Images of Pilgrimage

Images of Pilgrimage

Author R D Crouse
Publisher DLT £14.99
Format hbk
ISBN 9781915412249

Father Robert Crouse was a scholarly teacher, preacher and contemplative who lived most of his life in Nova Scotia, dying in 2011. He was in great demand as a lecturer and this book presents six addresses on the theme of pilgrimage, exploring imagery of paradise and wilderness in classical writings, the scriptures, in Augustine and Dante. He concludes that all people have a fundamental desire to attain their true home; but only in Christianity do we discover that ‘paradise is here, in the wilderness’. Crouse’s writing is fluid and easy to read, but also intellectually challenging. He often quotes the original language of his texts and draws readily on classical, early Christian and medieval writers which may be unfamiliar to some. I found his section on Dante’s Divine Comedy (not a work I know well) absorbing, stirring a desire to read and know more. Images of Pilgrimage is like marmite – some will have no time for it, others will treasure it. Perhaps it should be read in small doses, prayerfully, with plenty of time to contemplate both meaning and application.

Reviewed by APRIL McINTYRE



A Very Byzantine Journey

A Very Byzantine Journey

Author J Richard Smith
Publisher Sacristy Press £14.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781789592160

This book records the author’s adventures when visiting some of the sites of the key events detailed in the Gospels, illustrated with icons portraying them. First come some brief comments on iconographic art, and on the ‘Cloth of Edessa’ and how it has influenced the depiction of the face of Jesus in icons. The travels then described include visits to Istanbul, Rome and Manopello (to see the cloth), Cairo (exile of the Holy Family), and key gospel-event sites in Palestine. For each site there is an accompanying icon illustration. The journeyings, which often involve hiking considerable distances across country, are described in great detail with explanations of ease or difficulties of travel and problems encountered along the way, which may be helpful to others wishing to undertake the same pilgrimages. There are also detailed descriptions of his companions and comments on hotels stayed in, meals eaten and incidental events. Though the author records his spiritual experiences at some of the sites, there is surprisingly little in the way of description of the sites themselves. This is very much an idiosyncratic personal journal.


Icons, Pilgrimage


Crossroad: A Pilgrimage of Unknowing

A Pilgrimage of Unknowing

Author Charles Moseley
Publisher DLT £20
Format hbk
ISBN 9781913657864

Whitby, Iona, Ely and Walsingham: these are just some of the sacred sites visited in a meandering pilgrimage by Charles Moseley, a retired academic whose lyrical account is marked by a deep learning, as he reflects on the history, both natural and spiritual, of the British Isles. There is a refreshing earthiness to the story, as the author faces the challenges of uncertain weather and terrain, enjoys his beer and sandwiches, or manages to keep on walking despite a painful hip. He is a gentle and genial guide to some of the most haunting and beautiful sites, hills, cliffs, coasts and river valleys steeped in the prayer of past generations. A lifetime’s reading and research is reflected in quotations and commentary from passages of scripture and poetry. He is a man of faith, his worship informed by an Anglo-Catholic spirituality, and a great lover of the countryside’s traditional ways. There are flashes of anger too, as he considers the past destruction of monasteries, the iconoclasm of the Reformation, and the present destruction of the environment. This is a charming book, to be enjoyed at leisure.




A Pilgrimage Around Wales

A Pilgrimage
Around Wales

Author Anne Hayward
Publisher yLolfa £8.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781784615291

The author, a Reader living in the Brecon Beacons, embarked on a three-month pilgrimage, carrying all her necessities in her rucksack including her camping equipment. She was supported by her husband bringing weekly supplies. Three themes in the book are woven into the chapters which summarise her many conversations along her journey – responses to her questions, factual snippets which set the historical context, and spiritual issues which crop up. The author takes in four ancient places of pilgrimage: Holywell, Bardsey Island, St David’s, and Llantwit Major. The book is fascinating and unusual in its style. Much preparation and research were put into the pilgrimage before one step was taken from her home. Striking up conversations with people in her journeys was a key part of her experience. Prayer also played a vital part. If a Reader is thinking of making a pilgrimage it could be well worth reading this book.



Advent, Nativity


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