Saint Ninian

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Ninian, Saint Ninian's Parish Church, Whithorn Priory, date and artist unknownAlso known as

  • Dinan
  • Ninias
  • Ninianus
  • Ninus
  • Nynia
  • Ninyas
  • Ringan
  • Ringen
  • Apostle of North Britain
  • Apostle of the Picts



Son of a chieftain of the Cumbrian Britons. His father was a convert to Christianity, and Ninian was raised a Christian. Studied in Rome, Italy for fifteen years under the direction of Pope Saint Damasus I. Priest. Bishop, consecrated by Pope Saint Siricus c.394. Friend of Saint Martin of Tours. Returned home to evanglize his region, working with the Britons and Picts, and helping lay a solid foundation for the Church in Scotland. With help from masons from Saint Martin‘s abbey, Ninian built his great monastery, the White House c.397, so called because the stone work was unusual in an era of wooden churches. It was probably the first Christian settlement in Scotland, became the centre of his work, is now known as Whithorn Abbey, and is one of the holiest places in that country. Miracle worker, known to have cured a neighboring chieftain of blindness. Saint Aelred wrote a biography of him, and Saint Bede mentions him in the history of early evangelization in the Isles. His tombs, and a nearby cave where he used to retreat for prayer and meditation, are still places of pilgrimage.


  • c.360 at Cumbria, Britain


  • c.432 of natural causes
  • interred at the church at Whithorn Abbey, Scotland
  • relics lost during the Reformation




MLA Citation

  • “Saint Ninian“. CatholicSaints.Info. 18 January 2020. Web. 21 January 2021. <>