Saturday, July 30, 2016

Scotland Pilgrimage - Iona Abbey and Center

When we arrived last evening, Morag Liebert, RCWP, and I participated in evening prayers at the Iona Abbey Chapel. At Iona there is an active community who leads prayer each day. Last night they began with instrumental guitar music. The leader, a young woman, invited everyone to reflect on water and to participate in a mutual blessing. We sang a TAZIE  like chant of praise. The Iona Community is a Christian ecumenical community working for peace and social justice, rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship. 

Since we arrived, Morag and I have attended 2 ecumenical services led by women who are volunteers from the Iona Community. The Iona Community has a major focus on the mystical oneness, interfaith prayer, community, peace and justice. Over 100,00 visit each season. Their spiritual focus is beautifully stated below:

 “We are an ecumenical Christian community of men and women from different walks of life and different traditions in the Church engaged together, and with people of goodwill across the world, in acting, reflecting and praying for justice, peace and the integrity of creation; convinced that the inclusive community we seek must be embodied in the community we practice.”

I walked several miles today on his scenic road where I encountered cows and sheep and some pilgrims on the path. Weather is sunny and in the 60s. A heatwave for Scotland!

Argyll Hotel 

Last night Morag and I stayed at the Argyll Hotel on the Island of Iona. The hotel is a small owner operated hotel located on the village street overlooking the Sound of Iona. After all of our travels yesterday, we were happy to have a good night’s sleep. 
Here is a little history about Iona Abbey and Center

Just off the west coast of Scotland on the Isle of Iona, the Iona Abbey has long been a symbol of Scottish history and religion. It served as a mausoleum for many early Scottish kings, with more than fifty accounted for by the 16th century. It is one of the oldest religious centers in Western Europe. The Irish monk Columba arrived to the island in 563, establishing a monastery that survived for centuries to come. In around the year 1200 the historic Abbey and Nunnery were constructed. 

Responsible for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland, it remains a symbol of Scottish Christianity that many still pilgrimage today. There are four impressive high crosses remaining, all of which can be seen in the abbey museum. The oldest, St. Martin’s Cross, dates back to the 8th century. The isle has a spiritual atmosphere and is today maintained by the Iona Community.

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