As part of our vision to pray for the whole of Ely through 2018, we have developed a set of prayer walks. Prayer Walk 6 covers a set of streets, many of which are named after followers of Jesus from previous generations. Here is a quick introduction to some of the people behind the street names, and a few thoughts on the legacy of their lives which endures into our current day.
St Dunstan (AD 909 – 988)
Dunstan was successively an abbot, a bishop and then Archbishop of Canterbury, and was later made a saint. Dunstan was responsible, along with Bishop Aethelwold, for the re-founding of Ely Monastery in AD 970 as a Benedictine monastery for men. This followed the earlier destruction of the original Ely Monastery in about AD 870 at the hands of the Danes. This first monastery had been founded by Queen Etheldreda in AD 673, who was a first-generation Christian during a period of time when Saxon England was gradually turning to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Dunstan as Archbishop of Canterbury, was responsible for the coronation of kings of England. Dunstan adapted the coronation ceremony to put emphasis on the bond between church and monarch; making the coronation a sacred act, emulating the ceremony of consecration for priests. Dunstan’s coronation ceremony still forms the basis of royal coronation today, including the coronation of our Queen Elizabeth, which in 1953 was broadcast live to millions of people around the world through the relatively new medium of Television. You can see the ‘Crowning’ part of the coronation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inKSvLk7kiI
Benedict of Norcia (AD 480 – 547) is most famous for establishing the monastic tradition named after him – Benedictine, and for his book “The Rule” a simple set of guidelines of how the life of a monk should be lived, which became one the most influential works in the western church. The following prayer is known as the Prayer of St Benedict:
Gracious and Holy Father,
Give us wisdom to perceive you,
intelligence to understand you,
diligence to see you,
patience to wait for you,
eyes to behold you,
a heart to meditate on you,
and a life to proclaim you,
through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ Our Lord,
A Prior is a leader in a monastic community, often “second in command” to an Abbot. At Ely, Prior Crauden was prior of Ely Monastery from 1321 – 1341. Crauden had a chapel built in the monastic grounds, known as Prior Crauden’s chapel. This beautiful and peaceful chapel still exists in the Cathedral grounds, and can be visited through arrangement with the staff at Ely Cathedral.
An Abbot is the overall leader of a monastic community. Ely had a number of Abbots over the centuries. In 1082, Abbot Simeon at the age of 89, commenced work on the current building of what we know as Ely Cathedral. He lived to be 100. What a vision for a person late in their years, to begin work on a building that would become such a magnificent place to gather and worship God.
St Andrews Way
You may know Saint Andrew as the patron saint of Scotland. Did you know he is also the patron saint for the nations of Barbados, Romania, Russia and Ukraine, along with a number of cities?
Andrew was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples and the brother of Peter. Both were fishermen by trade. Jesus famously told Andrew and Peter to leave their nets and he would make them “fishers of men”. The collect (a prayer) said on St Andrews Day (November 30th) is as follows: