynyw, now called Ty-Dewi (House of David). Continue reading “Celebration Day of St. Dewi of Wales – 1 March 544”

John O’Donahue – A Blessing of Solitude

John O’Donahue – Celtic Blessing

This week’s radio programme On Being, by Krista Tippett, is dedicated to the Irish poet John O’Donahue and is titled ‘The Inner Landscape of Beauty‘. I have listened with fascination the interview, from which the poem/blessing above was extracted. I believe it is worth giving an hour for this. Continue reading “John O’Donahue – Celtic Blessing”

Celtic Trail – Day 8 – Meeting with Roy Searle and Pilgrimage Day on Lindisfarne

After breakfast, at the Tankerville Arms Hotel in Wooler, (located in Northumberland, in northern England), we carpooled to the home of Roy Searle where Roy shared his journey and how his knowledge of Celtic Christianity has made an impact on his life and ministry. For example, when he first started as a young minister from an evangelical perspective in a very poor area, he was part of a team that “surveyed the residents” to listen and see if they could identify ministry opportunities. The results were not at all what were expected. Two of the needs were a community butcher and a pharmacy, (or chemist, as it is called in England). As a result, in the Celtic tradition of listening to where God is at work, they arranged for a butcher to come and on certain days be available to the residents. They also arranged for pharmaceutical delivery to those in need. This made an impression on the residents; they knew the Christians had listened to their needs. A Celtic tradition was to listen to the heartbeat of God by listening to people, which is also a pattern seen in the Gospel of John.

Roy reminded us that the early Celtic monastic settlements were built with wood. This is because as children of Abraham, they were seen as a wandering people. They did have on distinctive permanent large stone cross with scenes of the Gospel, especially from the Gospel of John. Another one of the mind set aspects of the Celts was in effect seeing non Christians as “not yet Christians”, inviting them to belong… much like Jesus did when He invited people to “come and see”.

The time of Celts spans the time of paganism, neo paganism, druidic and occultic. This time period and Celtic culture that didn’t sacrifice its culture made it possible for all of the non Christian Celtic people to be assimilated into Christianity. They didn’t go in to obliterate culture but to redeem culture. They did community where we tend to do meetings. It was an expression as seen in the Gospel of John, where the secular and sacred had no division. The sense of community and life was seen as a whole with no division.

The Northumberland Community came out of reflection of their life stories. As a result, there are only two rules in the community:

  1. Availability. This would be available first to God, others, intercession and wandering for the cause of Christ (listening).
  2. Vulnerability. This would include embracing being teachable, open to constructive criticism. Also, to let others speak into your lives, to question the status quo and to see relationships as more important than reputation.

Finally, seeing urban mission as bringing beauty where there was ugliness.

The road to the tidal island of Lindisfarne

The Celtic Trail team left for the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne, which some consider the cradle of Christianity [in England]. The period of the first monastery is referred to as the “Golden Age” of Lindisfarne. Aidan and his monks came from the Irish monastery of Iona and with the support of King Oswald (based at nearby Bamburgh) worked as missionaries among the pagan English of Northumbria.

The ruins of the Lindisfarne Abbey

In their monastery they set up the first known school in this area and introduced the arts of reading and writing, the Latin language and the Bible and other Christian books (all in Latin). They trained boys as practical missionaries who later went out over much of England to spread the Gospel. Aidan also encouraged women to become nuns and girls to receive education but not in this monastery. In time Lindisfarne became known for its skill in Christian art of which the Lindisfarne Gospels are the most beautiful surviving example.

We stayed at the new Acton Mother House in Northumbria. This island, which is available by road when the tide goes out, is where Aiden, a disciple of Columba, came and ministered. While on the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne we toured the Monastic Abby, listened to a lecture on the life of Aiden and looked at the ancient artwork and images of the area.

This was the end of our Celtic Trail in 2011 (the second one for me). Thank you for joining us virtually on this pilgrimage into Celtic spirituality. If you have never visited Iona or Lindisfarne, you should plan to do so, at least one in a lifetime. I assure you it is really worth it.


In this and in the following posts, the text in BLACK is by Michael Carlisle, one of our colleagues on the Celtic Trail, and the text in BLUE contains my comments.

Celtic Trail – Day 7 – Travel to Northumbria

Leaving Iona and travelling by ferry to the Isle of Mull, then by bus to another ferry crossing to Oban. Continue reading “Celtic Trail – Day 7 – Travel to Northumbria”

Celtic Trail – Day 6 – Pilgrimage Day and Meeting with John Bell at Iona Abbey

Rev. John Bell

This was a highlight experience for me. We meet at Iona Abby with Reverend John Bell. John L. Bell (born 1949, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire) is a hymn-writer. A Church of Scotland minister, he is a member of the Iona Community, a broadcaster, and former student activist. He works throughout the world, often lecturing in theological colleges in the UK, Canada and the United States, but is primarily concerned with the renewal of congregational worship at the grass roots level.

