Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ripon Cathedral Pre-Christmas Visit

I know I should have posted this last week, but things were challenging. A stomach bug has been going around the schools. J and L had it and chose alternating days to throw up. So I would have posted this for the Fourth Sunday of Advent. The spirit was willing but the stomachs were weak.

Ripon Cathedral was just gearing up for Christmas festivities, which included Lessons and Carols on the 23rd and 24th of December, the usual array of services for Christmas Day, and a procession from the Cathedral to Fountains Abbey on Boxing Day (which is December 26). The stomach bug kept us from attending any of these but hopefully next year we can do a few.

The main Christmas Tree

A side Christmas Tree

J went to visit his favorite part of the church, the crypt chapel. The crypt is the original Saxon church built by St. Wilfrid back in the 600s. It has a little window J loves looking through.

No stained glass back then

He went on to the choir section. He climbed up to look at the Bible in front of the lectern. He proceeded to give some prayers or a homily, I'm not sure which. He asked me to sit in the choir stalls while he did his thing. I had the opportunity to photograph some of the intricate and fascinating woodwork.

J at the lectern

Centaur with elephant carrying a turret!

Spooky monkey

Rabbit chased by griffin (said to be an inspiration for Lewis Carrol's Alice stories)

Not sure if he's stealing the door or bringing it for installation

The organist started up but that did not phase J at all.

The organ as the choir sees it

After J finished, we went upstairs to the Treasury, where many of the sacred vessels and other valuables are kept.

Assorted sacred vessels

A larger assortment of smaller vessels

Other valuables include the cathedral's library. Many different books on theology and pastoral care are shelved within easy reach of small hands. Luckily, the children weren't too interested. Not enough pictures, I think. The treasury did have a fun spiral staircase down, which we could not descend though we did see the Nativity set waiting to come out.

Let our people go!

In addition to the extensive library, several archeological artifacts are kept here. The Ripon Jewel has an ale named after it. The ale isn't very good though it is offered at the cathedral's gift shop (but only in bottles to take away, not for consumption on the premises).

Click to enlarge

Roman era finds; click to enlarge

Saxon era belt strap; click to enlarge

We finished our visit to the cathedral with a visit to the gift shop, where we found a replacement Nativity Set since ours has been misshelved after the move. We're sure it's in the house somewhere. This new set is very kid-friendly and L has been playing with it.

Looks like the angel is putting the star on Jesus' head!

The wood figures are nice and sturdy and less destructible than others we have seen. I remember fondly playing with our childhood nativity set. Since I was fifth of six children, the nativity we had was a compilation of a few nativity sets. Some of the figures were much larger than others. We had a sheep that was as big as one of our oxes. And we had at least five kings. Not all of them had their noses, but a chipped nose isn't enough to get you thrown out of the collection. Ah, those were the days. Especially when the Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures would join in the action!

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