Thursday, May 14, 2015

First look at Durham Cathedral

morning in Durham, Mary M Payne

Leslie and Ian live in Durham in a lovely house in front of a tangly wood.  I have a cozy new room at the top and can open my dormer windows and capture the morning and evening light....looking for the pheasants that I can hear cough-calling to each other. 

Today the adults have gone off to their respective jobs and Zelda is in school.   I am headed to wander around the old town of Durham to have my first look at the Cathedral.  On my approach, across the river Wear,  I am stopped at every turn with a photographer's moment.   

Durham Cathedral  photo by Mary M Payne

River Wear, Durham...Photo by Mary M Payne

Pulling myself away,  I am impressed with how spotless and well ordered the surrounds of the Cathedral are and the town itself.   Although the Durham Cathedral is a big tourist draw, there is no entrance fee.  A sign says that it takes 60,000 British pounds sterling A WEEK, to support the life and buildings of the Cathedral and I have no doubt this is true.   

Durham Cathedral :Photo by Mary M Payne

Durham Cathedral, Photo by Mary M Payne

I wander around the cloister but fail to find the I ask a "man of the cloth" I find walking among the picturesque "out buildings".   He graciously agrees to escort me.  

Cloister, Durham Cathedral , Mary M Payne

   He is actually a methodist minister there for a conference.  On the way I am treated to a history lesson. He tells me that in 2003, the Anglican church agreed to re-unite with the methodists.  It seems that John Wesley never gave up his standing as an Anglican Church priest and now the two churches are united again.   I spent some time in the Methodist Church as a child and thought they were as similar as "chalk and cheese" but who am I to say. 

His discourse and mini sermon to go with it is interesting but after 10 minutes chat , I am anxious to see the inside of the Cathedral, so I thank him and step inside.  According to wikipedia: 

The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham, usually known as Durham Cathedral and home of the Shrine of St Cuthbert, is a cathedral in the city of Durham, England, the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Durham. The bishopric dates from 995, with the present cathedral being founded in AD 1093. The cathedral is regarded as one of the finest examples of Norman architecture and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with nearby Durham Castle, which faces it across Palace Green.

I wander among groups of hushed school children and many female priests ( priestesses?)  acting as greeters.  It is several minutes before I realize that I am not allowed to take photos indoors.  

Durham Cathedral,  Photo by Mary M Payne

Durham Cathedral,  photo by Mary M Payne

Durham Cathedral, photo by Mary M Payne

 I am always of two minds in spaces dedicated to the father , the son and the holy ghost" ....that last always being a puzzle to me....

 but I am in no doubt of the majesty and splendor of this space.  

 I sit in a pew and meditate until the teenagers and their band leader.... setting up for the next mass....break the spell.  Then I wander back down to the river for some quiet. 

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