Saturday, September 19, 2009

pilgrimage to canterbury.

We each recently had the opportunity to make our own pilgrimages to Canterbury Cathedral. We began our trek by walking through a square of many modern shops and vendor stands. All of the sudden we were in front of an old building, the Canterbury Cathedral. It was very interesting to see that the cathedral was set right in the middle of a town and shopping district. Since England is so small, everything is so close together. However, I always imagined the Cathedral to stand on its own in the middle of a grassy field so something to that extent.
We entered in through the gates and met with our tour guide. We divided into small groups and headed to go inside of the Cathedral. My group’s tour guide was called Brian and he was a sweetheart.

We sat in the nave where we had a prayer. This was very interesting. First, a man stood at a pulpit and said his prayer then invited the congregation to join him in saying the Lords Prayer. Sitting in the front rows of this area we’re 40 Mormon girls…needless to say we didn’t know a word. However, it was still a cool experience.

We then headed to see more of the cathedral. Many years ago, the cathedral needed money to improve the building and do necessary repairs so various people donated money to the efforts. In return, their family’s coat of arms was carves, painted and put on the ceiling. All along the corridors there were colorful coats of arms lining the ceiling.

We saw many beautiful stained glass windows and great architectural structures.

Then we went down to the crypt. This is the spot where Thomas Becket was murdered. Thomas Becket was a saint of the Roman Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury. During his life he faced a great deal of conflict with King Henry II. AT one point, Henry II was so angry with Thomas that he was said to be heard saying he wanted to be rid of Thomas. Some of the king’s knights heard this and decided to take action. They quickly headed to Canterbury where they attacked Thomas and murdered him.

As a martyr, Thomas was buried in the crypt for some time. Eventually his remains were moved to the uppermost part of the quire. Later, they were removed and destroyed by King Henry VIII. Today, a candle still burns where his remains were kept.

This tour was very interesting and I enjoyed learning the history of the cathedral.

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