There’s a new feature at the western end of St Davids Cathedral.
Clergy and staff have laid out a labyrinth – a modern take on a tradition that dates back to the fourth century – as part of their ministry of welcome to pilgrims.
“Pilgrimage has become an increasingly popular spiritual practice’ said the Dean, the Very Revd Dr Sarah Rowland Jones.
“Many visitors come as pilgrims, and walking the labyrinth prayerfully is a good way to mark their arrival.
“They can reflect on life’s journey, both inner and outer, as they walk towards the centre. This is the place that symbolises God as being at the heart of all things, our ultimate goal and destination. Walking outwards, we can meditate on how we go forwards into the future, our lives shaped by being centred on Jesus Christ who continues to call us to follow him.”
It was in 324 AD that Christians laid out the first church labyrinth on the floor of the Basilica of St Reparata in Algeria. It was later moved to Algiers Cathedral, where it remains to this day.
For novices, the cathedral provides a guide offering suggestions for how to make the most of the experience:
A labyrinth can be a meditative walk, spiritual pilgrimage, or healing journey. As you begin, open your heart and mind to God’s loving presence.
Follow the single path silently, at your own pace, perhaps pondering how life has brought you where you are. If you meet others, just let them pass.
The centre is a place to pray or reflect, and pause as long as you wish.
Return when you are ready, following the same path out, perhaps reflecting on life’s journey before you.
Your word is a light to my feet and a lamp to my path (Psalm 119)