09 June 2021

Praying in Ordinary Time 2021:
11, Sé Catedral, Lisbon

The Cathedral of Saint Mary Major is often called Lisbon Cathedral or simply the Sé (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During this time in the Church Calendar known as Ordinary Time, I am taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

Today is Saint Columba’s Day in the Calendar of the Church of Ireland. This week my photographs are of cathedrals in European capitals or former capitals. This morning (9 June 2021), my photographs are from the Sé Cathedral in Lisbon, the Portuguese capital.

Inside Lisbon Cathedral, dating from the mid-12th century (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Cathedral of Saint Mary Major (Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa) is often known as Lisbon Cathedral or simply as the Sé or Sé de Lisboa.

This is the oldest church in the Portuguese capital and the seat of the Patriarch of Lisbon. Towering above the narrow alleyways and steps of the old city, Sé Catedral looks like a mighty fortress. It was built in the mid-12th century on the site of the main mosque of Lisbon, soon after Lisbon had been captured from the Moors in 1147.

During the Portuguese interregnum in 1383-1385, the people of Lisbon suspected that Bishop Dom Martinho Annes was plotting with the Castilians and an angry crowd threw him out of the window of the north tower.

The Gothic towers embracing the Rose Window are the first thing that strike the visitor, and inside the cathedral is warm and welcoming.

There are nine ambulatory chapels, including one with the curious tombs of Lopo Fernandes Pacehco, with his pet dog at his feet, and his wife Maria Villalobos, reading her book in bed, beneath a canopy.

In the cloisters, archaeological digs have unearthed early Phoenician, Roman and Moorish remains.

The cathedral has survived many earthquakes and has been modified, renovated and restored several times. It is nowadays a mix of different architectural styles. It has been classified as a National Monument since 1910.

The cloisters of the Sé Catedral in Lisbon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 12: 20-26 (NRSVA):

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.’

The curious tomb of Maria Villalobos, still reading her book (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (9 June 2021) invites us to pray:

Let us pray for the work of the Melanesian Brotherhood in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Polynesia. May their commitment to peace and justice inspire Christians across the world.

Collect of the Day (Saint Columba, Church of Ireland):

O God, you called your servant Columba
from among the princes of this land
to be a herald and evangelist of your kingdom:
Grant that your Church, remembering his faith and courage,
may so proclaim the splendour of your grace
that people everywhere may come to know your Son
as their Saviour, and serve him as their King;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Archaeological excavations in the cathedral cloisters (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

Material from the Book of Common Prayer is copyright © 2004, Representative Body of the Church of Ireland.

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