44mm high and 11mm wide. 6.4g silver weight. 7g gold weight. With 18″ diamond-cut belcher chain.
This cross is a double-sided replica of the original cross. Handmade and hallmarked in Ireland.
Video: Celtic Cross of Saint Martin, Iona
Celtic Cross of Saint Martin of Iona recreated in beautiful detail. Handmade and hallmarked in Ireland.
Iona is a small island off the Isle of Mull in western Scotland. It has been
a "Holy isle" from time immemorial. An early Gaelic name for it was
"Isle of the Druids". In the sixth century St.Columba (Columkille)
went there from Ireland and founded a monastic settlement; still later there
was a Medival Beuedietine Abbey on the same site; in the 1930’s this was rebuilt
by Sir George MacLeod for the newly founded Iona Community – a centre for prayer,
reflection and reconciliation.
We know a great deal about the life of St.Columba. He went to Iona in 563.
The settlement there would have been in the Celtic style., the monks living
in seperate cells, coming together for meals and community prayer. From Iona
the monks went to mainland Scotland, preaching the Gospel and setting up other
Columba went back to Ireland in 575AD where he defended the poets of Ireland
at the council of Drumcaet. From there he travelled on, visiting some of his
earlier foundations and founded the monastic settlement at Drumcliffe. He returned
to Iona, which was now his home, and died there in 597.
Iona continued to grow and flourish, and during the 7th Century it had the
largest library in Europe and there are supposed to have been 300 crosses. The
Viking invasions meant the total destruction of the library and almost all the
crosses – there are now only three left, the most famous being the cross dedicated
to St.Martin of Tours. This cross was probabaly carved towards the end of the
Martin lived in France in the last years of the 4th Century. He was a soldier,
a member of the Roman Imperial Army. He became a Christian but remained in the
army to complete his appointed term. There is a famous painting by El Greco
narrating a story from this period of his life – the sharing of his cloak with
a beggar. At some time in his life he had read about St.Antony of Egypt who
had left city life to live as a hermit in the desert. This appealed to Martin
and when he left the army he set up a hermitage near Poitiers in France. He
gathered other men around him on an organised basis. Each monk/hermit had his
own cell but they all met for meals and communal prayers and were bound in obedience
to the head of the settlement. When Martin was chosen Bishop of Tours he moved
his fellow hermits to a settlement just over a mile from Tours and continued
to live as a monk among them. It is a matter for conjecture how a cross on Iona
in Scotland, an island that had such close and continuing connection with the
Columban monasteries in Ireland, is dedicated to this French saint.
In fact many churches in Scotland and England are named after him and it is
thought that St.Ninian of Scotland visited Tours. Also St.Martin’s life by Sulpican
Severus is reproduced in the "Book of Armagh:, one of the great irish Manuscripts
now in Trinity College, Dublin. Certainly the early Irish monks also knew about
St.Antony and St.Paul, the desert fathers, reproducing the story of the raven
who fed them in the desert as a allegory for the Eucharist, on several of the
Irish High crosses. It is easy then to see how the story of St.Martin and his
monastic settlement would have appealed to them as a man to be admired and venerated.