Sunday 11 January 2009

Baptism of Our Lord and Blessing of the Thames

Ok, so this is the updated post about Sunday's Mass for the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, which was followed by the traditional procession to and blessing of the river Thames. These photos were taken under duress by one of the choir from the organ loft, and such they are not very clear. Still, they give a rough idea of what went on and how.

More servers appear from the space behind the pulpit....


Canon of the Mass...

After Mass, a procession was formed lead by an Acolyte holding an Icon of the Baptism. In fact, the ceremony of Blessing the Thames, which happens on London Bridge every year on this feast day, has its origins in the Eastern Orthodox custom of blessing a body of water by throwing a cross into it.

The procession from S. Magnus leaves the church. You may recognise the clergy present. Fr. Simon Morris was very kind to break short his holiday in order to help us, my thanks to him. Fr. Martin Hislop of S. Luke's, Kingston also kindly joined us.

The procession leaves the filthy underpass that takes one up to London Bridge, birettas braced against the winds. The Parish boundary of S. Magnus the Martyr lies exactly half-way across London Bridge, where it meets the boundary of the Diocese of Southwark. It is therefore our tradition to meet the clergy and congregation of Southwark Cathedral for a short service of readings, prayers and blessings at this meeting point. Prayers were said for those who work on the river, and for those who have died on it or in it. Among those present was a survivor of the Marchioness which sank nearby twenty years ago this summer, Master of the Company of Waterman & Lighterman Richard Goddard and Captain Duncan Glass of the Corporation of Trinity House.

The procession from the Southwark side included the Masters of the Glaziers and the Launderers, whose livery halls are on the Southwark bank, and Timothy West and Prunella Scales who were part of the cathedral congregation.

The Bishop of Woolwich sprinkles the faithful with Holy Water

Hospitality is shared between the two year by year and this year, the congregation of S. Magnus were guests at the Cathedral, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch in the Library.
My personal thanks to those who assisted at the Liturgy, and to the clergy and staff of Southwark Cathedral for their warm welcome.

1 comment:

  1. What a glorious church! They just don't make 'em like that over here. (I wandered over from Thom's place, and have been enjoying your photos.)

    I wish the Blessing of the Waters was a more common practice in Anglicanism...