Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Lenten Pilgrimage - 24

Today we are visiting the church of St Michael and All Angels in Abban Street, Inverness.

The Church of St Michael and All Angels has its origins on the opposite side of the River Ness on the Maggot Green as the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.

In 1877 Canon Edward Medley, who had come to St Andrew’s Cathedral was struck by what he described as “the great respectability of the congregation of the Cathedral”, with “scarcely a poor person” amongst its numbers.

Canon Medley, with Bishop Eden’s encouragement., rented a thatched cottage and started church classes. Soon the adjacent cottage also had to be purchased to accommodate the many children in the area. In 1881 Bishop Eden sanctioned the title of “The Mission Chapel of the Holy Spirit”. A stone church was built in 1886, close to the Maggot Green, in Factory Street.

By the 1890’s the Maggot Green was suffering great problems of dampness caused by the river overflowing its banks. The people around the Church had moved to drier land on the other side of the River and in 1902 it was decided the Church should also move. Between 1903 and 1904 the Church was dismantled stone by stone, moved across the River Ness, where it was rebuilt and dedicated to St Michael and All Angels.

The new High Altar, with its riddel posts topped by gilded angels was designed by Ninian Comper, as is the Font, with its lofty steeple cover.

Between 1923 and 1924 extensive improvements were made to the church under the guidance of Ninian Comper. The magnificent east window of the Archangels and the Gilded Tester, both by Ninian Comper, are memorials to Canon William Lachlan Mackintosh (the first Rector - shown kneeling beside St Gabriel, in the third window).

Sir Ninian Comper’s influence is much in evidence in St Michael’s. His famous ‘signature’ of a strawberry is seen both in the bottom right corner of the right hand window and (unusually) carved on the wooden font cover.

Christ, the fair glory of the holy angels,
thou who hast made us, thou who o'er us rulest,
grant of thy mercy unto us thy servants
steps up to heaven.

Send thine archangel Michael to our succour;
peacemaker blessèd, may he banish from us
striving and hatred, so that for the peaceful
all things may prosper.

Send thine archangel Gabriel, the mighty;
herald of heaven, may he, from us mortals,
spurn the old serpent, watching o'er the temples
where thou art worshiped.

Send thine archangel Raphael, the restorer
of the misguided ways of men who wander,
who at thy bidding strengthens soul and body
with thine anointing.

May the blest mother of our God and Saviour,
may the assembly of the saints in glory,
may the celestial companies of angels
ever assist us.

Father Almighty, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God ever blessèd, be thou our preserver;
thine is the glory which the angels worship,
veiling their faces.

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