Ninian the Enlightener of Scotland

September 16


Saint Ninian was born in Cumberland in Britain around the year 360, about a half century after the Emperor Constantius Chlorus died in the British city of York, and his son Constantine, who was with him when he died, was proclaimed Emperor. Ninian was born of Christian parents of noble lineage, at a time when paganism was still strong in his native land. As a young man he went to Rome, where he spent many years in study and ascetical struggles. At Rome, Saint Ninian was consecrated some time after the death of Pope Damasus in 384, and was sent back to his native island about the end of the fourth century. On his return journey, it is likely that he passed through Tours and met Saint Martin; what is certain is that many churches and cells associated with Saint Ninian, including his own cathedral in Whithorn, were named in honour of Saint Martin. When Saint Ninian returned to Cumberland, he established monasteries that fostered both the life of prayer and missionary labours. By his preaching, his godly life, and his miracles, he ministered to his own countrymen, the Britons, and also converted many of the pagan Picts, who inhabited the northern regions (in today's Scotland). He reposed in peace at his see of Whithorn in Galloway in 432.

Apolytikion of Ninian of Scotland

Third Tone

As the equal of the Lord's Apostles, * thou didst bring the grace of good tidings * to the lands of the Scots, O wise Ninian. * Thou art a lamp to our feet, who enlightenest * our souls to walk in the path of God's commands. * Hence, we honour thee and cry unto thee with fervent faith: * Entreat Christ God to grant great mercy unto us.

Kontakion of Ninian of Scotland

Plagal of the Fourth Tone

To thee, our father, guide, and teacher in the Christian Faith, * do we now offer fitting hymns of praise and gratitude, * and, O godly boast of Cumberland, we extol thee. * But since thou hast grace and boldness at the throne of God, * do thou shelter and protect all who acclaim thy name, * for we cry to thee: * Rejoice, O Father Ninian.

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