Tuesday, July 20, 2010

St Helier Pilgrimage 18 July 2010

Each year a number of people take part in the annual pilgrimage to the St Helier hermitage at Elizabeth Castle.

The walk out and service at the hermitage is an opportunity to take part in a Jersey tradition and a chance to hear about the patron Saint of the island and celebrate his life.

About Saint Helier

Saint Helier is named for Helier (or Helerius), a 6th century ascetic hermit. The traditional date of his martyrdom is AD 555. His feast day, marked by an annual pilgrimage to the Hermitage. Helier is recorded as performing one healing miracle in Jersey, curing a lame man named Anquetil. His prayers and the sign of the cross raised a storm that drove off a raiding party. Though Helier starved himself to ascetic weakness for 13 years, legend holds that he had the strength, when he was beheaded by attackers, to pick up his head and walk to shore.

According to the hagiography, Romard discovered Helier’s body on the beach still clutching his head in his hands, placed it in a boat and set off for the mainland. The boat, guided by the hand of God, arrived at BrĂ©ville-sur-mer (Manche) where a reputedly miraculous healing spring arose on the spot where Helier’s body rested overnight. A church was founded next to the spring, which is now topped by a statue and still attracts those seeking a cure.

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