Category: Celtic Christianity

The Mysterious Road to Tain (4): a simple man

The young missionary – a peregrini, meaning one on a life-pilgrimage – wore two crosses; but not around his neck nor on his simple, woven robe. The Celtic designs were tattooed onto his eyelids so that, when he slept, the original Cross of Christ was projected from both his sleeping eyes into the world… Truth never sleeps. A Christ that he had reached out … Read More The Mysterious Road to Tain (4): a simple man

The Mysterious Road to Tain (3): the protectors

“Saints don’t just disappear!” Bernie was getting a little exasperated with my poor attempt at stringing together a viable theory to account for the cultural disappearance of St Duthac. “There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation… we just have to find it.” I’d already found it, But I wasn’t letting on. It’s not that I’m cleverer than she is, but one of the sources I’d been … Read More The Mysterious Road to Tain (3): the protectors

The Mysterious Road to Tain (2): the demi-god of Ross

“You’d have thought they would have looked after it, better!’ Bernie can be highly critical on these occasions. Mind you, we had trudged all the way around the small town of Tain to find it. The original chapel of St Duthac. The priest to whose church three Scottish kings travelled to pay their respects, sits as an unmarked ruin in the middle of the … Read More The Mysterious Road to Tain (2): the demi-god of Ross

The City and the Stars (9-end) : the most peaceful place in the world

The conclusion of the Silent Eye’s extended workshop to Orkney. A visit to the neighbouring island of Rousay. A sad disappointment and a wonderful surprise. (1500 words, a twelve-minute read) (Above: a modern reconstruction of a Neolithic farmer felling a tree with a hand-made stone axe) For our final day, we were off to the Island of Rousay.. I’ve written, elsewhere, about what it’s … Read More The City and the Stars (9-end) : the most peaceful place in the world

The City and the Stars (8) : Longships

The traditional picture of the Vikings – looting, marauding, raping invaders – may not be entirely true of their time on Orkney, though they did rule this gentle archipelago with an iron fist for five hundred years… (1300 words, a ten-minute read) (Above: the glory of St Magnus (Viking) Cathedral, Kirkwall) History can be complex. Patterns of events that fit in one situation may … Read More The City and the Stars (8) : Longships

The Sacrificed King

Easter is symbolically the time of the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ. This thread of story and principle runs through our civilisation very deeply; and Easter Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar. Jesus (the) Christ did not proclaim himself king, despite being labelled ‘King of the Jews’ – quite the opposite. He said he came ‘from the … Read More The Sacrificed King

Keys of Heaven (10): final resting place…

continued from Part 9 The village of Lastingham, of the southern edge of the North York Moors, was a fitting place to end our weekend – both for its mysterious wells and also on the basis that the crypt of St Mary’s Church marks the final resting place of St Cedd. Following the fateful Synod of Whitby in AD 664, Bishop Cedd returned to … Read More Keys of Heaven (10): final resting place…

Keys of Heaven (9): blown down the mountain

continued from Part 8 My companions of the Silent Eye’s ‘Keys of Heaven’ weekend were waiting when I arrived at the Lion Inn. We had coffee and biscuits and we discussed the options for our last day of the workshop. Everyone was looking forward to the visit to the celebrated St Mary’s church at Lastingham – the final resting place of St Cedd. There … Read More Keys of Heaven (9): blown down the mountain

Keys of Heaven (8): crosses at heaven’s gate

The high pass over the North York Moors is seventeen miles long and crosses the ‘roof of the world’ in the heart of the national park. You’d think twice about going there once the autumn has given way to winter. Local photos show the many times that groups of people have been stranded on the long line of its peak. In one case, in … Read More Keys of Heaven (8): crosses at heaven’s gate

Keys of Heaven (7): the path to gentle darkness

The tiny fishing village of Staithes is a place of peaceful beauty. It lies part way between Whitby and Saltburn on the North Yorkshire coast. It’s geology is also one of the few breaks in the vast cliffs that define this region; and which are the main source of the famous Whitby Jet semi-precious stone. Staithes was our destination… and I was taking a … Read More Keys of Heaven (7): the path to gentle darkness

Keys of Heaven (6): the greater force

The greater force… What did they know of it! Anyone could see it in the fall of boulders in the mountains; in the crashing of the seas on the rocks, in the burning of the forests when the wildfires took hold; in the legends of the earth boiling and glowing when the ground ruptured… But only a few could see it at work in … Read More Keys of Heaven (6): the greater force

Keys of Heaven (5): the will of the king – gathering

We climb the steps to the Abbey at Whitby, aware that something different is happening; that the curtain of time is being drawn back… for as long as we can keep the critical mind at bay The years pass away. From the present keepers back through years of being a rich man’s possession… As – in a mist – we see the year 1539 … Read More Keys of Heaven (5): the will of the king – gathering

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