I am blessed to live in a beautiful country, and in a beautiful city but sometimes, I long for the countryside. In Scotland, we are never too far from quiet green hills or coastal rocky beaches full of memories of the saints.
After only an hour, the train arrives in Dunblane – a city in the country. It has a cathedral and medieval town centre, a babbling river and it’s very own Orthodox Church, in a converted cottage above the centre of the city.
Near the cathedral, there are some very typical Scots vernacular buildings – aren’t these stairs wonderful?
And who wouldn’t love a bank in a Georgian town house?!
At this time of year, the flowers have one last burst – the townspeople of Dunblane (home of Andy Murray the tennis player) are gifted gardeners and look after their home with great care.
The tiny church down a lane looks like a cottage from the outside – inside, it has been exquisitely detailed by Fr Alexander, Matushka Julie and their community. Details catch the eye and highlight the beauty of the small. There is a harmony and grace in the church – a sense of stillness.
Here you can see Fr Augustine and Graham, about to celebrate a wedding. The icons are in the Russian style, and all in sympathy with the honest, elegant interior which uses the materials created by God and offered back to Him.
But on the way back, I pause to watch the river. I give thanks for the fellowship and Eucharist I have received, and say a prayer for those who lost their lives in the dreadful shooting here, many years ago. The scars are still raw, in many hearts, even amidst this beauty. Surely this bright sadness touches all our lives?