Deborah, Tam David and I are flying in the next few hours going to our house in Wales.
From St. Davids, the smallest British city, with one of the oldest and more dramatic Norman cathedrals of the country, this is our Christimas card to all of you.
Merry Christimas and very, very happy holidays!
David James, explains very well the beauty and traditions of this unique place:
Revered as one of the major places of pilgrimage in the Western world for over 1200 years, St Davids cathedral is situated in a sheltered valley close to the south-west tip of the Pembrokeshire coast in South Wales.
To see it for the first time is for many a wonder, standing as it does against a backdrop of open fields and countryside in such a rural setting.
The original monastery of Menevia, founded by St. David himself in the 6th century, has long disappeared.
It was pillaged several times by Viking raiders in its history.
The present cathedral was begun circa 1180 A.D., with additions over the centuries.
On March 1st. Pope Calixtus 11, (1119-24), canonised St. David, and declared that Two pilgrimages to Menevia were equal to one pilgrimage to Rome’, thus ensuring the Saint’s popularity with medieval pilgrims.
The shrine of the Saint remains in the cathedral to this day, in the beautiful and peaceful Trinity Chapel, the focal point for the Celtic pilgrim.
Visiting the cathedral at a quiet time of the day there is a very strong sense of ‘the old’, and it is easy to imagine the early and more basic structure of St.David’s monastery of Menevia being here prior to the present building.
The carved wooden suspended ceiling is the finest of its kind in existence, and the painted wooden ceiling and vaulting beneath the tower is truly magnificent.
Almost everything about this Celtic cathedral is unique, and it is hardly surprising that some people have described it as “the eighth wonder of the world”.
The shrine of St.David, behind the great altar, is a fine place to meditate, and add ones appreciation for the beauty and inspiration of this place, along with the thousands of pilgrims who have been here over the centuries.