Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Series Post #4: St. David's in Wales

According to the timeline on the website for the Cathedral of St. David's in Wales:

1538: Bishop [William] Barlow strips St Davids shrine of its jewels and confiscates the relics of St David and St Justinian in order to counteract "superstition".(sic)

According to the homepage on the same website, they need 150,000 BPS to restore the medieval shrine of St. David!

In the 12th century Pope Calixtus II declared St Davids Cathedral to be a place of pilgrimage. It was at this time that the medieval shrine was constructed and situated in the presbytery, close to the High Altar. Pope Calixtus II also stated that the Shrine was so important that two pilgrimages to St Davids were equivalent to one to Rome, three were equivalent to one to Jerusalem. Since then the path of pilgrimage has been trodden by hundreds of thousands of individuals. The destruction of the Shrine during the Reformation caused a steep decline in this important religious practice. However throughout the periods of religious and political turmoil, pilgrims have continued to visit the site.

The restoration of the Shrine will return the relics of St David to their rightful place in the Cathedral. It will offer visitors and pilgrims an opportunity to pray at the Shrine and to give thanks to God for the example of St David. With the restoration of the Shrine it is hoped that St Davids Cathedral will once again become the most important place of pilgrimage in Wales.

This website describes the career and answers questions about William Barlow who destroyed that shrine:

What of the man and his achievements? The date of his birth is unknown but he died in 1568. He became an Augustinian Canon of St. Osyth Priory in Essex. He wrote many tracts such as "Burying of the Mass" and had very strong reforming views which got him into trouble in the early years of Henry VIII's reign. He then rose to be a prominent member of the Augustinian Order becoming Prior of Haverfordwest by 1534, acted as Chaplain to Henry VIII, and had led an embassy to Scotland on behalf of the King. In 1536 he was consecrated Bishop of St. Asaph followed by St. David's in the same year, being the the first Protestant Bishop to be appointed by the King and not elected. During the reign of Edward VI he was appointed Bishop of Bath and Wells He fled to the Continent after a short term of imprisonment under Queen Mary only to return under Elizabeth to be made Bishop of Chichester.

He was the only Bishop who played a part in the consecration of Mathew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1559 who had been consecrated under the traditional forms of the Roman Church. Considered to be a distinguished father of the Protestant Church. What of his five daughters? They all married Bishops.

Of course, 150,000 BPS won't restore medieval grandeur and jewels!

Thinking of Wales recalls Tintern Abbey and William Wordsworth. I hope to see it some day!

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