Friday, May 19, 2017

The Ascension, the Priestliness of Jesus, and the work of Margaret Barker



Since my teenage years I have had an interest in how the Old Testament forms the backdrop to the New Testament, and in particular how the New Testament authors use Old Testament passages and symbols. My observations led me to embrace a basically typological approach to the OT at a time when most friends - both "conservative" and "liberal" - were pursuing debates about the OT from a purely historical/critical angle. Among my guidebooks back then were the works of Anglican writers Austin Farrer and Gabriel Herbert. Although typology can give rise to unrestrained and subjective allegorisation, I have always thought that a failure to embrace a balanced typological hermeneutic results at best in a sidelining of the OT except as "historical background", and at worst (as Aidan Nichols points out in his book "Lovely Like Jerusalem") in our becoming modern Marcionites

The connection of OT typology with the development of Christian worship seemed obvious to me as a young man formed by highly liturgical Anglo-Catholicism, a growing acquaintance with the Church Fathers, and those parts of the 1960s & 70s charismatic renewal emphasising the worship of the community as somehow part of our "offering" to the Father through Jesus our great High Priest.


In recent years there has been a revival of scholarly interest in these themes across the Christian traditions. One of the most significant contributors is Margaret Barker, a Cambridge theologian (and Methodist), whose work has been very widely acknowledged. A number of her essays are online. Visit her home page HERE. In July 2008 Margaret Barker was awarded a DD by the Archbishop of Canterbury "in recognition of her work on the Jerusalem Temple and the origins of Christian Liturgy, which has made a significantly new contribution to our understanding of the New Testament and opened up important fields for research."

I think that her book The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy should be required reading for all thoughtful Christians!

I mention this in the lead-up to Ascension Day, because I want to share with you a key passage from Margaret Barker's book which shows how central the Ascension was to the early Christians. (It also vindicates all those teachers, theologians and hymn-writers in the Anglo-Catholic tradition who have emphasized the Ascension as primarily a celebration of the Lord's high-priestly ministry.)

So, from pages 221 - 222 of The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy:


Only the high priest was permitted to pass through the veil and to stand before the throne or, in the desert tradition, before the ark, and he was only permitted to do this once a year on the Day of Atonement. The words of Leviticus 16:2 could imply that at an earlier period, the high priest had entered more frequently: “Tell your brother Aaron not to come at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the mercy seat which is upon the ark, lest he die.” Entering the holy of holies was a terrifying experience, because the LORD appeared to the high priest “in the cloud upon the kapporet”. Before making the blood offering, the high priest took incense into the holy of holies, and this seems to have been a protection for him. “Put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the kapporet which is upon the testimony, lest he die” (Lev. 16:13). In later texts, the high priest carries a “fire pan” in to the holy of holies and places it before the ark. Then he puts the incense on to the charcoal, and fills the holy of hollies with smoke (m. Yoma 5:1). Other texts, however, imply that there was a golden altar, within the veil of the temple. The Letter to the Hebrews is clear; in the holy of holies stood the ark and the golden altar of incense (Heb. 9:3-4). The Hebrew text of 1 Kings 6:20 - 22, however, is not so clear, but could have described a golden altar within the veil. Unfortunately, the line, “He covered with gold the altar that belonged to the holy of holies” (1 Kgs. 6:22) does not appear in the LXX, and the text of v. 20 is disordered. The Vulgate, which is quite clear that there was an altar within the veil, was translated at the end of the fourth century CE by Jerome, who would have known the Letter to the Hebrews and thus would have read the ambiguities of 1 Kings 6:20 in the light of the later Christian text. However the incense was actually offered, the tradition is clear that the high priest needed the incense as protection when he entered the holy of holies, and that the incense used in the holy of holies was a special blend. It was deemed “most holy”, and anyone who used that blend outside the holy of holies was “cut off from his people” (Exod. 30:34-38).


