Saint Ninian of Whithorn, or St. Ringan, St. Trynnian, the Apostle to the Southern Picts (~360-432, feast day on September 16) was born around the year 360 and of Celtic Briton ancestry. He studied in Rome before going back home to establish the episcopal in Whithorn in today's Scotland. According to the writings of Venerable Bede, St. Ninian built the his church there in stone, something which was very unusual for the Britons at the time.
12th century writer Saint Aelred of Rievaulx gives a bit more information, and states that St. Ninian's father was a Christian king, and that the young man was consecrated Bishop in Rome. On his way home he befriended St. Martin in Tours, who sent masons with him to build a church of stone. There he became the first Bishop of Galloway. Upon learning of Saint Martin's death, St. Ninian dedicated the whitewashed stone church at Whithorn, or Candida Casa in Latin, meaning "white house", to him and began his missionary work among the southern Picts, in the Scottish Lowlands. There, he managed to convert a certain rich and powerful King Tuduvallus and his whole people. After having converted the southern Picts he returned home, and died.
The monastery at Whithorn which he had also founded, was by the 6th century a leading Anglo-Saxon monastic centre. St. Ninian has long been credited as the first Christian missionary to Scotland and responsible for the widespread conversions among the Celts of northern England and the Picts of southern Scotland. His huge influence can be see by the many churches dedicated to him in Scotland and northern England, and he undoubtedly laid the foundation for the later evangelization of St. Columba and St. Kentigern.
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