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St Columba. Columkille, St. He was born in Gartan in Donegal and was educated at the great Irish centres of monastic learning at Magh Bile, Clonard and Glasnevin. His early life was devoted to the foundation of religious centres in Derry and other parts of Ireland, which supplanted the older Patrician monasteries. In 563 he moved to lona, the island on the west coast of Scotland from which his monks began the evangelization of many parts of mainland Scotland. Columba, the most inspiring of the saints of the early church in Scotland, died on 9 June 597, and the second Thursday on each June is still celebrated as his saint's day in many parts of the Western Isles. The religious centre on lona, originally 'Hii' in Gaelic, was developed and expanded in later years and the medieval abbey was restored by the Church of Scotland at the beginning of the 20th century. The saint's relics were translated to Ireland in the 9th century but were mostly lost during the Viking invasions 200 years later. St Adamnan, a 7th century monk who also lived on lona, wrote the first life of Columbia, which is one of the key reference works in the history of the early Church in both Scotland and Ireland.

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