Great Pilgrimage Sites of Europe
by Derry Brabbs
This gorgeously photographed title provides readers with a fantastic opportunity for arm chair travel. Visit pilgrimage sites throughout Europe. Religious locations are featured from Britain, France, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Finland and Slovakia, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Italy, and Spain and Portugal. Enjoy revisiting places that may be familiar while also traveling to those that are new. Will you be inspired to take a pilgrimage of your own (post covid)?
Note: I very much enjoyed looking at the photos in this title. However, some of the text was not in English. I so wish that it was! For this reason my rating is three stars. If I could read the book, my rating would be higher.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.
Great Pilgrimage Sites of Europe
By its very nature, a pilgrimage is a journey. And of course every journey has a destination. However, times have moved on and many of those undertaking a twenty-first-century pilgrimage will likely not be in the same mindset as their medieval counterparts. Only by standing in the nave of one of the great Romanesque or Gothic cathedrals associated with a pilgrimage to a once-venerated shrine can one appreciate the sheer power of the combination of faith, love and fear that was the basis of medieval Christianity. Such churches and cathedrals were the physical manifestation of those elements, but it was the deeper spiritual beliefs pertaining to the fate of a human soul when parted from its mortal body that created the cult of relics and the phenomenon of pilgrimage.
The Sancta Sanctorum is set in front of the Archbasilica of St John Lateran in Rome. It hosts the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs), the marble steps from Pilate’s palace that were ascended by Jesus Christ during his Passion.
|NORWAY | RINGEBU STAVE CHURCH | Ringebu, Innlandet Christianity was slow to reach Norway. Although missionaries had made numerous attempts to persuade the hitherto pagan country that there were many benefits to be derived from being in the ‘family’, scepticism prevailed over Catholicism and religion did not really gain a serious foothold until around the end of the tenth century. From that time until the mid-sixteenth-century Reformation, approximately 1,000 stave churches were built, of which only twenty-eight now remain. Ringebu dates from 1220 and although it has been significantly altered over time the nave of the original church survives. In 1717, the interior was partially painted, but it was later totally covered in white, an aesthetic travesty not corrected until major restoration works in 1921.||ITALY | THE BASILICA OF ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI | Assisi, Umbria Regardless of which mode of transport one uses to reach a pilgrimage destination, there is nothing more satisfying than having that ultimate goal in full view during the final few kilometres. For those travelling on foot, that final stage in our twenty-first-century world may involve trudging through urban sprawl and diesel fumes to reach journey’s end in a city’s medieval core. Rest assured, Assisi is pilgrimage perfect!||SPAIN | SANCTUARY OF OUR LADY OF EL ROCIO | El Rocio, Huelva El Rocio’s pilgrimage-related history can be traced back to the thirteenth century, and the discovery of the Virgin’s statue by a local hunter. The icon was hidden in a tree trunk and a small chapel was soon erected to preserve the image. Although awareness was initially contained to a local level, rumours of miracles pertaining to both physical and mental well-being began spreading farther afield. By the seventeenth century, church brotherhoods from nearby towns began making the journey to El Rocio, and thereafter its popularity and reputation gradually spread outwards into the wider reaches of Andalucía. Some two centuries later, it was well established as an essential spiritual and social pilgrimage lasting up to two weeks.|
SWITZERLAND | EINSIEDELN ABBEY
The view down on to the monastery and abbey church of Einsiedeln from St Benedict’s statue on the hillside above clearly portrays the impressive scale and pure symmetry of the buildings.