For a night, join the saints! | THE ORTHODOX MONASTERY OF ALL CELTIC SAINTS.

Here is the story of a night spent on Iona Island, my most beloved place in the entire world. The pilgrim is a Romanian Orthodox monk, Fr Serafim.

Ruga in Hebride – Un documentar TVR despre Insula Iona

Clachannach – Iona Orthodox Retreat Centre

Documentarul Ruga in Hebride face parte din seria de emisiuni intitulata Lumea si noi, dedicata romanilor care s-au stabilit peste hotare.

Acest episod povesteste despre legatura speciala a romanilor care traiesc in Scotia, mai ales a celor ortodocsi, cu sfinta Insula Iona, salasul de exil al Sf. Columba, evanghelisul Scotiei.

Pe parcursul emisiunii i-am reintilnit si pe pe Pr. Marcel Oprisan, parohul Bisericii Ortodoxe Romane din Glasgow,  dar si Pr. Ioan-Florin Florescu, reputat filolog clasic, iesean de bastina, cu care am avut placerea de a ma intilni in cursul uneia dintre vizitele mele la Glasgow.

Iona, asa cum bine stiu prietenii mei, este pentru mine cel mai important loc de pe pamint, in afara de locul in care m-am nascut si in care traiesc. Sincer sa fiu, nu mi-ar parea rau deloc sa-mi sfirsesc zilele in acel loc de vis.

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.

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 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”

Back Home After the Celtic Trail

Iona Abbey

I have just returned from a very rich and rewarding pilgrimage on the trail of Celtic saints. It was a good experience and I have lots to share, as time permits.

Scot McKnight on Pilgrimage – UPDATE

Iona Abbey

I cannot say I’ve ever really gone on a serious pilgrimage. A tourist goes to see and collect while the pilgrim goes to encounter and be changed. I can’t say I’ve ever gone to some place in the spirit of a pilgrim though I’ve had pilgrim-like encounters. I’ve done lots of tourism and found myself a pilgrim all at once, as when Kris and I scaled Skellig Michael (to the left) this summer off the west coast of Ireland.

But some do go on pilgrimages. Tracy Balzer, for instance, is one of many professors who take students to classic pilgrimage sites. In her book, Thin Places: An Evangelical Journey into Celtic Christianity ,  she discusses her encounters with Celtic Christianity. Continue reading “Scot McKnight on Pilgrimage – UPDATE”
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