After a wonderful breakfast I venture out to see the village first and my destination is also the beautiful little Orthodox Church. There is also an Orthodox chapel in the Shrine Church, the Orthodox presence in Our Lady of Walsingham’s Shrine is twinned with St Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt, for regular followers of this blog they will know this is where my dear Father Lazarus lives. So I wanted to go “on his behalf” too and say some prayers there. When we pray together anywhere in this world, notions such as distance and time are meaningless and irrelevant. We pray as One Body in Christ, ever present.
These are some photos of the village itself. The village of Little Walsingham is thought to be an early planned town with streets laid out on a grid during the 13th century [1200’s] in order to build accommodation and provide for increasing numbers of pilgrims. The original Saxon village had been clustered around the parish church, and now it shifted to the West of the Priory gatehouse.
The Priory Gatehouse
The Priory Gatehouse dates from about 1440, nearly 300 years into the life of the Priory. It would have provided very important security, the Shrines worldly riches were well known. The white timbered building is the original Porters Lodge, now used as the Abbey Garden Office. From this tiny house there is a narrow leaded squint, a window to the left of the arched entrance from the street side, through which the porter would have been able to inspect and challenge callers to the gate.
Views of the Village
Now having had a good walk round it is time for me to locate the little Orthodox Church, which is situated beside the railway line. It is known as The Chapel of St Seraphim, is open daily for private prayer, and that’s how I want to start, with private solitary prayer, away from the masses of pilgrims clustering around the local Shrine. I as a mystic always tend to yearn for silence and solitude, [although I can socialise and party alongside the best of ’em!] So that’s where I head. In this beautiful space with its glowing icons created with such reverence and love, and warm red lamplight spend a peaceful two hours completely undisturbed. Now I am starting to sink deeply into the sacred, and I recognise that slight frisson that marks the presence, the threshold between the dimensions. I step across and am home.
The Chapel of St Seraphim:
And its beautiful Interior:
Walking back into the village from the Chapel
Photos (C) Stephanie 2012