Historic Procession into the Abbey Ruins...
A grand procession from St Edmundsbury Cathedral into the Abbey Gardens on Sunday 15 May afternoon will have echoes of medieval processions into the Abbey of St Edmund. Members of the public can come along and join Bishops, Civic Representatives, Monks and Nuns and Ecumenical Guests walking from the Cathedral across Angel Hill and through the Abbey Gate. The procession will end at the crypt of the Abbey ruins, beneath where countless pilgrims visited the body of St Edmund in its shrine during the Middle Ages.
The procession will be part of the church service Vespers which will begin in the Cathedral and conclude in the crypt with seating for around 200 and a homily by a Benedictine Abbot, Geoffrey Scott the Abbot of Douai Abbey, Berkshire.
Monks and nuns from Benedictine communities around Britain and other countries are coming to Bury St Edmunds for the first time in 500 years since the dissolution of the monasteries as part of the town’s Abbey 1000 celebrations. They will be joined at this gathering, “Abiding Wisdom”, on 14-15 May by lay Benedictines and others to explore the wisdom of Benedict for 21st century living. Speakers will include former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who will join by Zoom from his home in Wales on the evening of Saturday 14 May. The day will include workshops on applying Benedictine principles in modern life, as well as worship and fellowship. The gathering will include alumni of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Community of St Anselm, as well as members of the Lay Community of St Benedict.
Services in the Cathedral on the morning of Sunday 15 May, will be led by the Roman Catholic Bishop of East Anglia, The Rt Reverend Alan Hopes, and the Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.
Abiding Wisdom is part of the Abbey 1000 series of events to mark the millennium of the founding of the Abbey of St Edmund. This event has been made possible by a Heritage Grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Abbey 1000 celebrations are being coordinated by the Abbey 1000 C.I.C. (which includes St Edmundsbury Cathedral), alongside The Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership.
Revd Canon Matthew Vernon of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, who is part of the Abbey 1000 C.I.C., said, “We envisage a large, fun, all-inclusive procession of people from across our community and faith traditions highlighting together the wonderful heritage of the town. We hope many people will join us and the visiting Benedictine monks and nuns for this historic occasion. All people are welcome to attend Abiding Wisdom too when we will learn from the ancient wisdom of St Benedict about how to live well. After centuries of practice, monks and nuns can teach us about compassion, listening to each other, and being present.”
The Services on Sunday 15 May, including the procession, are free to join. Tickets for Abiding Wisdom on Saturday 14 May are just £10.00 and available now via stedscathedral.org/abbey-1000-events