Friday, January 16, 2009

Patron Saint of Atheists

Saint Otteran (or Oran) was a monk who lived on the tiny, beautiful Scottish island of Iona, a sacred isle which became a burial place for Scottish and Viking rulers. When Saint Colomba was exiled from Ireland in 563, he founded a monastery on Iona with several companions, one of whom was Saint Otteran.

Legend has it that Saint Colomba's attempts to build a chapel on Iona were thwarted as the building was myseriously destroyed every night. A voice told Saint Colomba that the chapel could not be completed until a man was buried alive in the foundation. Obliging soul that he was, Saint Otteran volunteered for the task and was buried alive so that the chapel could be finished.

Some time later, Saint Otteran, whom all had supposed to be long dead, pushed his head up out of the floor and informed the congregation that contrary to popular belief, there actually was neither a heaven nor a hell. Saint Colomba, aghast at this impertinent revelation, pushed Saint Otteran back into the ground and had him buried more securely beneath the chapel, where he remains to this day.


There's a self-styled "young Medium" on Blogspot who refers to herself as The Gilded Butterfly and blogs about her otherwordly communications with Saint Otteran, which focus on topics such as the song of earth and the complexity of oneness. These missives are a little touchy-feely for a 6th century monk, I must say. But still. It's entertaining in a "you've got to be kidding me" kind of way.


  1. This was a cute story, but that Saint Oran blog is some Ketherific shit. This person is really involved. She even photoshopped a picture of the abbey into her bullshit butterfly blue sky poetry banner. I'm dead for her.

    This also reminds me that Tori sings of an abbey in Iona in the song Twinkle. I never knew where it was or even thought about it until tonight.

  2. cute story - religions and the gods they yammer on and on about are BS - lol - but, very funny, sometimes.