Notes & Quotes

Pilgrims to Walk Britain Top to Bottom

THE UNIVERSE, Nov. 28—Pilgrims have set off from the Scottish island of Iona to embark on a 600-mile millennium trek across Britain to Canterbury, Britain and Ireland's Catholic weekly reported.

Said the Universe, “Pilgrimage 2000 has been described as the biggest journey of its type in Britain for years. Participants aim to walk the length of the country in 41 days, assembling in Canterbury Cathedral on the first day of the century for a midnight service.

“Other groups from elsewhere in Britain will join the handful who set of on Sunday, swelling their ranks as they travel south towards their Kent destination.”

A dozen pilgrims from several different denominations began the trek, with numbers expected to swell as the new year approaches, said the newspaper.

Along the way, worship services will be held in a number of churches, shrines and cathedrals. All pilgrims will assemble under the ruins of St. Augustine's original abbey on Dec. 31 before the service in Canterbury Cathedral, which will be presided over by Anglican priests and an as-yet-unnamed Catholic bishop, the Universe said.

Placement of Exit Fuels Tensions at Jesus’ Tomb

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Dec. 1—Tension surrounding the proposed addition of an emergency exit to Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher in preparation for pilgrims during the Jubilee year 2000, have only heightened in recent weeks, the Times reported.

Because the church houses chapels for a number of Christian rites, administrators have difficulty making even minor decisions about its use and repair. According to the Times article, a broken sewer cover inside the church which has gone unrepaired for three years illustrates well the larger tensions among religious sects.

Said the Times: “The broken cover has been hidden beneath a rickety, splintering board for three years. No repair is ever hastily undertaken at the holy site where tradition says Jesus died and was buried. In a venerated house of worship that is elaborately divided, arch by arch, among three major Christian rites and several other denominations, no sewer cover is simply a sewer cover. It is turf.

“It took four years of talks to get the Christian parties to agree to such an exit on principle, given the safety concerns for a sprawling church with a single 3-yard-wide door. A decision to restore four arches took 27 years and deliberations over what color to paint the cupola lasted three decades. “There is another system of time inside the Holy Sepulcher,” the shrine's Christian/Muslim liaison said. “We are working on seconds and they on eternity.”