Everyone needs a day off and for us, this is basically the day; every journey needs a break, and for our journey Leon will provide it.
After breakfast we are to meet a local guide who will take us on a walking tour of the city. The hotel is located centrally so it won’t take us long to get into the old city. There we will be visiting the Romanesque church and Royal crypt of St Isidoro, bishop and doctor of the church, the fabulous cathedral with its colourful stained-glass windows and the Renaissance-style Hostal of San Marcos.
Our Guide, Emma, told us yesterday that, whereas the Cathedral in Burgos is famous for its carvings, the Cathedral in Leon is famous for its glass. She said that it is the second most important selection of stained glass in Europe after Chartres. I am sure it will be wonderful to see.
I’m also interested in seeing the shrine of St Isidoro, who I know very little about. He was a native of Seville, but when that part of Spain was under the control of the Muslims his remains were moved to the northern Christian kingdom. That is why he is in Leon.
During our pilgrimage we are constantly hearing stories of the Muslim/Christian history of Spain. One of the really interesting things yesterday in the royal monastery was to see the influence of Islamic craftsmen working on a Christian building. In the chapel of St James there was the most fantastic architecture which was reminiscent of the Alhambra. We were told that this is called ‘mudejar’ which means ‘integration’. In our present circumstances it is good to hold that concept in mind and to see how we can integrate, not just architectural styles, but all that our traditions bring, for the enrichment of society, just as ‘mudejar’ enriched the architecture of that monastery.
This afternoon we will simply relax, which will be good.
St Isidoro is, surprisingly, proposed as the Patron Saint of the Internet, because he famously said ‘yearn to learn’. Perhaps this is a good prayer for all of us, who like me, are using the internet for communication today.
Almighty and eternal God,
you have created us in your image
and have taught us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful;
grant we pray, that through the intercession of Saint Isidore, bishop and doctor,
in our journeys through the Internet
we will search for what is pleasing to you
and treat with love and respect all those whom we will meet.
This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.