Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Land of the Saints

Detail from the painting "Cornubia, Land of the Saints" by John Miller, painted in 1980 to help celebrate the Truro Cathedral's centenary. It shows the outline of Cornwall with every parish church marked with a small Celtic cross.

The painting was a stunner, and I wish I had had time to peruse it deeply. It is called "Cornubia, Land of the Saints". What would it mean to be a Land of the Saints? I wondered.

Our somber, though sometimes humorous, guide spoke to this. "It is a painting done by artist John Miller, to acknowledge every parish church in Cornwall. He believed each to be God-planted, and wanted to lose track of none."

John Miller. I instantly liked this man.

We stared at the painting and saw that each church had been designated with a small Celtic cross. The little bits of light looked almost as if they were directed there by Heaven itself. 

And then in the midst of Cornwall, a larger shaft of light descended from a height, drawing the observer's attention and consideration. It was this flash of light that indicated the Cathedral. Truro Cathedral. Our little group of 4 or 5 stood gazing. We wanted to stay gazing, but heard the guide's kindly voice calling us onward. "But - the painting!" I softly protested; and no one heard.

I promised myself I would search this painting out at some later time. Find out more about John Miller and his inspiration, his appreciation for each parish church in Cornwall.

He must have loved Cornwall at least as much as I do, having poured such an enormous amount of love and time into his painting. For me, it represented the view point from on High. As though we were looking down from where God sat, considering it and praying for it. Much more than a Bird's Eye View - a bird would have perished had he flown so high. But God? Distance presents no difficulty for Him. The tiny specks of light and Celtic crosses draw the Eye downwards, and each one has a name:

  • St Ia's Parish Church
  • Fowey Parish Church
  • St Illogan Parish Church
  • Parish of Par
  • Camborne Parish Church
...and so on.

Wouldn't you just love to travel to each? To seek and find them, some perhaps obscure, others somehow distinguished. This painting gives me a keen affection for them, for all they have done, and are doing, and will continue to do. 

So that's what it means to be the Land of the Saints.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

"A vision of Cornwall. That shaft of light shooting up into the sky from Truro Cathedral is also the artist’s personal vision."
The Vaishnava Voice

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