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Saturday, 2 March 2013

Bixley: St Wandregesilius– a revival?

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REMEMBER St Wandregesilius? The gutted church in the hamlet of Bixley which I visited last October. Destroyed by arsonists in 2004 and almost untouched ever since, I said it was the saddest and most unloved place I’d ever been to in Norfolk.  Well I stand by “saddest”, but perhaps I was wrong about “unloved”. Here’s a comment posted on the blog soon afterwards by Mark Tatum-Smith from the Orthodox Church of the Joy of All Who Suffer at Mettingham in the Waveney Valley:

Hello Steve, I just came across your blog post now and share your sense that Bixley is a hallowed and special place. You may be interested to learn, however, that our church has established a clear historical link with this ancient shrine, and that just over a year ago we commissioned a new ikon of St Wandregesilius, translated the life from the French edition as well as composing a canon (series of hymns) in his honour.

You can read the full document here. In essence the church has traced a link between Mettingham (through its ancient castle) and Bixley. Today’s trustees in Mettingham see St W as “an inspiring and holy saint, as relevant for us today as he was for our ancestors in earlier times.” 

They continue: “Whilst St Wandregesilius was never able to fulfil his wish to make a pilgrimage to the British Isles, the trustees hope that the publication of this Life and the painting of a new ikon of him will spiritually bring this Saint of God back to this area where his relics and holy memory were once so honoured.”

Intriguing. Who knows what that might mean for the Bixley church in the long term.

* See the first article here.

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