|Sarcophagi and burial plaques along the north transept|
of York Minster
Everywhere you turn there are plaques telling you there are bones. But you can’t help it when the heritage you are exploring extends over centuries and the core tenet of its culture calls for a belief that these dry bones will breathe again.
|The tomb of St. William, patron saint of York in the |
A place like York Minster, though points mostly to the bones of the rich and famous – lords and ladies, dukes and duchesses – or the well placed – bishops and deans, canons and benefactors of note. Their bones are everywhere to be seen – well not their bones actually, but certainly reference to them: “Here lie the mortal remains …” usually in Latin, sometimes in English. The one notable exception is reference not to the place of rest but a plea for memory for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of life and limb for their country. Chapels and memorials recall battles and wars, soldiers and their leaders and the ultimate sacrifice they made for “king and country” – more here than in any major church I have seen in this fair land.
|The West Entrance of York Minster|
Beyond that, there is just so much here it is hard to take it all in. It was here, in this northern fortress town, that Constantine received word that his father had died and was declared to be emperor of all Rome. Of course, there was no minster, since Christianity was still a persecuted religion, but it was Constantine in time that would sanction the Christian religion as a binding power for the empire. Much would happen. Christian missions. Norse invasions. Culture wars that dug deep. It all mixed together to create that unique blend of Christianity that we have come to know as Anglicanism. And it is on full display here in York.
|The magnificent reredos from the Lady Chapel|
behind the High Altar at York Minster
There was so much here, I could scarcely take it all in. There will be more on this blog about this magnificent place – pictures and even a video montage. It will, I am sure, remain a highlight of this pilgrim’s trek.