Calendar of Scottish Saints – Saint Baitan or Baithen, Abbot


A.D. 600. He was cousin to Saint Columba, and accompanied him from Ireland to Scotland. From his childhood he had been that saint’s disciple and companion, and Saint Columba had a special affection for him. He was appointed superior of the monastery established in Tiree, but at Saint Columba’s death succeeded him as Abbot of Iona. There he remained only four years, death calling him away, as he had previously foretold to his monks, on the anniversary of their father and founder. Saint Baitan was buried in Saint Oran’s Chapel on Iona. His bell was still preserved in Donegal up to a few years since, and it was a common practice of devotion to drink from it. In the same district is Saint Baitan’s River, to which flocks and herds were brought to drink on the saint’s festival.

Saint Baitan is said to have spent his time either in reading, praying, or serving his neighbour. Even during meals he used constantly to implore the Divine aid in the words of the Psalmist: “O God, come to my assistance.” During labour his mind was always raised to God. So mortified was he that it was said that the impression of his ribs through his woollen tunic used to mark the sandy beach of Iona when he lay down to rest himself there.

MLA Citation

  • Father Michael Barrett, OSB. “Saint Baitan or Baithen, Abbot”. The Calendar of Scottish Saints, 1919. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 May 2014. Web. 21 February 2019. <>