Pilgrimage and Thomas Becket

05th March 2020

Pilgrimage and Becket: Southwark opens its doors for Cathedrals At Night event

Pilgrimage is the theme for Southwark Cathedral’s Cathedrals at Night event this Friday (March 6) which invites people in after hours to experience the cathedral in a new way with medieval music, incense and a chance to explore and reflect on its unique Lent installation.

This year, for the first time, every Church of England cathedral will open their doors on at least one evening to welcome in people of all ages to experience and explore their beautiful buildings and to enjoy a taste of cathedral life absolutely free.

Co-ordinated by the Association of English Cathedrals (AEC) for 2020 Year of Cathedrals, Year of Pilgrimage, Cathedrals at Night is the first nationwide project that brings together the 42 Church of England cathedrals, Westminster Abbey, Cathedral Isle of Man, and St Davids and St Asaph from the Church in Wales, around a single, simple campaign.

The first “Night” took place under artist Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon in Rochester Cathedral last month and dates are scattered throughout the year with the last “Night” taking place in St Edmundsbury Cathedral in November.

You can find all Cathedral at Night events by clicking here….

Southwark is the second to hold its Cathedrals at Night event and this Friday it will be remembering Thomas Becket and the thousands of pilgrims who over the centuries have retraced his steps along the 90 mile Pilgrims Way from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral through the artwork by artist Michelle Rumney and words of author Leigh Hatts. Leigh, author of The Pilgrims Way published by Cicerone Press will talk about this historic pilgrimage walk in the Cathedral Library at 6pm. Booking necessary here

Artist Michelle Rumney has used the medieval practice called Measuring to the Saint to create a unique artwork. If you needed spiritual or physical help or healing, you could get your body measured from head to toe with a length of string or thread, and sent to the nearest Cathedral or Abbey, where the monks would make a candle from it, light it and then pray for your eternal soul.
Michelle has measured hundreds of people using their lengths of string to assemble a piece which veil the altar.

Michelle will be on-hand throughout the evening to talk to visitors about this work.

Cathedrals at Night is an opportunity for cathedrals to reach new audiences and re-engage with those more familiar with cathedral life, by offering a mix of cultural, heritage and spiritual activities some of which will go on until late – and all of them are free.

The concept has been used very successfully in European cathedrals which open on the same night in May every year and it is hoped Cathedrals at Night will become a regular fixture in the UK too beyond 2020.