Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Westminster Abbey: Memorial and Church

August 26, 2009 · No Comments

DSCN3032I was lucky enough today to witness both sides to the Westminster Abbey. This afternoon, I went on the guided tour with my classmates and was shown the innumerable amounts of graves and memorials to some of the most important figures in British history. To say that nearly every aspect of the abbey is extravagant would be a severe understatement. There is gold everywhere and every tomb of the royal family is detailed downto the square inch. If I learned anything on the tour, it was that the royalty spared no expense when it came to one of their own (Henry VIII apparently had over 55 estates throughout England). I can only imagine how many roads went unpaved and schools unbuilt in order to fund such opulent funerals. Perhaps it was just reluctance to rebel or just pure loyalty to the crown but it is astounding what the public has let royalty of not only England but of Europe, do over history. However, I do understand that the abbey is not only a testament to royalty, but to all the great British citizens. I was especially touched by the Grave of the Unknown Warrior and the near-royal treatment it received being buried in Westminster Abby. There is certainly more than enough to be proud of in the chapels of Westminster Abby.

Modern Martyrs

Modern Martyrs

Only a few hours later, I attended Evening Prayer at the chapel. One would think that one of the greatest churches in London would perhaps hold more appeal, but as it turned 5 o’clock, there were seats to spare in the back. In its progression to a more secular society, the British have transformed these incredible churches into mere spectacles. My guess is that St. Paul’s Cathedral, the other famous church in London, like Westminster receives most of its participants in prayer from tourists. Although there is nothing particularly wrong with it, it’s still amusing to see what these grand testaments to God have turned into: yet another photo opportunity.

Categories: Paul · Uncategorized

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