Entering the holy of holies with a cloud of incense is the temple reality that underlies the visions of the human figure entering heaven with clouds or of the LORD appearing in clouds upon the throne. Thus did Isaiah describe his call to prophesy: he saw the LORD enthroned in the temple, between the six-winged seraphim, and the house was filled with smoke (Isa. 6:1 - 4). Daniel saw a human figure “one like a son of man” coming with clouds of heaven to the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:13). When Luke described the Ascension he said that Jesus was “lifted up, and a cloud took him” (Acts 1:9). Jesus was passing beyond the veil, beyond the constraints of time and place. The men in white said that he would return in the same way. John introduced the Book of Revelation with the assurance, “He is coming with the clouds” (Rev. 1:7), and John was granted his own vision of the LORD’s return, which he recorded as the Mighty Angel coming from heaven wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head (Rev.10:1). Entering the holy of holies was entering heaven. And so these visions of a human figure going or coming with clouds must be understood in the temple setting of the high priest entering the holy of holies on the Day of Atonement.

Peter’s sermon in Solomon’s Portico shows that this was indeed how the early Church understood the departure of Jesus. He had gone to heaven as the great high priest, and would emerge again at the appointed time, that is, to bring renewal from the presence of the LORD. This is exactly what happened on the Day of Atonement, sin was judged and the earth was then cleansed and healed for the New Year. Hence Peter’s warning: “Repent, that your sins may he blotted out” (Acts 3:19 - 21). What had been ritualized annually in the Day of Atonement was happening in their own times through the self sacrifice of the great high priest Jesus. Jesus had passed through the veil into eternity; he was outside time and matter and so had passed into the eternal present, no longer limited by the particular time and place of first-century Palestine. This is the context, too, of the words in the “high-priestly prayer” in John 17. Jesus knew that he was about to pass through the veil, that he was returning to Day One, i.e. beyond and “before” the creation. Thus: “Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory I had with thee before the world was made” (John 17:5).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

. . . All of which is why we should be still singing these hymns from our own tradition:

Alleluya, sing to Jesus,
His the sceptre, his the throne;
Alleluya, his the triumph,
His the victory alone:
Hark the songs of peaceful Sion
Thunder like a mighty flood;
Jesus, out of every nation,
Hath redeemed us by his Blood.

Alleluya, not as orphans
Are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluya, he is near us,
Faith believes, nor questions how;
Though the cloud from sight received him
When the forty days were o’er,
Shall our hearts forget his promise,
‘I am with you evermore’?

Alleluya, Bread of angels,
Thou on earth our Food, our Stay;
Alleluya, here the sinful
Flee to thee from day to day;
Intercessor, Friend of sinners,
Earth’s Redeemer, plead for me,
Where the songs of all the sinless
Sweep across the crystal sea.

Alleluya, King eternal,
Thee the Lord of lords we own;
Alleluya, born of Mary,
Earth thy footstool, Heaven thy throne:
Thou within the veil hast entered,
Robed in flesh, our great High Priest;
Thou on earth both Priest and Victim
In the Eucharistic Feast.

William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Once, only once, and once for all,
his precious life he gave;
before the cross in faith we fall,
and own it strong to save.

“One offering, single and complete,”
with lips and hearts we say;
but what he never can repeat
he shows forth day by day.

For as the priest of Aaron’s line
within the holiest stood,
and sprinkled all the mercy shrine
with sacrificial blood;

So he, who once atonement wrought,
our Priest of endless power,
presents himself for those he bought
in that dark noontide hour.

His manhood pleads where now it lives
on heaven’s eternal throne,
and where in mystic rite he gives
its presence to his own.

And so we show thy death, O Lord,
till thou again appear,
and feel, when we approach thy board,
we have an altar here.

William Bright (1824-1901)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Now upon the golden altar,
In the midst before the throne,
Incense of his intercession
He is offering for his own.
And on earth at all his altars
His true presence we adore,
And his sacrifice is pleaded,
Yea, till time shall be no more.
Alleluia, Alleluia
To th’incarnate Son of God,
Who, abiding Priest forever,
Still imparts his flesh and blood.

Then, adored in highest Heaven,
We shall see the virgin’s Son,
All creation bowed before him,
Man upon th’eternal throne:
Where, like sound of many waters
In one ever rising flood,
Myriad voices hymn his triumph,
Victim, Priest, incarnate God.
Worthy he all praise and blessing
Who, by dying, death o’ercame;
Glory be to God forever!
Alleluia to the Lamb!

