Maundy Thusday

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

MAUNDY THUSDAY

Date: 25th April 2011

MAUNDY THURSDAY

I had the privilege of being one of the twelve recipients of the ‘foot washing’ ceremony performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and found the experience rather humbling. Dr. Williams began the washing of feet at the other end of the semi-circle and I felt a lump in my throat seeing the Head of the Anglican Church so humbling himself.

I am not confirmed therefore do not usually attend Eucharist services so the Maundy Thursday Sung Eucharist was a first for me. I hadn’t realised how ‘High Church’ are the services at Canterbury Cathedral, and with memories of my Catholic schooldays, I felt quite at home with all the incense and the plainsong.

There was an invitation for ‘non communicants’ to receive a blessing and as the young lady next to me was not confirmed either (although she was to be baptised and confirmed on Easter Saturday evening) I felt comfortable going to the altar and receiving a blessing at the hands of the Archbishop.

As the end of the service approached, the lights were gradually extinguished until after the Gethsemane Narration read by the Dean, the Cathedral was in total darkness for some minutes. A few lights came on to enable us to leave the Church or to go to the Crypt for a vigil.

Walking back to the Car Park, I felt a sense of peace rudely interrupted by groups of rowdy youths shouting and behaving badly. Stopping to fill the car with ‘liquid gold’ again I was astounded at the antics of two young women just across the road from the garage. Am I just becoming an old ‘fuddy duddy’! So many of the youth of today appear to have no sense of decorum, shame, or respect either for themselves or anyone else.

I commence my Assistant Guide duties in a few weeks’ time. Apparently they are desperate for volunteers to work at weekends, so with no family or other weekend commitments, I’ve agreed to do my shifts on a Sunday and hope there will be many visitors asking interesting questions. I don’t think you can ever stop learning all there is to know about Canterbury Cathedral and am currently reading ‘The Quest for Becket’s Bones’ an excellent book by Professor John Butler. The argument has raged for centuries over whether Becket’s Bones were burned as decreed by Henry V111 or whether the monks transposed other remains and moved those of Becket to a safe place before the desecration of his shrine.

I love a good mystery and Professor Butler has written a highly readable story – making it as accessible to the layman as he did when he gave us his lecture on stained glass. The story has even more significance for me because there is a school of thought which places Becket’s Bones in the oddly plain tomb of Cardinal Chatillon – Odet de Coligny. He was a Catholic Cardinal who espoused the cause of the Huguenots and came to England in 1568 possibly to enlist the help of Elizabeth 1 in the Huguenot cause. Indeed it was Elizabeth who gave to the Huguenots as their own chapel, the chantry of the Black Prince. It has remained so to this day and though it is part of the Cathedral, it is the property of the Huguenots.

Odet de Coligny died – some say he was murdered – in 1571 in Canterbury and, anticipating that his relatives would reclaim his mortal remains, he was hastily interred in a temporary coffin which was later encased in a protective shell of plaster and hessian. And there his very plain tomb – oddly placed between two pillars and close to Becket’s Shrine – remains to this day.

Other suggestions are that Becket’s Bones lie in a grave in the Eastern Crypt close to where his remains rested from his murder in 1170 until the translation of his remains in 1220 to the magnificent shrine ‘upstairs’ in the newly built Trinity Chapel.

Becket’s Bones is now out of print but if you are interested, you are sure to pick up a copy second hand somewhere on the Internet. Professor Butler has a highly readable style and suffice it to say that I abandoned a novel by Claire Francis to make Becket’s Bones my bedtime reading.

Hope you all had a Happy and Peaceful Easter. We’ve had the most fantastic weather but I steeled myself to stay indoors and continue sorting photos from the last 50 years of my life!!!!! I know no-one will be interested when I’m gone, but the albums will make for wonderful memories for me and indeed they have brought back memories, happy, sad and recalled events I’d long since forgotten.

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