From St Alphege to Chaucer
Many thanks to all the budding authors who took the time to write some fantastic stories for the St Alphege competition. We received some very impressive and enthusiastic entries. They ranged from incredible historical accuracy to imaginative fiction. There can however be only one winner, so congratulations to Ms Reames whose entry included both imaginative forethought and historical reference. The unique lead Canterbury Cross prize is on its way to you. Readers can view the winning entry below.
The Cathedral has inspired through literature for centuries. Probably the most famous poem is a set of tales told by pilgrims on their way to the shrine of St Thomas Becket, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The Cathedral shop has just released a new guide entitled Geoffery Chaucer by Michael Alexander, Professor Emeritus of English Literature at the University of St Andrews.
Packed with colourful illustrations and images, this guide is a fantastic read for anyone wanting to know more about Chaucer, his life and his work.
In celebration of the release of the new Geoffrey Chaucer guide by Michael Alexander, we have been inspired to ask you for your poems. For this edition’s competition, the winner will receive a copy of the new book. The winning poem will be printed in the next e-bulletin; appear on our website and will be displayed for a short time in the Cathedral.
Send your Cathedral poems, limericks, rhymes, verses or sonnets to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE NOTE: This competition is now CLOSED. Details of the winning entry can be found here.
My 2012 Visit to Canterbury and the Cathedral
A thousand years it has been since I last saw Canterbury Cathedral. Nearing the crest of Saint Thomas Hill, I offered a prayer for the people of Canterbury and the Cathedral community and prepared myself for the changes time would have wrought. The city spread out below me. Towering above all, shining in the sunlight, pointing toward heaven, there were the spires of a church I instinctively knew would be Canterbury Cathedral.
Walking down the hill, I was amazed at the growth of the city and the numbers of bustling people and traffic. Through a narrow lane, I approached a set of huge doors. Sitting in splendor above was a statue of Our Lord with outstretched arms —a fitting beacon to the crowds passing by, welcoming them to worship. Persons speaking a variety of languages were heading to join the crowd waiting to enter the gates.
Beside an entrance door an Easter garden presented the tomb and the stone that had been rolled away, a visual reminder of our Lord’s death and resurrection—letting pilgrims see Jesus through the event of his life and death.
Inside, I was awed by the towering pillars rising to the vaulted ceiling and was inspired by the beauty of the stained glass windows illuminating miracles and stories of the faithful through the ages. This edifice was not like the Cathedral I last saw—the one left in ashes from fire set by invading Danes. Those after my time have created an even more magnificent space in which to contemplate and worship God. This soaring building leads one’s thoughts to ascend.
At the Martyrdom, I heard of another Archbishop of Canterbury. I was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to be martyred, but others also have died for their faith and God’s people.
Hearing the first chords of an organ even finer than the one I had installed in Winchester Cathedral, I hurried with others to Evensong, pleased to know that the community still offers daily prayers to God. The choir of men and boys entered and raised their voices to God—a foretaste of heaven, as I now know. The verger, priests, and canons entered—and to my shock, I saw women among them–quite a change from my day. But God brings changes we might not expect.
Soon worshippers each took up a book—identical and not written by hand, showing both words and tune. I marveled at the invention that allows all to sing their praises to the Almighty.
Darkness fell, but not inside the Cathedral. No torches had been lit. Electric lights illuminated the interior. Outside Bell Harry rang, marking the closing of the Cathedral for the day. Lights illuminated the exterior of the Cathedral so brightly that it could be seen for miles around, reminding people that even in night and darkness, God is a light to their lives
Archbishop of Canterbury 1006-1012
Winning Competition Entry by Ms Reames