Boxing Day pilgrimage marks centuries of Christian faith and common heritage

A grand parade brightened grey skies above Ripon Cathedral as walkers on the traditional Boxing Day Pilgrimage to Fountains Abbey were joined by the German Bishop of Hanover.

The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Revd Helen-Ann Hartley and the Dean of Ripon, the Very Revd John Dobson welcomed Bishop Ralf Meister of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hanover (pictured at the start).

Bishop Ralf, an honorary Ecumenical Canon of the Cathedral, joined hundreds of folk for the St Stephen's Day Eucharist, followed by the Boxing Day Pilgrimage to the National Trust's beautiful Fountains Abbey and grounds.

Tradition dictates that the community of Ripon retraces the steps of the Abbey's founding fathers, who set out from Ripon Cathedral on St Stephen's Day in 1132 to found the monastery which was to become Fountains Abbey - the largest Cistercian house in Europe.

2020 is the Association of English Cathedrals' Year of Pilgrimage and you can access some suggested routes to and from Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, National Trust  on the British Pilgrimage Trust's website:…/ripon-cathedral-pilgrimage…/

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