Sunday, November 15, 2015

Writing from Paris

In Paris on Saturday afternoon Meg Wroe and I came upon an obscure church building, all locked up. On a hunch we rang the bell on a side gate and eventually a twenty-something nun, dressed head to foot in a white cassock, peeped out of a doorway. 
Through our hopeless French she understood we were looking for some people to say some prayers with, unlocked the gate - locking it behind us - and beckoned us in.
Inside we found a dozen nuns, all in white, sitting and kneeling around the altar, singing and chanting in the golden light of a fading afternoon. And a dozen other strangers, maybe like us, looking for a place to leave some feelings that are impossible to articulate. 
Burning bright above the altar was Andrei Rublev’s C15th icon The Hospitality of Abraham, a story of three strangers visiting Abraham and Sarah, who turned out be stranger than anyone had guessed. Although we didn’t understand a word of the liturgy, we understood it all perfectly. The beauty of the singing said everything. Later in the day I tried to find the place online but  came up with nothing. Perhaps it was only there for the day. Like Abraham’s visitors.

By Martin Wroe