Saint Columba was an Irish abbot and missionary. He founded the important abbey on Iona, which became a dominant religious and political institution in the region for centuries. He was highly regarded by both the Gaels of Dál Riata and the Picts and is remembered today as a Christian saint and one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. Columba reportedly studied under some of Ireland’s most prominent church figures and founded several monasteries in the country. Around 563 he and his twelve companions sailed to Iona in Scotland, then part of the Irish kingdom of Dál Riata, where they founded a new abbey as a base for spreading Christianity among the pagan Picts. He remained active in Irish politics, though he spent most of the remainder of his life in Scotland.