Reverend Bell began our time together with a little history on the Celts. Before he got started he mentioned that they are planning a facility in Glasgow relating to the church in the city. He said, “we have a vocabulary for the countryside, nature, etc., now we need a place to develop the vocabulary for the city”. Continue reading “Celtic Trail – Day 6 – Pilgrimage Day and Meeting with John Bell at Iona Abbey”

Celtic Trail – Day 5 – Pilgrimage on Iona

Approaching the holy Isle of Iona

We have arrived on Iona (it was my fourth visit there) on a cloudy and cold afternoon. We have settled at the Iona Hostel, on the North side, one of my favourite places on the island, because of the quiet Christian atmosphere and the stunning beauty of the beach close by. Continue reading “Celtic Trail – Day 5 – Pilgrimage on Iona”

Celtic Trail – Day 4 – Sailing to Eileach An Naoimh and Iona

This is the ‘rib boat’ that took most of the team to
Eileach An Naoimh and then Iona

After breakfast at the hotel, the Celtic team packed up and boarded a fast rib boat that took the team to the Isle of Iona, with an intermediate stop at Eileach An Naoimh, the location for St. Brenden, (one of the first monks from Ireland). Continue reading “Celtic Trail – Day 4 – Sailing to Eileach An Naoimh and Iona”

Celtic Trail – Day 3 – Sunday Worship at Kilbrandon Church

Kilmartin Church

Today is a day of worship with a local congregation. It was a wonderfully refreshing experience to gather with believers at Kilbranden church. About 75 people in a beautiful old stone church with stained glass windows. The service was specifically designed to reflect elements of Celtic traditions. The order of worship included congregational singing; a special solo from one of the Celtic Trail team, while another of the Celtic team played the organ. A presentation of how people from different cultures can get value from one another by appreciating and accepting our differences.  Continue reading “Celtic Trail – Day 3 – Sunday Worship at Kilbrandon Church”

Celtic Trail – Day 2 – From Oban to Dunadd, Brandon’s Seat and Kilmartin

The day began with the team meeting for breakfast at the hotel then packing the minivan for our trek to Dunadd, the seat of Kings.

Continue reading “Celtic Trail – Day 2 – From Oban to Dunadd, Brandon’s Seat and Kilmartin”

Celtic Trail – Day 1 – From Glasgow to Oban

Part of our group. Rev Robert Calvert, our trail leader, Presbyterian pastor in Rotterdam,
is second from the right. First from the right is Kati, my World Vision colleague.

The day began by meeting up with team leader Robert Calvert and a team of 13 people for a Celtic Trail tour and study of Celtic Christianity. The class met at the airport in Glasgow Scotland and travelled by minibus to Oban on the northwest coast of Scotland, about three hours drive from Glasgow. Continue reading “Celtic Trail – Day 1 – From Glasgow to Oban”

Celtic Trail Reloaded

As you could see, I was not very active lately on my blog. My professional responsibilities do not leave much time for anything else during this period.

I have just observed that, because of my heavy travel in the last two months (and it is going on), I have no finished the story of my Celtic Trail in July.

I will try to finish the job in the coming period, but, until then, I will report the three previous posts, for a memory refresh.

A Celtic Trail in Pictures

Oban – Gate to Hebrides

As I was telling you HERE, in July this year I has involved together with a small group in a Celtic Trail, a pilgrimage dedicated to exploring the riches of Celtic spirituality.

I was promising there that, time allowing, I will share with my blog readers a summary of this incredible trip. My demanding job, however, and my extremely busy travel schedule, did not allow me, until now, to fulfill my promise. Recently, one of my colleagues in the trail, Michael Carlisle, had to write a paper about it for his DMin degree and he gave me the permission to use his text on my blog and illustrate it with my pictures and some comments here and there, which I plan to do in the coming days, with God’s help.

Lord, You Are An Island – A Celtic Prayer

Lord, you are my island,
In your bosom I rest.

You are the calm of the sea,
In that peace I stay.

You are the deep waves of the shining ocean,
With their eternal sound I sing. Continue reading “Lord, You Are An Island – A Celtic Prayer”

On the Orthodox Western Rite

Orthodox ikon of St. Columba of Iona (source HERE)

I wonder how many of my Orthodox friends in Romania are aware of the existence of an Orthodox Western Rite. Here are some basic information about this less known subject.

