Tuesday, 31 July 2012

2012 Pilgrimage to Ilam – 4th August

On the first Saturday of August we make our annual pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Bertram in
Ilam, together with members of other visiting parishes.
In the editors time with the parish, we have always been blessed with beautiful sunshine to bake
us on our afternoon trek
to the well, and it is
always slightly
disappointing to
remember that we have
already begun our
Dormition Fast – so the
ice-cream van which is
always so temptingly
parked in the centre of the
village is out of bounds!
There is no need to
remind regulars of the
story of Saint Bertram –
Hermit of the Mercian
Woods – but some may
not know that Saint
Bertram was a significant
figure in establishing our
Orthodox community back in
1996. The community had assembled some years before, worshipping first in Fr Samuel’s front
room – complete with an iconostasis – and later in a nearby Anglican church; but from the
beginning, members had wanted to have their own church. It was suggested early on that Father
Samuel find a local saint and ask for their prayers.
Through the prayers of Saint Bertram, the community
was led to the little chapel in Audley.
Each year the Parish of Saint Michael visits the Shrine
of Saint Bertram not only in celebration of his Feast
(which is celebrated on 10th August) but also in
In the village of Barthomley near Audley, the church
of Saint Bertoline (an alternative spelling of Bertram)
had in its possession three large stones. Tradition says
that Bertram in being tempted by the devil to turn
stones into bread had refused – and turned his bread
to stone instead.
One of these stones was donated to Saint Michael’s
Church and can now be seen there.
In return, an icon of Saint Bertram was given to Saint
Bertoline’s Church where it is placed on a side altar.