Today was the annual St Wilfrid Procession through Ripon. This celebrates our city’s patron saint, St Wilfrid, who was one of the great northern saints and important people of early Northumbria. He is very unlike the ascetic Irish (Celtic) saints that characterised the religious communities of Lindisfarne – St Aidan and St Cuthbert – preferring the lavish lifestyle of the Roman Catholic Church and brought the rule of Benedict to Northumbria and had a telling influence on the Synod of Whitby in 664, arguing for Rome over the Celtic tradition.
For Ripon, St Wilfrid provides a sense of pride, for here his relics are kept. The procession is a fun day that allows the community an excuse to do some dressing up, drink a few pints and have a jolly church service later. The Anglican and Roman Catholic churches join in the procession, but for most of us it is a few hours of fun during the gloom that is enveloping our world. It reminds me that community is more important than anything else, and that our community is local not national, centred on Ripon, Harrogate and York, where the turbulence of the stockmarkets, bond markets and events in the big cities seem another world away, even if we will suffer the consequences of changes that these will all impose upon us.
Some photos will tell the story of the day (and there are more on my Flickr site):