Friday, August 18, 2006

Iona II - The Abbey

The Abbey as seen from the ferry approaching Iona from Mull.

Replica of St. John's Cross in front of the Abbey Church.

The nave, looking east.

The choir.

Looking west to the entryway.

You can visit Iona on a day trip from Mull, or you can spend some time there in one of the small inns, or you can do what we did -- apply to participate in the Iona Community for a week, in which case the Abbey Church will become a central part of your life.

The Church was built around 1200, thanks to the Benedictine monks who settled on Iona after the Vikings finished off the community founded by Columba. It fell victim to Protestant Reformers of the 1500s and then to the elements and the cost of restoration. Most of the subsequent work has been accomplished by the present day Iona Community, founded in 1938 and known for its music, liturgies, and work on behalf of peace and justice.

If you stay on the island, you are welcome to attend any of the morning and evening services at the church. If you stay with the Community, you will be housed in either the Abbey or the nearby MacLeod Center, where we stayed, and you'll participate in meal and clean-up chores and a relaxed week of programming and community life.

Our church's Music Director is enamored of the Iona Community and Taize' music often sung in the Abbey church. I think we were all moved to find ourselves participating in worship services in a place where Christianity had been practiced for 1500 years and to sing songs that we had learned in a contemporary world an ocean away.


PPB said...

I really want to go there someday soon.

Anonymous said...

This looks like such a peaceful place. Great for reflection.

Kathryn said...

Amazing pictures of an astonishingly beautiful place. What a terrific way to spend a week. I can't wait to read more.

Carol said...

The photos of the interior of the Abbey sent a chill through my spine. They truly feel spiritual and holy. Wow.