A new visitor centre celebrating Scotland’s Christian heritage on the island of Iona should not gloss over the ‘brutal’ realities of the reformation, a Church spokesman has warned.
Hundreds of documents will now be shipped to the mainland from the 6th century Iona Abbey.
The library will become a new visitor attraction at the historic seat of Christian worship, which played a key role in the spread of the religion across Scotland.
The collection’s catalogue will also be put online to reach the widest possible audience.
Peter Kearney, director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, welcomed the devolvement but said ‘the tender attention now being visited upon the 6th century monastery of St Columba in Iona is in stark and belated contrast to the brutal destruction visited upon it during the reformation.’
“The fact that so many monastic buildings were razed and their contents vandalised and destroyed if they were not hidden or spirited away has robbed Scotland of much of its spiritual and cultural history,” he added.
“A yawning chasm of explanation and obfuscation faces anyone who wonders why so much of Scotland’s ‘religious magnificence’ remains in ruins,” he went on. “Hopefully, future visitors viewing the scraps of material which remain will learn why our country embarked on such an orgy of iconoclastic destruction, in the hope, that once learned, history need not be repeated.”