Ernest Edward Dugmore  (1843-1925)

Monday, May 1, 2017

For Mary's Month of May - a Sermon of Fr Ignatius



The image of Our Lady at Capel-y-ffin
at the site of the apparitions in 1880

One of the most amazing figures of the Victorian age was the Rev’d Joseph Leycester Lyne (1837-1908), who as a young deacon served successively Fathers Prynne and Lowder, leaders in the Catholic Revival. He then became known as “Father Ignatius”, a monk-evangelist who sought to restore the religious life in the Church of England. He was a wildly eccentric man and his detractors were (and still are) many. But he was a great evangelist. The “ordinary people” heard him gladly. He drew huge crowds up and down Britain and throughout the USA, preaching mainly in secular buildings, and many responded to the Lord through his ministry. He established a monastery at Capel-y-ffin near Llanthony in the Black Mountains of Wales. It was here that there were apparitions of Our Lady in 1880. It is said that reports of miracles, like controversy, always surrounded him. His order died when he died.

The ruins of his chapel at Capel-y-ffin remain, and many pilgrims, myself included, have found it to be a spiritually powerful and evocative place.

Father Ignatius was a robust Anglican Catholic. But his fans included evangelical protestants as well. Indeed, he was an encourager of those leading the Welsh Revival of 1904. So, it is good to know that there is now an annual pilgrimage to Capel-y-finn which draws Christians of different traditions to honour Ignatius and to seek Our Lady’s prayers. For information on this, click HERE.

Through the first half of the twentieth century, a wide range of Christians liked to sing his best-known devotional hymn:

Let me come closer to thee, Lord Jesus,
Oh, closer day by day;
Let me lean harder on thee, Lord Jesus,
Yes, harder, all the way.

Let me show forth thy beauty, Lord Jesus,
Like sunshine on the hills;
Oh, let my lips pour forth all thy sweetness
In joyous sparkling rills.

Yes, like a channel, precious Lord Jesus,
Make me and let me be;
Keep me and use me daily, Lord Jesus,
For thee, for only thee.

In all my heart and will, O Lord Jesus,
Be altogether king;
Make me a loyal subject, Lord Jesus,
To thee in everything.

Thirsting and hungering for thee, Lord Jesus,
With blessed hunger here.
Longing for New Jerusalem’s fullness-
No thirst, no hunger there.

Gladstone said that Father Ignatius was one of the greatest orators of his day. The leading atheist of the day, Charles Bradlaugh, said that he was the only man whose influence he feared upon his (i.e. Bradlaugh's) followers. Father Ignatius’ motto ‘Jesus Only’ symbolised his simple, direct message.

In his 1933 history of the Catholic revival, Desmond Morse-Boycott, while not overlooking the eccentricities, weaknesses and failures of Father Ignatius, echoes the feeling of many when he says of him and his rocky relationship with the Church of England: 

“A fool like St Francis, a hero like St Benedict, a revivalist like Moody, a lover of souls like General Booth, an ascetic like St Anthony the hermit, an orator as golden as Lacordaire, and as simple as a child, of whom his Church was unworthy. Alas! She is awkward in her handling of saints.”

Last year saw the publication of Hugh Allen’s meticulously researched New Llanthony Abbey: Father Ignatius’s Monastery at Capel-y-ffin which tells the story of the community from its origins in early 1860s East Anglia to its migration to Wales in 1870, its history through the following four decades (including the Apparitions of 1880), and its demise after the death of Father Ignatius. The later history of the monastery is outlined and brought up to date with information about the Father Ignatius Memorial Trust and the continuing appeal of New Llanthony as a place of pilgrimage. To purchase a copy of the book, click on the link to Amazon, or send a cheque for £20 (payable to R.W.H. Allen) to Hugh Allen, 3 St Peter’s Court, Tiverton, Devon EX16 6NZ (price includes postage and packing).

I cannot think of anything better to do at the start of Mary's Month of May than to share with you this sermon of Father Ignatius, preached during a mission at Westminster Town Hall in 1885:


MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS (Acts 1:14)

“Mary, the Mother of Jesus.” These few words go right into our hearts, because we are the people of God. Let me say them over again, because there is such a wonderful charm and such a wonderful power in them. “Mary, the Mother of Jesus.” What! Do you believe, and do I believe, that Jesus had a Mother?

