Calendar of Scottish Saints – Saint Ronan, Bishop, A.D. 737

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7 February. Dr Skene, in his “Celtic Scotland,” expresses the opinion that this saint was a contemporary and associate of Saint Modan. It is remarkable that where a foundation of one saint exists, traces of the other are found in the vicinity. Thus near Rosneath is Kilmaronock, where is Saint Maronock’s Well, and on the opposite side of Loch Etive, not far from Balmodhan, is Kilmaronog. Both names signify “Church” or “Cell of Ronan.”

It is a common feature in the Celtic designations of saints to find the prefix mo (my) and the affix og (little) added to the simple name by way of reverent endearment. This is the case in the names just referred to; Kilmaronog and Kilmaronock both mean literally “Church of my little (or dear) Ronan.”

Many legends surround this saint, but very little authentic information can be gleaned concerning the circumstances of his life. Many dedications to him are to be found on lonely isles and retired spots on the west coast, which seem to point to a custom of seeking solitude from time to time. Thus a little island near Ramsay is called Ronay; another sixty miles north-east of the Lewes, possessing an ancient oratory and Celtic crosses, is called Rona. An islet on the west coast of the mainland of Shetland is called Saint Ronan’s Isle; it becomes an island at high tide only. The parish church of Iona was called Teampull Ronain and its burial ground Cladh Ronain. Saint Ronan is said to have been Abbot of Kingarth, Bute, where he died in 737. Holy wells bear his name at Strowan (Perthshire), Chapelton in Strathdon (Aberdeenshire), and the Butt of Lewis; the latter is famed for the cure of lunacy.

MLA Citation

  • Father Michael Barrett, OSB. “Saint Ronan, Bishop, A.D. 737”. The Calendar of Scottish Saints, 1919. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 January 2014. Web. 18 August 2017. <>