A Pilgrim Guide


I have agreed to an unusual request: to be a pilgrim guide by email to someone who takes a three month sabbatical visiting pilgrim sites in UK and emails me questions. Here are four examples.

1)    My pilgrim starts at the tomb of England’s King Edward the Confessor at Westminster Abbey.  What should be our attitude to shrines where religion is riveted to power politics?  I send this quote from my book Saints of the Isles: ‘King Edward of England, Confessor of Christ, died on January 5 1066.  According to his Life (Vita AEdwardi Regis, ca. 1065-1067 Nelson Medieval Texts 1962),  some time before he died he had a vision in which two deceased monks he had known in  Normandy appeared to him and foretold that  since the people in high office were not what they seemed, but in reality served devils rather than God, one year and one day after Edward’s death God would ravage the land with sword and fire. Exactly one year and one day after his death William the Conqueror,  who led the Norman Invasion which oppressed the church and people, was crowned king.  In the vision Edward then asked the messengers when there would be forgiveness so that God’s design could be shown to the people. They replied: When a green tree, if cut down in the middle of its trunk, and the part cut off carried the space of three furlongs from the stock, shall be joined again to the trunk,  by itself and without the hand of man or any sort of stake, and begin once more to push leaves and bear fruit from the old love of its uniting sap, then first can remission of these great ills be hoped for.’ (Quoted on page  251  of Saints of England’s Golden Age compiled by Vladimir Moss - Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies California 2000).

 Some believe that the present renewal of the Celtic Christian Tradition, with its organic  re-connecting of the strands in Christianity that became separated, is a sign that  the fulfilment of this prophecy is near. What do you think of this prophecy?


2)    How may we pray on hallowed sites where dark deeds and heavenly light intermingle? My book Healing the Land, explores ways we can say  healing prayers for  past sins  on such sites. E.g. the following:

May Christ set this land free from the bitterness of memories, and the power of the past to control the present.

All          The victory of the cross over neglect and fear. The victory of the cross over hatred and division.

Reader     Here may healing take place and our wholeness be restored.

Leader     Lord, bless this earth on which we live and work and make community.

Take from it the corroding effects of human betrayal.

Bring from it goodness that will nourish and renew us all.

3)         How may we be present to our forebears? 

 I paste extracts from a service for remembrance of forebears in my Liturgies from Lindisfarne:

 Psalms: 23; 42;43; 139

 Creator and lover of souls, you uphold us in life and sustain us in death; our God who cares for us all.

 For us you have raised from death a mighty Saviour who, like a rising dawn, shines on those who dwell in the shadow of death.

 We thank you for our loved ones whom we see no longer and for all our forebears. Renew in us

 gratitude for those from whom we come, for it was you who gave them their being.

 As the sun rises in the east so they arose out of your love. In the dimness of memory this alone we

 know, that as the sun goes to its rest in the west,so they rest in you….

 All are yours, O Lord, you lover of souls.

 may your peace be on your ingathering of souls, Jesus Christ, Son of gentle Mary,

 your peace be upon your own ingathering.

4)         How do you carry this sense of the holy back to ordinary life? 

I sometimes light a candle or look at an icon of Christ harrowing hell.

I practice seeing eternity in a grain of sand or a bush aflame with God.  Gaze at them long enough for the inner eye to see.


Posted at 20:34pm on 24th May 2019
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