Do you believe and do I believe that Jesus has a mother now at this very moment? We do believe it, and, at this very moment, while our blessed Lord Jesus is in our midst, and while we are now enjoying a sense of His presence, we believe that He has a Mother. If He had not we should all be damned for ever. Why?

Because it is the Blood of the Lamb that has saved us and there is no pardon except through the human blood of Jesus. If Jesus had no Mother He would have no blood! What an awful mystery is this!
.
LOVING OUR MOTHER
The greyest-bearded man listening to me now, has a mother either here or in the spirit-world; and most of us love our mothers; most of us love them with a love with which we never loved anyone else.

There is a peculiarity about the love for a mother which there is in no other love. It is nothing like the love of husband towards the wife. It is not the love which we have for a friend, or for any other relation.

The love of a mother is something that seems to be one of the initiatory mysteries of our existence. The very first sensation of our hearts was love for our mothers. We can almost recall the time when we could only just put our arms round our mother’s neck with tenderness giving her the first kiss.

My mother! There is no other relationship that touches the heart like the one expressed by these words! “My mother!” Of course I am not speaking now to those who, unhappily, have had very wicked mothers. Though, even then, there is something in the thought of “my mother” that would make it agonising to think anything that was bad of her.

Do I not recollect, myself, how proud I used to be of my mother? I did not think there was anybody in the world like my mother. And I am sure that is what Jesus thinks about His Mother, with His human heart; for He is very Man as well as very God. And Jesus knows one Being to whom He can look up and say, before the angels, before devils, before men, “ My Mother!”

There is to me, as a man, and as a Christian, a charm that is unutterable in the thought; “Mary, the Mother of Jesus!” Oh! to speak her name is, to me, such a bringing of Jesus to my heart, as man to man. If Mary be His Mother, I can realise that Jesus is my Brother.

He has the flesh and blood and bones of man though He be God of Heaven! “He came down from Heaven, and was Incarnate, by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”

“Mary, the Mother of Jesus!”

Why, if anyone pointed out to me the mother of a very great statesman, or the mother of a very great orator, or philanthropist, I should feel a kind of reverence for the woman for her son’s sake. Supposing, when the Duke of Wellington came back from the wars, during which he had sustained the honour of the British Empire, and in which he had, a thousand times, risked his life, for dear Old England, supposing, when he came back from the last of his wars, that the first person whom he had met was his mother: do you not think that the people would have said: “Look, that is the mother of Wellington”? And they would at once have made way to let the mother pass to her son’s side.

A SPECIAL MOTHERHOOD
But she was not half so much the mother of Wellington as Mary was the Mother of Jesus. Mary is the Mother of Jesus in a far deeper, intenser sense. Jesus had no human father. Mary was the centre connecting Jesus with humanity. When Jesus thinks of Mary, there His thoughts must rest; for Mary is the beginning and the end of His humanity.

I cannot give utterance to one-millionth part of the feelings, in my own heart, when I think of Mary, the Mother of Jesus’, and it does not seem to me to matter, one single iota, what people say to me about this, for I feel that I have Jesus on my side; and that I have the Father on my side, Who, from all eternity, elected Mary to be the Mother mystic of His Son Incarnate.

The words “Mary, the Mother of Jesus” have a sound that makes me feel quite at home with God, because God, through Mary, became very Man.

Do you not all feel this? Are there any listening to me who think that I am exaggerating? If so, let me just refer them to one verse, in the 1st chapter of St. Luke, and let me ask them to listen to these words. They are in the 35th verse of St. Luke i, and it is a verse the like of which there is not, in all the Bible, for mystery tremendous, for marvel unutterable and ineffable.

THE HOLY SPIRIT
“And the angel answered and said unto her. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Nazareth was busy in the fields, for it was spring time; the corn was beginning to grow, the birds were singing in the trees, and the farmers and the labourers were hard at work preparing for the planting of the earth; all nature’s toil was going on its way; but, in a little cottage, on the hill, there was a mystery of eternity being enacted between the Archangel of Heaven and the lowly maiden Mary.

