Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Glastonbury Holy Thorn

Is there any news following the terrible attack on the holy thorn at Glastonbury last December? - Kes

The Holy Thorn grew from a cutting of a tree said to have been planted by St Joseph of Arimathea two thousand years ago before it was cut down by what many now believe were four men with a chainsaw. Needless to say, they carried out their act of malice under cover of darkness. There is no news so far leading to the culprits being reprimanded; though community leaders in Glastonbury set up a fund to try and find out who vandalised this sacred tree. Thousands of people arrive each year to pay homage to it as part of their pilgrimage to a place full of reminders of our earliest Christian heritage in these Isles. If no culprits are identified the money raised will go towards the replanting and future protection of the tree. Local folk are convinced that more than one person was involved, and an increasing number are reaching my view that this wanton vandalism was the work of those on the Left-hand Path.

Television interview about St Joseph of Arimathea and Glastonbury.

St Joseph of Arimathea visited Somerset nearly two thousand years ago and drove his staff into the soil at the spot where the Holy Thorn was vandalised three months ago. The staff is thought by many to have once belonged to Jesus, and while most hawthorns only flower in the spring, the Holy Thorn flowers at both Christmas and Easter. It is, therefore, heavily symbolic of the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The sacred tree has been protected by a metal cage to discourage such vandalism. This did not deter the diabolical group who attempted to remove the cage in order to dig up the entire tree in the dead of night. Once this failed, they resorted to cutting off all the branches leaving an iron encased stump. This means that with the stump still intact the tree might recover in due course; although we won't know until Easter. Until then, what remains of the Holy Thorn would best be watered with our prayers.

Personal images of Glastonbury with the Holy Thorn (bottom, left) prior to being vandalised. Also seen are the site of St Joseph of Arimathea's church (top), the Abbey grounds and Glastonbury Tor.

I am delighted to report that this month a new shoot has appeared on the vandalised tree despite it being mercilessly cut down. We wait to see if this will survive to herald the return of the Glastonbury Thorn. 

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