The Culdees, sometimes Kyllidei, Colidei, and Kelidei were at one time Druid Bards before they had become Christian. They had been formed in a time where it was very dangerous to be anything other than pagan. After all, the Druids had long held the title of the priestly class in Britain, Ireland, and Gaul.

A “Culdee” is an anglicisation of Céli Dé (plural of Céile Dé, lit. “client/companion of God”). The Culdees, or clergy of the order of St. Columba {or Colum, as his name was before it was Latinized) had resided on on the island of Iona or Hii-colum-kiU (Icolmkill),” the island of Columba of the Cell,” or also known as Innis nan Druidhneah (” the island of the Druids “). This would the starting point of Christianity in this area of the world when it was ruled by various tribes of peoples. Hence, this is a very important time and island in the history of Christianity.

“Isle of Columba’s cell,

where Christian piety‘s soul-cheering spark
(Kindled from heaven between the light and dark
Of time) shone like the morning star.”

The year was approximately 564 when Columba had reached the Island of Iona, on the evening of Whit-Monday, according to the annals of Innisfallen. It was said that he made the voyage in a wicker boat, covered with hides  and was  accompanied by twelve friends. The Druids who were in power and occupied the island had tried their best from making Columba and his crew from settling there. Saint Bede said in his book, Ecclesiastical History, I that Columba had been met with fierce opposition from the Druids whose early miracles in the country of the Picts, the greater part were performed ” in order to confound the Druids and glorify God.”

Saint Columba was born in the year 521, and was a lineal descendant, in the sixth generation, from  Niall Noígíallach or known in English as Niall of the Nine Hostages, an Irish king, son of Eochaid Mugmedón, and whose mother had descended from Lorn, one of the earliest princes of the Scots. Therefor you can say that when Columba had went out to establish Christianity under the Culdees, he had a very powerful family backing him up. After all that would make Columba of royal blood as well and now would be aligned with Rome. This power play at that time that would be a new alliance between the Irish King Nial, ancestor of the Uí Néill kindred who dominated Ireland from the 6th to the 10th century and Rome.

The Culdee Church was very different than the Roman Church for they were allowed to be married and had surrounded themselves by their own families similar to how the Druid Bards had done. They were succeeded by their own sons. They also were self sufficient and supported themselves by their own labor. The differences between the Culdees and the Roman Church would often cause problems in the rocky relationship. They were protestant to the practices of the Roman church at that time and many times thereafter.

This brotherhood of the Culdees would be the one where the Scot born Saint Bede, Clement and Albinus had come from before we find thehistorical story of Clement and Albinus arrive to the court of

Johannes Scotus Eriugena was among the first t...

Johannes Scotus Eriugena was among the first to propose that God became the Universe, and did so to learn something about itself. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The court of Charlemagne was crowded with Irish scholars, and a story told by a foreign chronicler of good authority, of the arrival of two distinguished Irishmen in France during the reign of that monarch, is peculiarly characteristic. The names of these two scholars were Clement and Albinus, and they arrived on the coast of France in company with a party of merchants.

John Scotus Erigena succeeded these great evangelists, and settled at Charles the Bald’s Court

Claude Clement, known as Claude of Turin, was also of the same missionary army, labouring all around the city which has given him its name, afterwards founding the University of Paris, as John Scott, surnamed Albinus, founded the University of Pavia. In North Italy these Culdee missionaries had another representative in Sedulius, afterwards Bishop of Oreta in Spain, as Donatus similarly became bishop of the Italian Fiesole.

The Cisalpine valleys were the home of the Culdee missionaries, who did much to give them that primitive faith from which all-powerful Rome could never shake them.

In the book The Scots Worthies: In two volumes, Volume 1  By John Howie, William M’Gavin

Mention is first made of Clements and Samson, two famous Culdees, who, as we have seen in the seventh century, supported the authority of Christ as the only head of his church, against the usurped power of Rome, and who rejected the superstitious rites of Antichrist, as contrary to the simplicity of Gospel institutions. The succeeding age was still more famous for learned and pious men, to whom Scotland gave birth, and whose praise was in the churches abroad; particularly Joannes Scotus iErigena, who wrote a book upon the eucharist, which was condemned by Leo IX. in the year 1030, long after his death.

William of Malmesburyhad told the story of King Charles the Bald and John the Scot (Eriugena) were seated at the same table, when the latter did “something” which offended good Gallic manners (quod Gallicanam comitatem offendebat). Thereupon the King said: “What separates a Sot from a Scot?” To which John answered: “Only a table.”

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