Archbishop at abbey

Pentecost celebrations at Whitby Abbey
Pentecost celebrations at Whitby Abbey

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, co-hosted Pentecost celebrations alongside the Bishop of Whitby, the Rt Rev Martin Warner, at Whitby Abbey last Saturday.

Hundreds of people flocked to the ruins to witness the service, the first of its kind since the 16th Century.

Pentecost, regarded as the ‘birthday’ of the modern Christian church, was celebrated in the sunshine as crowds, led by the Bishops, ascended the town’s famous 199 Steps leading to the Whitby Abbey ruins.

Despite the historic setting, the event had a 21st Century feel with uplifting modern music described by Archbishop Sentamu as “joyous”.

English Heritage’s area manager, Clea Warner said: “Whitby Abbey stood as one of the north’s major centres of Christianity for 700 years.

“It was superb to see a turnout of around 1,000 people to share this special occasion, and wonderful to hear the ruins reverberating with music”

Dr Warner added: “One of the hallmarks of the church is the way in which people work together and interact, each with his or her own part to play.

“With this service, we had a chance to celebrate our own contributions to the Church, and show how, together, they strengthen our Christian voice,

“Whitby Abbey is of enormous importance to Christianity and the people of the Archdiocese, so we were delighted to have been invited here to celebrate together in this wonderful setting.”

The celebration falls at the end of Bishop Warner’s tenure in Whitby as he is due to become the Bishop of Chichester.

In stark contrast, the abbey will be staging a re-enactment of Viking hordes disrupting a Royal wedding over the Jubilee weekend, 2-4 June including demonstrations, dressing up and face painting.