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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


Living as he did in the twilight of antiquity, the memory of the remarkable Celtic Christian leader Columba has been both obscured by legend and claimed by various communities, which has only further obscured the real man. In this new study, Bruce Ritchie has put all who love the story of the Celtic Church in his debt as he untangles what we can truly know about Columba, his life in Ireland before coming to Iona, the Iona mission, and his thought. A solid historical monograph marked by scholarly heft, Ritchie’s biography is also eminently readable—a rare combination and a delight to recommend.

Michael A. G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

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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