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In search of St Magnus - Philip and Sheila Morris

It is good to be joining with Philip and Sheila again on our Friday day out /pilgrimage. I know how many of you do enjoy these days and this week after what feels like a pretty heavy going week it will be a breath and well deserved exploring time. Thank you so much again Sheila and Philip.

"Today is the festival day of St Magnus, the patron saint of the Orkney Islands, and so in the video we go in search of St Magnus. Our journey starts on the remote island of Egilsay (population 28) - a 'request stop' on the inter island ferries (we just hoped the boat men would remember to pick us up on their way back), where we discover the little church of St Magnus and the memorial stone commemorating his martyrdom on 16th April 1116. There Sheila reads the account of the martyrdom of Magnus from the Orkneyinga Saga - a moving experience. We return to the west side of the main island of Orkney, to Birsay, to where Magnus' body was carried and buried. As a result of people's prayers at Magnus' grave, miracles began to happen, and Magnus' bones were then transferred to the Cathedral at Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney.

So we visit what is now St Magnus' Cathedral, built by craftsmen who had worked on Durham Cathedral, and see where St Magnus' bones remain to this day. While we were there, concerts were being held all over the islands for the Orkney Folk Festival, so we finish with part of the performance by the Orkney Traditional Music Project in the Cathedral. We actually won tickets to the opening concert at Stromness Town Hall, which was quite an occasion!"

It all sounds great - thanks

This was most interesting and pretty brutal a death of St Magnus. Thank you for the trip and everything we have gained from it. The music was rather lovely too.

For those who enjoy walking you might like to know about the St Magnus way pilgrimage route of 58 miles and inspired about the life and wandering of St Magnus both dead and alive. The route has varied walking almost a bit of everything so should be good and varied.

Words on the St Magnus Way one part

Journey to Egilsay, Tuesday 3 November Yvonne Gray ( work in progress)

The ferry forges on for Egilsay –

Church island of the Celts

or to the Norsemen

the island of Egil.

Farm land.

A stronghold.

A Bishop’s estate.

A pilgrim island

with a kirk high on its ridge

seen for miles

across the bays and sounds.

A meeting point.

Neutral ground.

A place of hope

where hope died –

and where hope

grew green again.

The tut of the stonechat

The murmured doubt of the outcome.

The rasp of the corncrake.

Blade drawn.

The axe falls.

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