Shrines and York Minster

April 27, 2017

On Thursday morning we headed to Norwich to visit the shrine of St. Julian. The buildings were badly damaged in bombings, so we visited the reconstructions on the site. Her writings are very popular with a lot of spiritual folk who consider her an important mystic and theologian. They are the earliest surviving writings of a woman in English. (I know just some of the "greatest hits" quotations.) We know very little about her, but as anchoress she supposedly spent decades living in a cell adjacent to the chapel. She had a window that opened to the altar area from which she received communion.

Then we headed to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, that became one of the main pilgrimage sites in mediaeval England because of some supposed appearances by the Virgin Mary. We visited the Anglican retreat center there. It is in a beautiful and peaceful setting. There is also a Roman Catholic shrine in the area.

We then headed to York to attend Evensong at York Minster, which is the cathedral for the Archbishop for the northern part of England. We were running late and had to park the bus a fair distance away and rush to the service. As we came in, the choir was already singing, and I figured that we would be listening from outside the choir area. As it turned out, they were still singing from the aisles before processing in. I decided to snap a picture. There seemed to be plenty of light, but somehow my camera decided to send out the red beam it uses when it doesn't have enough light to focus by. This produced reactions of shock and dismay, and there was just enough delay before the shutter went off to register their expressions. On the left is our guide Conor. Next are a guide from the cathedral motioning me to stop. Then there are varying looks of horror, annoyance, or bemusement on on the part of Paige Baker, Fr. David Buck, Leslie Urban, and Anne Cavett. This may be my favorite photo from the trip. We were seated in the choir area shortly thereafter and experienced the glorious music of the service. Afterward, we finally had the bathroom stop we had missed for hours, and had a few moments to take pictures before we were herded out as the cathedral closed.

I had visited the York Minster early one morning over 25 years ago as we got off the train to Edinburgh, walked down to the church, looked at the Roman wall, and got back to the station in time to catch the next train to Edinburgh. The group was rushing along to go back to the bus to take us to the hotel (which I think would have been a shorter walk than going to the bus), so I had time to grab just a few exterior shots before I tried to catch back up with the group. There's not really enough open space to get a decent picture unless you had a ridiculously wide-angle lens and then still would have stitched together shots to form a panorama. So this is the best I could do under the circumstances. It is a lovely and imposing building. So I've been to York twice, and both visits were all too short.


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