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Columba: the Faith of an Island Soldier

Columba: the Faith of an Island Soldier

Bruce Ritchie
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Columba’s name dominates the narrative of early Scottish Christianity. What was established on Iona through Columba’s astonishing leadership, and through a succession of energetic and resourceful abbots, exerted a unique influence on the development of Christianity in Scotland and beyond. Bruce Ritchie’s analytical biography is the key to understanding the real Columba, his theology, his spirituality, and the faith that drove him across the sea.

Bruce Ritchie

About Bruce Ritchie

Bruce Ritchie has taught Scottish Church History and Understanding Worship at Highland Theological College (University of the Highlands and Islands) in Dingwall, Scotland, having also taught Systematic Theology at Zomba Theological College in Malawi. He served over thirty years in Ministry with the Church of Scotland.


  • Author: Bruce Ritchie
  • Release Date: July 2019
  • Pages: 464
  • Format: Large trade hardback
  • Dimensions: 216 x 138
  • ISBN: 9781527103870
  • Imprint: Mentor
  • Category: History & Biography > Biography > Biography & Autobiography
  • Series: Biography


Bruce Ritchie has written a new, scholarly, ground–breaking biography of St Columba, weaving together historical narrative and theological exploration in a masterful way. We encounter the man, his times, his life, his teaching, and his legacy, set before us with depth, detail, and colour. This now surely has to be the starting point for all future studies of the Scottish saint. In my judgment, the book deserves the widest possible circulation among all serious students of Scottish church history.

Nick Needham, Lecturer in Church History, Highland Theological College, Dingwall, Scotland

Dr Bruce Ritchie’s depiction of Columba as an ‘Island Soldier’, fighting the good fight of faith against the world, the flesh and the Devil, is both a pleasure to read and a thoroughly refreshing study of the saint’s theology and beliefs as recorded in primary sources. Dr Ritchie presents us with a robust figure who is something of contrast to the soft, sentimental and acquiescent ‘Columba’ of popular imagination.

Donald Meek, Professor Emeritus, Scottish and Gaelic Studies, Edinburgh University
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