The Evolution of the Celtic Cross

7V t the end of the fourth century, the mission of St Ninian to the / % people who lived north of the Roman province of Britain led JL ^ to the foundation of the first Christian church in Caledonia. This was the so-called Candida Casa (White House) at Whithorn in Galloway. In the fifth and sixth centuries, the Candida Casa was a centre of Christian missionary activity in northern Britain and Ireland. St Enda, founder of the early monastery at Killeany on the Aran island of Inishmore, was an alumnus of Whithorn. There are few remains of Ninian's church, but a number of early Christian tomb-slabs at Whithorn and Kirkmadrine. The oldest Christian monument known from Scotland was discovered close to the site of Ninian's Candida Casa. It is an early fifth-century stone carved with a Latin inscription commemorating Latinus, his daughter and his grandson, Barrovadus, who set up the monument. At Kirkmadrine are three more memorial stones with Latin inscriptions and the chi-rho monogram. The associated holy place of Physgyll, St Ninian's Cave, on the foreshore about 5 km (3 miles) from Whithorn, has a number of early memorial crosses, some carved in the living rock, and some on separate stones.

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