February 28, 2004


Today we had our annual St David's Day pilgrimage to Llanthony. The more perceptive among you may realise that it is not St David's Day, so I should point out that we have our pilgrimage on the Saturday closest to St David's Day, so more people can attend.

As it was, there weren't enough people there to start a fight. Most of our community couldn't make it for various reasons. The Swansea people didn't come up this year. Fortunately we had folks from Bristol come up and lead the choir.

I've mentioned a bit about Llanthony itself in the past. What I didn't mention is that the service is invariably cold. Very cold. Normally, on or about the 1st of March the outside mid-morning temperature is about 45F, which means the unheated church is a bit colder. Today it was more like 33F outside with a moderate (or in British terms, heavy) snow on the ground. You can imagine how cold it was inside.

I have to say I felt a bit like St Seraphim of Sarov praying in the snow in Russia, without that part about the Holy Spirit keeping me warm. Perhaps I'm not a spiritual as St Seraphim. It has been suggested in the past.

In his brief homily, our own Fr. Seraphim talked about how St David used to jump into the cold sea (once he was ensconced at what became St David's in west Wales) to cool the passions. While he was at Llanthony, he clearly could have just stood in his monastic cell (which was located on the site of the church in which we were standing). He may very well have used the equally effective the Honddu brook running nearby.

I suppose it is appropriate that St David's Day almost always falls in Lent.

The Bristol people are part of a church under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Thus, their music was a bit different from our usual fare. And it was different from the EP church is infrequently attend in Shrewsbury, where the choir master has blended many different styles together.

What I have discovered in being exposed to these variations in music is how easy it is to follow and even pick up the ethnic variations in the Tones. I tend to sing along where I can even while serving in the altar. It is not so difficult when you already know the words. That's the great thing about the Liturgy. The tune may change, but the words stay the same.

This is like work of Christ in the lives of believers throughout the world. We may find ethnic variations in the presentation, but the Word stays the same.

Posted by david at February 28, 2004 11:49 PM | TrackBack

I am trying to find information on the annual summer pilgrimage to Llanthony but can't find anything. Do you have any contacts to suggest? Thanks

Posted by: geoff stickland at March 22, 2004 09:20 PM