This particular rite was used in the West mostly by the Celtic Church, until the Synod of Whitby, in 664, which marked the triumph of Roman Catholicism over the Celtic traditions, established by St. Columba of Iona, which were similar to those of Eastern Orthodoxy. The differences did not consist only in the date of Easter, as it is usually suggested, or in the rejection of filioque, but also in a spirit of independence in relation to the imperial claims of Rome. I also need to add that, unlike the Roman Catholic tradition, the Celts had no interest in the Augustinian tradition of misogyny and no respect for the Roman obsession with power and hierarchy. Continue reading “On the Orthodox Western Rite”

A New Blog – A Passion for the Possible


It’s been some time since I have presented to you a new blog. Now the time has come for it.

I introduce to you here A Passion for the Possible, the new blog of Jonathan Searle, son of Roy Searle, one of the heads of Northumbria Community. Here is how the author introduces his project: Continue reading “A New Blog – A Passion for the Possible”

Feast of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne

O loving God,
who called your servant Aidan
from the peace of a cloister
to re-establish the Christian mission
in northern England,
and gave him the gifts of gentleness,
simplicity, and strength:

Grant that we, following his example,
may use what you have given us
for the relief of human need,
and may persevere in commending the saving Gospel
of our Redeemer Jesus Christ;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

(A Prayer on Behalf of St. Aidan from Lindisfarne – source, HERE) Continue reading “Feast of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne”

Now We Are Free

Now we are free. I will see you again. But not yet, not yet…

Music Composed By Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard
Copyright © 2000 DreamWorks & Universal Pictures

(Thank to my colleague Petros Florides for this link.)

St. Patrick’s Breastplate Sang by Angelina

I add here the notes added to this videoclip on YouTube: Continue reading “St. Patrick’s Breastplate Sang by Angelina”

I am on a Celtic trail

In the next ten days I will be in Scotland, exploring Celtic spirituality in places like Iona, Lindisfarne and the like.
Do not envy. It is sinful. Better imitate.
I will not be able to attend very promptly to my blog during this time. I apologize in advance.
I welcome your prayers.

If the War Goes On

The song below is a powerful call for peace coming from the musicians of the Iona Community, particularly John Bell. Here is the midi file containing the melody:

If the War Goes On

And here are the lyrics. I wish someone would adapt this song into Romanian. Continue reading “If the War Goes On”

Binecuvintare celtica

Continue reading “Binecuvintare celtica”

Celtic Woman – Orinoco Flow

A Celtic Welcoming Blessing

The welcome of the Father’s arms be yours
The welcome of the Saviour’s heart be yours
The welcome of the Spirit’s call be yours Continue reading “A Celtic Welcoming Blessing”

O binecuvintare irlandeza

Fie ca binecuvântarea luminii divine să fie asupra ta;
lumină pe dinafară, lumină pe dinăuntru.
Cu lumina lui Dumnezeu strălucind peste tine,
fie ca inima ta să strălucească cu caldură,
ca un foc de tabără care-i salută pe prieteni şi pe străini deopotrivă.
Fie ca lumina Domnului să strălucească din ochii tăi,
ca o lumânare în fereastră, salutând călătorul obosit. Continue reading “O binecuvintare irlandeza”

La Multi Ani! …2011 « Catalina Ioana Dascalu

La Multi Ani! …2011 « Catalina Ioana Dascalu.

O cuoscuta binecuvintare celtica. Iata si textul, intr-o traduvcere aproximativa:

Fie ca drumul sa ti se intinda inainte.

Fie ca vantul sa-ti sufle mereu in pinze.

Fie ca soarele cald sa-ti lumineze fata.

Si ploaia sa cada lin peste campiile tale.

Iar pina ne vom revedea,

Fie ca Dumnezeu sa te tina in causul palmelor lui.

Enya Singing My Favourite Christmas Carol – Adeste fideles

Although the exact authorship is unknown and disputed, the original tune of this carol is attributed to the English sacred composer John Francis Wade, and dated in 1743. Continue reading “Enya Singing My Favourite Christmas Carol – Adeste fideles”

St. Columba of Iona

This ikon was painted by Fr. Irineu from Bucium Monastery in Iasi, and represented my gift for the ordination of my son, Daniel, for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, in the Church of Scotland.

His path towards Scottish Presbyterianism started with a providential pilgrimage that we took together on the holy island of Iona, in 2001.

A Blessing When Leaving Lindisfarne

To the prayers of our Island Saints we commend you.
May God’s angels watch around you to protect you.
May the Holy Spirit guide and strengthen you for all that lies ahead.
May Christ Jesus befriend you with his compassion and peace. Continue reading “A Blessing When Leaving Lindisfarne”