Iona cloisters by images@twiston
Via Flickr:
Iona cloisters - The cloisters at Iona Abbey. The abbey is located on the holy Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland. Iona is considered the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland; St Columba founded the Benedictine monastery on the island in AD 563 and is thus regarded as the most holy place in Scotland.

Two Medieval Monks Invent Bestiaries

By Mallory Ortberg on The Toast

MONK #1: do birds have meetings
MONK #2: absolutely
they have a Meeting Hat and everything
MONK #1: what do they have meetings about
MONK #2: mostly who gets to wear the meeting hat

MONK #1: do human women sleep in beds or–
MONK #2: no that’s dogs you’re thinking of
MONK #1: right right

MONK #1: what part of the knight do fish go on
MONK #2: the head
MONK #1: thanks
MONK #2: oh absolutely
no problem at all
MONK #1: both lying flatwise across the head, or…?
MONK #2: no one on each side
like ears
MONK #1: ok great

MONK #1: so when a dog and a bird make out
MONK #2: right
MONK #1: it’s usually the bird that’s on top
MONK #2: yeah
MONK #1: great

MONK #1: hey is it owls or people that live in caves and build fires?
MONK #2: owls

MONK #1: hey roughly what size are sparrows
MONK #2: mm
it kind of depends
MONK #1: like
AS big as a tree
or not quite as big as a tree?
MONK #2: oh pretty much the same size as a tree

MONK #1: can cows sail boats?
MONK #2: hahaha no
common misconception
they have to put wheels on the boat and roll it over land

MONK #1: what do birds eat
MONK #2: other birds mostly
MONK #1: like different kinds of birds, or something else
MONK #2: no birds only eat exactly the same kind of birds that they are

MONK #1: what kind of bird tucks people into bed at night
usually I mean
MONK #2: any bird
any kind of walking bird
MONK #1: and when it tucks you in, people usually look…
MONK #2: incredibly worried
it’s incredibly worrying when the bedbird tucks you in

MONK #1: ugh sorry to bother you again
MONK #2: no no its fine
this is what i’m here for
what is it
MONK #1: what part of a goat is a snail again
like the front end or the back end
MONK #2: what part do you feel like should be the snail part
MONK #1: the back part?
MONK #2: you shouldnt doubt yourself
you know more about goats than you give yourself credit for

MONK #1: what usually rides horses
like people or–
MONK #2: fire

Justo Gallego Martínez is using found materials to build a cathedral in Spain all by himself. He’s been working on the project ever since being kicked out of a monastery 50 years ago, which inspired him to begin construction on a church of his own. Source Source 2

Photos:  Susana GirónJMPerez

“I do it for faith. That’s clear, no?”

Photos: Eoghan Macguire Jose Javier Martin Espartosa 

“My mother was very pious. She taught me my faith and I love the Church. So I put everything into this.”

Photos:  archdaily.mxJose Javier Martin Espartosa

“Realising my ideal spurs me on. People today are very passive, they don’t value anything. They’re slaves to worldly things.”

Photo: Susana Girón

“People have called me crazy and insulted me. But they’re ignorant.”

Photo:  Jose Javier Martin Espartosa

“When I look at what I’ve created, it overwhelms me and I give thanks to the Lord.”

Photo:  Eoghan Macguire

"If I lived my life again, I’d build this church again, only bigger. Twice the size…”


“… Because for me, this is an act of faith.”

Mar Thecla Monastery - Ma'loula, Syria

The residents of Ma’loula speak a specific dialect of western Aramaic, scholars believe the dialect of Aramaic spoken by Jesus was of the same branch the residents speak.


Visiting Taung Kalat, Myanmar’s Mountaintop Monastery

For more photos from Mount Popa and Taung Kalat, explore the Mount Popa location page.

Perched on top of a volcanic plug in central Myanmar is Taung Kalat monastery, home to 37 နတ်‌—"nats", or spiritual demigods—and a dramatic panoramic view. Located 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Mount Popa, the extinct volcano that once formed this 737-meter (2,417-foot) thumb, Taung Kalat draws pilgrims and tourists who are willing to climb its 777 stairs to reach the gilded rooftops and Buddhas above.

The stairs—a sacred site in their own right—were once maintained by the famed Buddhist hermit U Khandi. The compound is also home to a horde of macaques, where they pose for tourists and snatch their unattended bags in the hope of finding a snack.