Leigh Hatts  

Liturgical year in the City

An unusual book has been quietly published during the current lock-down.

A launch event would have highlighted the result of the special project which has been supported by a number of individuals, livery companies and churches in The City.

Faith in the City of London by Niki Gorick is a photographic book depicting activities in the City churches.

The Square Mile is one of those places where on Ash Wednesday it is not unusual to see people in the street with ash on their heads. Church attendance is above average as home county residents choose to worship near their workplace where they tend to spend long weekday hours.

The great festivals are marked outwardly such on Ascension Day when there is a ringing of Bow Bells at lunchtime and beating the bounds processions in the afternoon and early evening.

This bold living out the liturgical year is continued at weekends by the small residential population. You can see donkeys on Palm Sunday at St Giles Cripplegate, hot cross buns solemnly distributed at St Bartholomew the Great on Good Friday and egg rolling on Easter morning outside St Bride’s.

Nikki Gorick spent three years making hundreds of visits to obtain the pictures. She claims to have done so as an outsider but she got inside a vestry.

In addition to the annual customs she also records the everyday life in church. There are pictures of Mass at St Mary Moorfields, both ordinary facing the people form and extraordinary east facing, celebrated at its unusual sarcophagus altar.

And on Good Friday at St Bartholomew’s, Nikki does not just catch the hot cross buns outside but also the solemn Liturgy inside beneath the Norman arches.

We are also shown little noticed congregations of Indian and Romanian Orthodox worshipping on Sunday in the churches and Muslims praying together in a livery hall in the working week.

This book is a record of living faith to enjoy and maybe give as a present.

Faith in the City of London by Niki Gorick (Unicorn £25)

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