03 June 2024

Daily prayer in Ordinary Time 2024:
26, 3 June 2024

Inside the chapel in Trinity College, Oxford, facing the Altar (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Patrick Comerford

The week began with the First Sunday after Trinity (2 June 2024), and the Feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated yesterday in the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Giles, Stony Stratford. Today, the calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship remembers the Martyrs of Uganda (1885-1887 and 1977).

In the week after Trinity Sunday, I illustrated my prayers and reflections with images and memories of six churches, chapels and monasteries in Greece I know that are dedicated to the Holy Trinity. I am continuing that theme this week with images from churches, chapels or cathedral in England that are dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

StonyLive!, a celebration of the cultural talent in and around Stony Stratford, began on Saturday and continues until next Sunday (9 June). There was a variety of cultural activities in venues around Stony Stratford at the weekend, with drama, music, comedy, art, dance and spoken word, and a Classic Car Show yesterday.

Later today, as part of the StonyLive! Programme, Carl Jackson, Director of Music at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, is giving an organ recital (12:45-1:30) at Saint Mary and Saint Giles. This is the centenary year of the Irish composer, Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924), and programme includes Stanford’s Celtica Sonata which ends with a movement based on Saint Patrick’s Breastplate. There is also music by Simon Preston, Florence Price and Louis Vierne’s ‘Carillon de Westminster’. Coffee and tea are being served beforehand, from 12 noon.

But, before today begins, I am taking some quiet time this morning to give thanks, for reflection, prayer and reading in these ways:

1, today’s Gospel reading;

2, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary;

3, the Collects and Post-Communion prayer of the day.

The chapel in Trinity College, Oxford … the college was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Mark 12: 1-12 (NRSVUE):

1 Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the winepress, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went away. 2 When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. 5 Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read this scripture:

‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11 this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?”

12 When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.

The tomb of Sir Thomas Pope in the chapel … Trinity College Oxford is the only college in Oxford or Cambridge to have the tomb of its founder (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

The Chapel, Trinity College, Oxford:

My photographs this morning are from Trinity College, Oxford. Its full or formal name is the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in the University of Oxford, of the foundation of Sir Thomas Pope (Knight). The college was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope, on the site of the former Durham College, home to Benedictine monks from Durham Cathedral.

Durham College was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Saint Cuthbert, and the Trinity, and Trinity College takes its name from the last part of this dedication.

The main entrance to Trinity College is on Broad Street, between Balliol College and Blackwell’s bookshop, and opposite Turl Street. The rear of the college backs onto Saint John’s College, and has entrances on both Saint Giles’ and Parks Road. As well as its four major quadrangles, the college also has a large lawn and gardens, including a small area of woodland. Despite its large physical size, the college is relatively small, with about 400 students.

Durham Quadrangle, the oldest part of Trinity College, occupies the site of the mediaeval Durham College, founded in the late 13th century as a house of studies for Benedictine monks from Durham Cathedral. Durham College closed in 1544 and the buildings were bought by Sir Thomas Pope.

The four sides of Durham Quadrangle incorporate the Chapel, the Hall, the Library and an accommodation block. The Old Library, built in 1417, is the only surviving part of the original Durham College buildings. An effigy of Sir Thomas Pope looks down into the Quadrangle from above the Hall entrance.

Pope was a successful lawyer during the reign of Henry VIII. He amassed a fortune during the Reformation through his work as treasurer of the Court of Augmentations, which handled the revenues of the dissolved monasteries, including that at Durham. Pope was a prominent civil servant to Queen Mary I, and he founded Trinity College as a training house for Catholic priests.

Pope was married twice but had no surviving children. He intended that he, his parents, and both his wives would always be remembered in the prayers of Trinity’s members. Pope and his two wives Margaret and Elizabeth are buried in a tomb at the top left-hand corner of the chapel.

The chapel is relatively modest in size compared with its Oxford counterparts. It was built in 1691-1694 to replace the mediaeval chapel of Durham College. It was designed by Henry Aldrich, with advice from Sir Christopher Wren. It was consecrated in 1694.

The magnificent chapel interior is the product of a collaboration between the woodcarver Grinling Gibboris, the Huguenot artist Pierre Berchet, and a skilled but unknown plaster sculptor. It was the first chapel in Oxford designed on purely classical principles, and is a masterpiece of English baroque. The architectural historian Sir Niklaus Pevsner called the chapel ‘one of the most perfect ensembles of the late 17th century in the whole country.’

Five different woods are used inside the chapel: walnut, oak, pear, lime, and Bermuda Cedar. The exquisite woodcarvings by Grinling Gibbons are among his finest work. This work includes intricately carved fruits and flowers in the panels between the chapel and ante chapel and in the limewood swags behind the altar. The carved gospel writers are perched above the screen and gaze upwards taking inspiration from the figure of Christ at the centre of Pierre Berchet’s painting in the ceiling of the Ascension.

Opposite Pope’s tomb is a concealed pew where once the college president’s wife could see the services and receive Holy Communion without being seen in an otherwise all-male college.

The only changes to the chapel since 1694 have been the addition of the organ loft and the stained glass. A fine window of Munich glass was inserted in the antechapel in 1870 as a memorial to the theologian Isaac Williams, and the remaining windows were filled in 1885 with figures of northern saints associated with Durham College.

The four statues on the Tower are attributed to Caius Cibber, and represent Geometry, Astronomy, Theology and Medicine.

After a year’s closure, Trinity’s Grade I listed chapel was opened again in April 2016 and, after a great deal of painstaking work, is once again resplendent in its refurbished glory. The chapel remains at the heart of college life. Services are held regularly in term, and Evensong is celebrated with the college choir at 6 pm on Sundays. The Revd Joshua Brocklesby, the College Chaplain and Fellow, was appointed in 2022. The chapel is open to members and visitors for prayer and reflection, and is used regularly for musical events. Members of the public are welcome at Evensong.

Trinity Monday is the most important feast day in the life of Trinity College Oxford ever since the foundation of the college. As part of this there is a special service of thanksgiving for the College's benefactors. This year the event and service was last Tuesday (28 May) to avoid the Bank Holiday the day before. There is a pre-tour Choral Recital in the chapel, with choral and organ music at 4 pm next Saturday (8 June) to help raise funds for the choir’s summer tour to Lyon.

Pierre Berchet’s painting in the chapel ceiling of the Ascension (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Today’s Prayers (Monday 3 June 2024):

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is ‘Volunteers Week.’ This theme was introduced yesterday by Carol Miller, Church Engagement Manager, USPG.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (3 June 2024) invites us to pray:

Lord, bring inspiration to those who take time to share your peace and mercy to others around them. Help them to use words of welcome and grace as they serve others through evangelism.

The Collect:

O God,
the strength of all those who put their trust in you,
mercifully accept our prayers
and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature
we can do no good thing without you,
grant us the help of your grace,
that in the keeping of your commandments
we may please you both in will and deed;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion Prayer:

Eternal Father,
we thank you for nourishing us
with these heavenly gifts:
may our communion strengthen us in faith,
build us up in hope,
and make us grow in love;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect:

God of truth,
help us to keep your law of love
and to walk in ways of wisdom,
that we may find true life
in Jesus Christ your Son.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Inside the chapel in Trinity College, Oxford, facing the ante-chapel and the organ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version, Updated Edition copyright © 2021, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Front Quad in Trinity College, Oxford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

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