…Come together in this countryside, where so much has lately gone undone,
Come armed with wisdom and intelligence, together we shall utter the words of truth,
which heaven’s saints are wont to hear and they will come down amongst us…
…We are now clambering back into Wen’s low slung car. “I have much higher hopes of the next one.”
“The Virgin of the Ridge… Twelfth-century construction or earlier… presence of wall paintings…”
“Sounds promising. The presence of wall paintings seems to be particularly germane, don’t you think?”
If the church sounded promising, it looks even more so when we catch our first glimpse of it, when cresting a rise in what appears to be the forested heart of the whole area.
The Virgin of the Grove perhaps… and on closer inspection, it does indeed stand upon an idyllic spot, another raised mound surrounded by trees and fair bristling with bird song.
With a growing sense of expectation, I once more take up my role as opener and hasten into the porch. The door yields and swings inward to reveal the first of the wall paintings, which is… a scroll?
“Oh dear, someone’s obliterated the wall painting with a scroll, with a number of scrolls in fact… The tree over the arch is quite nice… but it is still… ”
“…part of a scroll. Oh Don, I had such high hopes for this place.”
“I know, me too. What are the colour readings like?”
Wen consults her camera, “There are traces of blue light, particularly in the nave area, but they are only very and I mean very faint traces…”
“Where there’s life and all that.”
Wen has now moved into the centre of the church. ”I can feel a definite energy transfer here. It moves from hot to cold quite radically. ”
“It is odd to have the tower in such a position in the church.”
“They’ve obviously added a bit at a later date. I would say that the warm bit is original and then they’ve added the altar space and completely messed up the energies of the place.”
We move into the altar space. “That is an impressive enough window, though,” I say, admiring the Shepherd of Souls. There are a number of screens arranged around the walls depicting scenes from the ‘Stations of the Cross.’ I can see Wen eyeing them distastefully. “Well, we are still at the back end of Easter, but I know what you mean. It has never really sat particularly well with me either. This obsession with the crucifixion to the exclusion of all else… it’s akin to bad news television.”
“And yet… it is not so much different than celebrating the beheading of saints. I mean, the paintings on the wall of Our Blue Chapel in all their original glory would have been, well, quite gory really… but that doesn’t seem to bother me the same, I don’t know why.”
Wen sighs, “How long have you got?”
“As long as you like, but let’s go outside.”
We reconvene on a bench in the churchyard of what, despite our various disappointments, are still idyllic settings for a church.
“Actually, it won’t take that long really. I think I can answer that question in one sentence.”
“Answer that question.”
“Anyone can become a Saint but no one else can be Christ.”
“You’re right, that is a sentence. I can hear the prison doors clanging shut.”