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Visita Iglesia in UK: Canterbury Cathedral |

Travel and Tourism

Visita Iglesia in UK: Canterbury Cathedral

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo -
Visita Iglesia in UK: Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral facade in the morning / Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

CANTERBURY, United Kingdom — From Maundy Thursday to Good Friday, the Visita Iglesia (literally meaning “visit church” in Spanish) has been a well-known Holy Week tradition among Catholic Filipinos. 

The Visita Iglesia is a pilgrimage tour of at least seven churches to remember Jesus Christ’s suffering and death by praying to the 14 Stations of the Cross. 

In England, one of the most popular pilgrimage sites is Canterbury City's Canterbury Cathedral, the famous landmark from the Middle Ages immortalized in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.”

Originally built by the Romans and founded in 597 A.D., Canterbury Cathedral is the headquarters of the Church of England and Anglican Communion, famous for its Gothic and Romanesque architecture and stained-glass windows containing images of some of England’s most popular personalities, including King Henry VIII. 

Apart from having the remains and graves of some of England’s monarchs, the cathedral is known for its “Disney”-looking windows by 20th-century Hungarian artist Ervin Bossanyi, as well as giant orb ornament said to be J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for Quidditch in “Harry Potter.” In fact, the entire cathedral itself is reportedly among Rowling's inspirations for Hogwarts!

Canterbury Cathedral facade at dusk. Because of its age, the cathedral sees seemingly endless repairs. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Gothic ceilings Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Gothic and Romanesque arches Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Stained glass commissioned and bearing images of England's kings and queens (right) Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Although the cathedral is the seat of the Anglican Church, Pope John Paul II of the Roman Catholic Church visited the cathedral in 1982, becoming the first pope to do so, and prayed at the altar (left photo) of the shrine for St. Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury that is both recognized as a saint by both Catholic and Anglican religions since Becket was martyred at the church in 1170, before England separated from the Catholic Church when King Henry VIII established the Church of England in 1534. Right photo shows the cathedral's main altar where the archbishop of Canterbury performs the holy Mass. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Evensong church service near sunset where the cathedral's choir sings Psalms and other Biblical canticles. It was reportedly the nightly habit of the late Queen Elizabeth II to tune in to the cathedral's live Evensong telecast. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo


Some of England's royalty, including kings and queens, wished to be buried at the cathedral. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Stained glass windows Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Resting place of a prince who died early and his clothes (left); the orb that is said to be J.K. Rowling's inspiration for Quidditch (right) Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Seat for the archbishop of Canterbury (left); 'Disney'-like stained glass window by Hungarian artist Ervin Bossanyi Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Entrance to the main altar (left) Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
UFOs? Mysterious orbs were photographed over the cathedral Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

RELATED: In photos: Shroud of Turin pilgrimage

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