Cathedrals of Britain
Due to the ongoing pandemic we have been forced to cancel our pilgrimage plans for last year and this coming year. We have teamed with Cathedrals across Britain to bring together our first ‘virtual pilgrimage’! It is our hope that as a parish we can come together spiritually to deepen our understanding of the kingdom of God.
With Covid restrictions likely to remain for some time, All Saints West Dulwich will host a 2nd Virtual Pilgrimage in Autumn 2021. Shrines were erected across the country in honour of local holy men and women and those who had suffered for the faith. We will walk in their footsteps to deepen our faith through their example.
More information will be announced in due course.
Saint’s of Ireland
In the hope that, our lives will resume some resemblance of normality again by next year, we are planning a pilgrimage across Ireland! Once known as the Land of Saints and Scholars, Ireland has a rich heritage, interwoven along ancient pilgrimage routes. Home to some of the oldest sites of early Christianity in Europe, dating back over 1500 years.
More information will be announced in due course.
A Pilgrimage to Holy Armenia
24th September to 2nd October 2018
25 pilgrims (17 from All Saints and 8 friends from other churches) met at Gatwick Airport mid morning on 24th September for a flight to Kiev (Ukraine) where we were in transit for another flight to Yerevan, the capitol city of Armenia. It was an extremely late arrival in the hotel but there awaited in their rooms refreshments for everyone. A daily pattern of worship had been planned, morning prayer (mainly to be said whilst we were travelling on a bus, but on this occasion morning prayer whilst travelling did not work very well); a short reflection on each of the sites we visited when appropriate and an evening Eucharist in our hotels.
In order to fit all of the itinerary in we had early starts each day and sometimes not arriving to the hotel until it was time for the evening meal. However, the first few days in Yerevan were a little more leisurely when we able to get a little orientated to the Armenian way of life visiting Echmiadzin meaning “Only begotten descendant” this is where St Gregory founded a church and visiting the Mother Armenia Monument, a high point over looking the city amongst many other places.
The photograph of the pilgrims was taken on the way to Khor Virap (another of St Gregory the Illuminator’s monastery churches. In the background there is the snow capped mountain of Mt Ararat.
One of the highlights of this pilgrimage was attending an Armenian church service on the Sunday. All church services in Armenia happen on a Sunday at 11am and they last a long time. At some points in the proceedings of the service a curtain is drawn across the chancel so that the congregation cannot see what goes on behind it. Once everything has been prepared the men receives communion first, the celebrant sits on the dais and places the host in the communicant’s mouth.
Unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to engage with a local congregation but we did have the expertise of our guide who was with us the whole of the pilgrimage and he had been a Deacon in the Holy Armenian Church. The church in Armenian is of the Asian Orthodox Tradition.
In the footsteps of St Hilda
13th to 16th March 2018
15 Pilgrims met at Kings Cross Station to board a train to York where a minibus and a car awaited to transport all to St Oswald’s Pastoral Centre near Sleights, North Yorkshire. Two of the pilgrims volunteered to drive these vehicles. We had a daily pattern of worship, morning prayer (in the Retreat house), a short reflection on each of the sites we visited and a Eucharist at one of the sites visited each day, back in the retreat house after supper there was time together to reflect on the day’s visits before Compline.
The pilgrimage took us from Stanbrook Abbey to St Hilda’s Priory, Whitby, (the mother house of the Order of the Holy Paraclete) via St Hilda’s Church, Hartlepool; Rievaulx Abbey; St Mary’s, the church on the headland of Whitby and Lastingham on our way home.
Pilgrimage to Ravenna, Italy
11th to 15th May 2015
22 pilgrims (15 from All Saints and 7 friends from other churches) met at Gatwick Airport early morning on 11th May for a flight to Bologna and from there a train journey to Ravenna. Once ensconced in our Ravenna city centre hotel we met for an evening meal in a pre-booked restaurant just a few minutes walk from the hotel. We had a daily pattern of worship, morning prayer (in the hotel’s conference room which was set aside for our use for our entire stay), a short reflection on each of the sites we visited and an evening Eucharist back in the hotel before going out into the city for our evening meal.
Ravenna has a unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments. All eight buildings – the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe – were constructed in the 5th and 6th centuries. They show great artistic skill, including a wonderful blend of Graeco-Roman tradition, Christian iconography and oriental and Western styles.
The hotel was in easy walking distance to all the sites apart from the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe (the group photo was taken inside this bassilica). This was the only one occasion when pilgrims used the local bus service.
Viewing these mosaics we began to understand how the early Christians brought reality in touch with mystery. The green in the photograph represent fields, the earth, and then there’s the disciples, the cross represents Christ and then there is an image of a hand stretching through the ceiling.
Istanbul and the Seven Churches
of Asia Minor
8th to 18th October 2012
20 pilgrims (12 from All Saints and 8 friends from other churches) met at Gatwick Airport early morning on 8th October for a flight to Istanbul. Once ensconced in our Istanbul hotel we were able to find a space where we could all meet and begin to gel as pilgrims. We had a daily pattern of worship, morning prayer (mainly happened whilst we were travelling on a bus since in order to cope with the heat of the day we had very early starts); a short reflection on each of the sites we visited and an evening Eucharist.
For the first two days we were based in Istanbul where East meets West, Europe meets Asia and the opportunity to get a little accustom to the Turkish culture visiting the main Mosques, getting lost in the Grand Bazaar and a cruise on the Bosphorus.
It wasn’t until day four when we flew to Izmir that we started our actual pilgrimage to the 7 Churches of Asia Minor (those that are recorded in the Book of Revelation to John). Our tour leader had done this tour a few times and had worked out how best to arrange the order of the visits starting in Izmir (Smyrna) and ending in Ephesus. On the way visiting Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Before visiting Laodicea Pilgrims had an over-night stay in Pamukkale where there are hot springs. At Laodicea we looked west and could see the hot springs and looked east and saw snow capped mountains. Some pilgrims made the link that we were at place that was neither hot nor cold!
The pilgrimage had its climax at Ephesus, the largest site of all seven, the photo not only shows all the pilgrims but in the background is the reconstructed library at Ephesus. Pilgrims entered the site without too much introduction; as they walked down the main street they observed the sign of the fish etched in the stone pathway reminding them that residents in the first century AD would declare their Christianity at their peril. Then Wow! as they turned a corner and beheld the library.
It was an interesting revelation that each of the sites visited were places where whole communities lived, they were not buildings but communities, the sites were about people who lived there. We ended the pilgrimage realising that the church is about community, about a living community.