Friday, 6 May 2011

Psalmody at Bangor Abbey.

... though the spell check wanted to change that to salmonella!
 There was an interesting set of talks in Bangor Abbey at lunch time today ... so I tootled off ... forgetting to shut the door to the front room ... who knows how much barking the dog made in my absence!  He certainly did some as there was a parcel to be delivered and which I now have to drive over to Tomb Street to collect.  I wonder if it is BT's replacement parts for my BTVision?  If so, that's less than twenty four hour service!  "Three working days", they said.  This could be a record!  I'll know in the morning.  Tomb Street opens at eight o'clock so I may well try to be there at that time before traffic builds up.
 Anyhow, it was lovely to be back in the Abbey and to have it to myself for a while.  The Kenneth Webb mural is as magnificent as ever.  It's fifty years now since the Abbey was restored and it is a beautiful, spiritual place to be.
 In recent years three banners have been embroidered and appliquéd.  They tell the history of the Abbey over the centuries and the detail is terrific.
 From earliest times it has been a place where prayer happened 24/7 and where, for at least one hundred and fifty years, the sound of the psalms being sung was never silenced.  At the height of its power there were three thousand monks here for education, spiritual disciplines and to be trained as missionaries.  Both Columbanus and Gaul were sent from Bangor into the rest of Europe.  Many foundations through France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy bear their names.  The link to Bangor Abbey website will provide further information about this history.
 During the Viking raids it seems that Bangor suffered most severely and the fire in this third panel is a stark reminder of the inhumanity of humans.
Another magnificent feature in the Abbey since I was there is the new stained glass window.  I saw the plans for it but the reality is so much more dramatic ... I've forgotten much of the symbolism in the detail ... but will search that out again.  The little mouse (while not a great favourite when they're in my house) is a lovely touch along the bottom left.
 Someone else presented the hand made baptismal bowl ... a fantastic piece of copper work.
 And the big fish is closely tied up with the Bangor history.
 Having arrived half an hour early for the meeting I took a walk in the sunshine towards town and came upon this bed of dramatic tulips just outside the post office!  What a colour!  They look almost black in the strong light - but the quick snap with my little camera doesn't do them justice.
 And finally, not Eliot, but two of his friends.  Hazel ... a most placid, regal and docile big Labrador.
 With Mollie ... a younger, bouncier, bossier and fun loving smaller Labrador.  They are a gorgeous pair.
 The younger dog was quite troubled when they got her but now is a charming and friendly wee bundle of fun.
 So, from the land of "Saints and Scholars" it is probably time to bid the reader a good night.  As a spiritual and educational foundation Bangor was second to none in the sixth century ... and maybe Ireland still produces a fair number of those who are world leaders in both faith and education/science.

Draw near and take the body of the Lord,
and drink by faith the blood for your outpoured.

Saved by his body, hallowed by his blood,
with souls refreshed we render thanks to God.

Salvation's giver, Christ the only Son,
by his dear cross and blood the victory won.

Bangor Antiphonary 7th Century

1 comment:

ROBERTA said...

that baptismal bowl is unbelievably gorgeous!