The Monastery of All Celtic Saints, under the jurisdiction of the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate, is the first Orthodox monastery in the Isles of Scotland in over a thousand years. From the monastery website:
The Orthodox Monastery of All Celtic Saints was founded in 2010, when Fr Seraphim took over Kilninian, the Church of St Ninian and St Cuthbert, on the Isle of Mull in the Hebrides. The Church had been deconsecrated and was not in use.
Monastic history at Kilninian begins much earlier, towards the end of the sixth century. The first monastics settled here because of St Ninian’s Holy Well, a spring dedicated to St Ninian and known to have miraculous healing powers. The Celtic Monastery of St Ninian flourished from late 500s until the end of the first millennium, when the Viking attacks put an end to monastic life in the Isles.
After that time, Kilninian was abandoned for a few centuries, before being turned into a protestant parish. In 1755, a new church was built over the foundations of the earlier monastic one, and this is the church we use for our services today.
Since 2010, the Monastery has slowly grown, despite constant temptation. One of our most difficult moments was in November 2013, when the trees in the graveyard were broken by a storm and they fell over the church. An entire section of the roof and the bell tower were destroyed, leaving Kilninian exposed to the harsh rains and winds of the Atlantic. It took us over two years and over two hundred thousand pounds to repair this historical monument, which is listed as part of the national heritage.
The monastic community welcomes both brothers and sisters, living separately in the two houses owned by the Monastery. The sisters live in Oran na Mara, a house close to the Isle of Iona, while the brothers live at Kilninian itself, in a house nearby. We are a multi-national community – our brothers and sisters come from Canada, Romania and the United States of America. Our daily and liturgical language is English.
Visit the monastery website for photos and more information.
See our So Great a Cloud: A Celtic Litany.
See also the Coronavirus section in our Archives 2020.
See finally Father Seraphim’s Lenten Reflection: A Time for Spiritual Struggle & Spiritual Joy and our Keeping Lent During a Pandemic in the Electronic Era if you would like to help Orthodoxy in Dialogue feed the homeless for the remainder of Great Lent and beyond.
Father Seraphim (Aldea) holds a PhD in Modern Theology from the University of Durham in the United Kingdom. He was tonsured a monk in 2005 at Rasca monastery in Bucovina, North Moldova.