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Westminster Abbey enchantment

I am a Catholic on paper but not a frequent church-goer and was therefore sceptical when my mum, who came over from Germany to visit, suggested we go to see the Evensong at Westminster Abbey.

I must admit, I was never particularly interested in the cathedral, even though in my first year at university, the student hall I was living in was basically down the road.

On the bus down to Victoria, I learnt that Westminster Abbey educates its own thirty or so chorister boys, as young as eight years old, in a school attached to the church. They were due to sing during the Evensong as well.

At that point I still only thought of the cold and unfriendly church with the horrible choir back at home that I had to attend every Sunday before receiving the holy communion. Brrr. I thought this one wouldn't stand a chance to climb up my ladder of approval.

Upon arrival, my negativity seemed already justified when men and women dressed in red herded us through the church to our plastic chairs.

Warm and welcoming atmosphere

When I finally was allowed to take in my surroundings, it wasn't the high ceilings, impressive architecture or lavish ornaments - intended to make the mortal sinner feel small and insignificant back in the day - that surprised me. It was the warm and welcoming atmosphere that caught my attention; red lamps and chandeliers radiated golden glowing light.

This atmosphere was completely different from my previous church experiences that tended to be uninviting and more on the cold side (literally speaking).

When the choir started singing I was utterly spellbound; perfectly mesmerised. The atmosphere was so beautiful and calming. The only thing I wanted to do was close my eyes and let my busy mind be soothed.

This mini-break from hectic city life in this 700-year-old building reminded me of values and traditions that we barely let surface in our day-to-day lives, but that are like medicine to stressed out minds; reflective and calm.

It was a very enchanting experience. The Evensong takes place every Sunday at 3pm and you can check the time for choral services here.

Words by Alexandra Buerger

Images by Anastasiia Fedorova and Alexandra Buerger

Nearest tube station: Westminster Station (Circle, District and Jubilee lines)

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London's South Bank

 

 

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