No eye but the eye of Mary saw the tremendous glow of the gleaming light, when the Archangel came to her and said: “Hail, thou that art highly favoured,” and told her that she was to be the Mother of the Son of God. Then Mary asked him: “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” And now listen to the Angel’s answer: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the Power of the Highest (that is of God the Father) shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy Thing Which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

My brethren, “the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee:” that is the Third Person. The Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: that is the First Person. “The Holy One born of thee” is the Second Person. There is the whole Trinity.

How awful, how blasphemous, if it be not true! ls it true? ls it true that Mary became the Mother of Jesus, by this tremendous and overwhelming revelation of mystery and truth? Is there, in existence, a Being who was the Mother of God the Son by the overshadowing of God the Father, and by the conception of the Holy Ghost?

It cannot be true!It is an utter impossibility!

Oh brethren, need I urge any argument to convince my present hearers that really and truly Mary became the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God, by the overshadowing of God the Father, and by the Holy Ghost coming upon her? No, because I know that you all believe it quite as much as I do. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is a mystery; but we do believe in this mystery of the New Testament; it is the foundation of all the other mysteries of Christianity, and they would be nothing but for this. Of course the outside world does not believe it; and a great many in the visible Church do not believe it either.

MOTHER OF GOD?
But if we do not believe in the miracle of the Mother of Christ we cannot not believe in the Divinity and in the Incarnation of Christ, nor in the Atonement of the Cross; for if the Blood that Jesus shed on the Cross was not that of the Son of God, it could not save us any more than any other blood.

We cannot prove it by argument; no logic can prove it; it cannot be proved by any other means than the Holy Ghost convincing the heart of the reality of this awful, and unutterable, mystery.

Of course if there be any individuals here who do not believe this mystery, my words must seem most blasphemous to them.

Can you feel how sweet it is to call Mary the Mother of God? I say I should not be a Christian if I could not believe that she was. What! God have a Mother! Certainly. And yet people, who call themselves Christians, scarcely acknowledge that Mary is the Mother of God.

Mary is not the Mother of God in the way in which my mother is my mother. She is not the mother of the Godhead. Mary is the Mother of the humanity of Him Who was God; of a Divine Person who, though He took human nature upon Him, was still very God. And this is a mystery that all must believe.

May I ask you, first of all, is it not tremendously necessary, in these evil days of rationalism and materialism, that we should be sound on this fundamental doctrine of our holy religion? Is it not necessary that we should know what we believe on this point, and why we believe it? Shall I, because I am afraid of the ridicule of an unbelieving world, say I do not believe that Christ is really God, and that Mary is only the Mother of a Divine person? Shall we say this? No; to settle the matter, we give the title to “Mary, the Mother of Jesus” of “Mother of God.”

And now, my brethren, consider how comfortable it is to be very clear on this point; because, when we are clear on this doctrine of Christ’s Mother, it brings Jesus so very close to us. We see Him, and we realise that He is our High Priest. If this mystery be not true, Christ is either not God or not man. If Mary be not the Mother of God, Christ is not God, and if Mary be not God’s Mother, God has never taken our nature and never redeemed us.

Therefore we cling to the truth that God so loved us that He came down from Heaven, took our nature upon Him, and bought His Church with His Own Blood. He so loved the Church that He gave Himself for it. Oh! my brothers and sisters in Jesus, this truth brings home to me so plainly that Jesus is the “Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” It makes me to realise that I may cast all my sorrows on Him, for once He bore our sorrows; once he was “in all points tempted like as we are.”

JESUS: HUMAN AND DIVINE
How could He have been tempted like we are if He had not become “very man?” God could not be tempted. Therefore He came down and was Incarnate, and “was made man,” that He might be able to “be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” When you, yourselves, are nearly overcome with grief, when tears stream down your cheeks, then comes the thought to you that He suffered, that “Jesus wept,” that Jesus was weary! Oh, what calm it brings to the soul to know that He is able “to be touched with the feeling of our infirmities” because He “was in all points tempted like as we are.” It makes life so different to go through it with Him on our side. He once was like us, because He was “very man,” “born of the Virgin Mary.”

HOW CAN WE NOT LOVE MARY?
My love for the Blessed Virgin is one of the chief things for which I have been persecuted for twenty years, and misrepresented, and for which I have had to suffer a very great deal. I was about to preach a mission in a church, where I should very much have liked to have gone; but, all at once, the clergyman drew back because of my great love for the “Mother of God.”

