« Pilgrimage to Kent »

A group of believers of the Diocese of Sourozh from the Diocesan Region of Southern England made a pilgrimage to the shrines of Kent in Minster and Canterbury.

The Pilgrimage started with a visit to the beautiful stone cross which marks the approximate site of of the landing of Saint Augustine at Ebbsfleet and his first meeting with the King of Kent, Ethelbert, in AD597. This date is the beginning of the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Orthodox Christianity.

We then travelled to Minster where a Roman Catholic community of nuns live on the site of the ancient convent of Saint Mildred. We venerated this saint's relics and Father Stephen Platt served the Liturgy in the sister's chapel. We were very moved by the kindness and hospitality of the nuns.

 Next we visited the shrine-church of Saint Augustine at Ramsgate where we were able to venerate relics of Saint Augustine which have recently been brought there. The lovely church also houses relics of Saint Gregory of Rome (the Dialogos) who had sent Augustine on his mission.

 Our pilgrimage ended at Canterbury itself. Here we saw the ancient church of Saint Martin, founded in the Roman period, the ruins of the huge monastery of Saints Peter and Paul (now called St Augustine, for he and his successors were buried here) and finally the Cathedral. On either side of the main altar of the cathedral are the sites of the ancient shrines of two other great saints of Kent: Dunstan of Canterbury and Alphege the Hieromartyr. We were permitted to approach these places and to sing the tropars and kondaks to the saints.

 Accompanying the pilgrimage throughout was Archpriest Maxim Nikolsky who lead our fervent prayers at the different and memorable holy places. 


Reader John Harwood