Saint Kessog

(St. Kessog)

c.460 - 520

Irish missionary. Kessog was born into the royal family of Munster in Ireland. He was recognised for his piety and miracles at an early age and educated in a monastery under St. Machaloi. He came to Scotland in the 5th C., spreading Christianity in Lennox, which lay been Dalriada in the west and the lands of the Picts in the east from his base on the island of Inchtavannach (Monk's Isle) in Loch Lomond. Lennox stretched much further than the area known by that name today, including not only southern Perthshire, east as far as Stirling and north to the Great Glen. Kessog became Scotland's Patron Saint before St. Andrew and his name was used as a battle cry.

Kessock was murdered either on Inchtavannach or at nearby Bandry, where there is a heap of stones was known as St. Kessog's Cairn. It is said he was killed by brigands or mercenaries, who may have been paid by pagans jealous of his success in converting the locals, and thus Kessog became one of the first Christian martyrs in Scotland.

St. Kessog's Church in Luss, on the banks of Loch Lomond, contains his effigy. Elsewhere in Scotland, the old parish churches of Auchterarder and Comrie were dedicated to Kessog, while North and South Kessock by Inverness is named after him, as is the Kessog oil field in the North Sea.

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