There are plenty of people in the Church of England who do not believe it right to love her; and if there be any such people here present, may I ask them: Do they think we can grieve our Lord by loving His Mother? Instead of loving her too much, I feel that I cannot love her enough.

Brethren, I ask you quietly to put this question to yourselves: is it pleasing to our Lord that His people’s hearts should dwell with love on the remembrance of His Mother, or is it not? My feeling is that the more we revere the Blessed Virgin Mary the more we please her Son.

If you were to go to Margate Cemetery, at the end of July, where my own darling mother’s mortal remains are lying, till Jesus comes and “the dead in Christ rise first,” you would see her grave covered with beautiful flowers. Pounds and pounds are lavished on my mother’s grave, and this by people who have never seen her, but they have a love for her for my sake; and they will spend money on her grave, for my sake, out of gratitude for what I have done for their souls. And for Jesus’ sake we do honour to the memory of the Mother of Jesus.

It is for Jesus Only that I love the Virgin Mary. She would be no more than any other woman to me if she were not His Mother. Therefore, all the glory that I pay to Mary is for love of her Son; and I am sorry that anybody should think this wrong.

NO DEAD SAINTS
The next point is “praying to the Virgin.”

You ask your wife to pray for you, and you teach your child to pray for you, and in the same way I can understand our asking the prayers of those who are departed. I do not believe in asking the prayers of dead saints; but I never heard of a dead saint! I do not believe in dead saints. I believe that Jesus lives; and because He lives they live also; and that is the reason why we ask their prayers. I believe that they are “alive for evermore.”

The Bible says of the departed, “We are compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses.” While we are “running the race” they are the witnesses looking on. So that when a person speaks of “dead saints” and says that they cannot hear, he has no authority for his assertions from the Word of God.

So, my brethren, I not only believe that it is not wrong, but that it is right, and very helpful, to ask the prayers of my fellow-believers; and you will have to prove to me that the Blessed Virgin is not among the Living “Cloud of Witnesses” before condemning me for asking the prayers of her who is our Lord’s Mother.

If you say: “where are we told in the Bible to give all this honour to the Virgin Mary?” I would answer that if Queen Victoria were to walk into this room now, should I sit still and say: “I am not going to rise, I shall not get up, I am not told anywhere to do so” when I see the Queen? No. I should rise instantly, as an Englishman, because I believe the Queen is the Lord’s Anointed over us in civil matters; and I should wish to show her every honour that I could. I should not require to be told to rise; and therefore all that I want to be told is that Mary is the Mother of Jesus, and nothing else; and I must give her the honour that is her due.

ALL GENERATIONS
There is the Mother of your Lord; treat her as you please, but, for myself, I say that the more I love my Lord and Saviour the more I shall reverence the Mother, whom “all generations are to call blessed.”

On the Cross Jesus said to His beloved disciple “Behold thy Mother” and in these words He speaks to me, “Behold thy Mother” and therefore I say: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me.”

Do not let prejudice cause us to misunderstand a simple thing like this.

And I ask you, before I conclude, does my love to the Blessed Virgin hinder me from enjoying Christ in His fulness? Do I mix up the mystery of the Virgin with the message of the Gospel to sinners? Certainly not; and I think that the more I love and reverence the Lord’s Mother, the more I realise what her Son is, and the more I long to proclaim what He is to a world that is “dead in trespasses and sins.”
__________________________________________________

Here are two more photos taken at the monastery built by Father Ignatius. The first shows the ruins of the chapel (with the tomb of Fr Ignatius). The other one is a lovely welcome to those who pass by.


The Father Ignatius Memorial Trust was established in 1966, shortly before the centenary year of the founding of the monastery at Capel-y-ffin. It had the twin objectives of restoring what remained of the ruined church and tomb, and fostering its use as outdoor place of worship. Many volunteers have given their time and energy freely to preserve the structure. Damage caused by lightning and frost, as well as the indifferent quality of some of the original construction has presented severe problems over the years, and many reverses. It is hoped to enable public access once more to the tomb of Father Ignatius. Why not make a donation, or request the next Newsletter of the Father Ignatius Memorial Trust.