Calendar of Scottish Saints – Saint Cumine, Abbot, A.D. 669


25 February. He was the seventh abbot of Iona, and his learning and holiness rank him among the most illustrious monks of that renowned monastery. The Synod of Whitby, which was instrumental in overthrowing the ancient Celtic computation of Easter and substituting the Roman use, occurred during Cumine’s occupation of the abbacy. He wrote a life of Saint Columba, probably to vindicate his sanctity after the apparent slight offered to his memory by the synod in setting aside the traditional usage which he had cherished. This life seems to have been the result of Saint Colman’s visit to Iona before his return to Ireland (see Feb. 18th).

A more important work is Saint Cumine’s letter on the Easter controversy, which he wrote before he became abbot, and which shows a thorough acquaintance with the difficulties of the subject, as well as deep knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures and writings of the Fathers. He is often called Cumine Ailbhe (Cumine the Fair-haired). His name survives in Kilchuimein (Church of Saint Cumine), the ancient designation of Fort-Augustus, and the only name by which it is still called in Gaelic. A spot in the same neighbourhood is known as Saint Cumine’s Return; it is in the vicinity of a hill called Saint Cumine’s Seat. The parish church of Glenelg also is named after this saint.

MLA Citation

  • Father Michael Barrett, OSB. “Saint Cumine, Abbot, A.D. 669”. The Calendar of Scottish Saints, 1919. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 January 2014. Web. 23 January 2019. <>