The Curse of Carlisle


Carlisle, in northeast UK, dates back some 2,000 years and is steeped in Roman/English/Scottish history. One can read some castle history, if one wishes, on the English Heritage website here.

Emperor Hadrian, a Trump-minded character of his day, ordered the construction of a large stone wall nearby, to keep out pesky Northerners who were wont to invade Roman England. Hadrian’s Wall was completed in 112AD and the largest fort along the length of the wall was built at Carlisle, housing a 500-strong Roman cavalry regiment. At the date of the Norman conquest of England in 1066, Carlisle was in Scottish hands. The son of William the Conquerer, another William, then retook the city for England. Construction of Carlisle Castle started in 1093AD and it was rebuilt in stone in 1112. In 1315, Robert The Bruce, King of Scotland, laid siege to the castle but failed to take it and retreated north again, having killed a miserly two English soldiers. In 1567, Mary Queen of Scots fled from the English to the castle.

The castle was also used as a prison to house the Border Reivers, a band of locals who were forced into cattle stealing and other general criminality due to the havoc caused by waring northern and southern armies over many years. The Curse of Carlisle is attributed to the Archbishop of Scotland who referred to the Reivers thus:

“I curse their head and all the hairs of their head; I curse their face, their brain, their mouth, their nose, their tongue, their teeth, their forehead, their shoulders, their breast, their heart, their stomach, their back, their womb, their arms, their legs, their hands, their feet and every part of their body, from the top of their head to the soles of their feet, before and behind, within and without.”

As curses go, MB must admit that the Bishop’s curse is quite all-encompassing, and the guy could easily have been a lawyer.

But it was to Carlisle Cathedral that MB laid siege in recent days.  The Cathedral is approximately 900 years old and is built on the grounds of a former church dating back to the 7th century. It was commenced in 1122 and originally founded as an Augustinian priory, being designated a Cathedral in 1133.

MB and some other elites (haha MB, what a kidder you are) attended Carlisle Cathedral in recent days for a Law Masters graduation ceremony, the august Cathedral interior providing a most impressive venue for the ceremony. The ceremony itself involved a short walk down the main street of Carlisle town centre, from the dressing hall (hats & gowns) to the Cathedral, allowing townsfolk to bow reverentially as MB and friends passed by. MB could have sworn he heard one of his colleagues shout “let them eat cake” but he is not sure.

Joke!

Big thanks to University of Cumbria for an excellent occasion, and to mom & sister of MB for their attendance. Was also a great pleasure for MB to meet up with some good friends who also attended.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Ascend


Ascend.
MB has chosen a shot from his May 2017 visit to Moscow for this weeks challenge. The domed spires of the churches seem to ascend to the heavens at Cathedral Square, which lies within the Kremlin complex in Moscow’s historic city centre.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Atop


Atop.

For 900 years, since the middle of the 6th century approx, the Hagia Sophia Greek Orthodox Bassicila in Istanbul (known as the Ayasofia in Turkish) was the largest cathedral in the Christian world – atop the pile, so to speak. It then became a Mosque for 500 years, until it was converted into a museum in 1935 by a secular Turkish government. Its dome roof is still studied by architectural and engineering students worldwide, and it was a groundbreaking structure in its day, and even beyond.

If you follow Turkish politics in more recent times, then you will be aware that the Hagie Sophia has become one of the meats (there are many) in the internal Turkish conflict sandwich. There is much demand from Islamists that it reconverts to a Mosque, and in recent months a Muslim performed Islamic prayer on the floor of the building. There are also some other smaller buildings with the same name, but in different towns in Turkey, which are also the similar targets of the Islamic brothers. To the best of MB’s knowledge, some have already fallen.

Prime Minister Erdogan is a master fox in the overall political scheme of things, playing and relying very much on the less educated strands of society, who are also more prone to the urgings of the Muslim Imams. Turkish politics are in a huge state of flux at present, and it remains to be seen which way Erdogan will eventually go on this Hagia Sophia matter. If he wins the constitutional election next month, he will become an all-powerful President, and may very well not bother too much with this issue thereafter. Inshallah.

MB is now thinking back to a conversation he had a few short years back with a young Istanbul tourist guide who had taken part in the mass demonstrations in Taksim Square/Gezi Park of 2013. There were multiple groups involved in the protests and many seemed to have different agendas. MB’s young Turkish friend explained that all the groups, albeit from different strands of society, had one common bond. They did not want any further Islamisation of Turkey.

MB recently discussed this point with a Turkish friend in Qatar. He was of the opinion, given recent history and particularly the fact that Erdogan has used the recent military coup attempt to castrate the more secular opposition to his government, it will only be a few short years before Turkey becomes akin to Saudi Arabia in many Islamic respects. MB spent two years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, (2012 to 2014) and has visited Istanbul multiple times so he can speak with a little authority on the subject. Suffice it to say, that many, if not the majority, in Saudi Arabia wish they could have what Turkey presently enjoys in terms of social life and culture. It’s sad, to put it mildly, that Erdogan should be taking his people in the opposite direction.

OK! MB knows this is just a Weekly Photo Challenge post, but he recently thought of posting something on the current Turkish situation. Today’s theme just opened the door, and MB decided to walk right in!

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Of Camino De Santiago (and Onimac!)


Introduction by MB

The Camino De Santiago is a famous route of Christian pilgrimage that ends at the shrine of St James, in Santiago Cathedral in Galicia, NW Spain.

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Goa – Basilica of Bom Jesus


The word ‘bom’ in Portuguese  means ‘good’. Like ‘bon’ in French. But enough of MB’s language lessons! Read More

The Dental Tourist 2


It ain’t easy! Read More

Istanbul – Christianity


Having spent the last two years in Saudi Arabia, it is interesting to see the symbols of Christian history (past & present) in Istanbul. No other religious practice or places of religious worship, other than those of the Islamic faith, are permitted in Saudi Arabia. Turkey has mosques and churches and synagogues for all to worship as they please.  Read More