A Pilgrimage
through St Illtud’s Church, Llantwit Major

A Pilgrimage 

through St Illtud’s Church, Llantwit Major

Everyone is welcome here! We invite you join in this pilgrimage.
Take your time walking through our church, seeking, praying, and asking. This is a place where people through the ages have sought God and heard from him. Our hope is that though this pilgrimage, you will also encounter God. Come and enter in! 

The Font
The font at St Illtud's Llantwit Major

Begin your pilgrimage at the font found just inside the entrance to the church.

The Font
Welcome! You are very welcome here! Come just as you are and know that God knows you by name. A font is used to welcome people into the family of God through baptism.1 It is an invitation into relationship with God and the community. At this font, all pilgrims are invited into the never-ending love of God. His love is like an ever-flowing and abundant fountain… it never ceases. He wants to offer you this love today.

Take a moment to consider water and what we use it for… drinking, washing, cooking, and growing food.

Are you feeling ‘thirsty’ or ‘hungry’ for anything or in any area of your life?2

Are you feeling in need of being cleansed in your heart or mind of anything?3

Is there anything muddied in your life that needs washing?

Every person is in need of something each and every day! It is okay to have weaknesses and needs. If you can, tell God what you need as you enter this church today. He welcomes you with open, loving arms.

+ Lord, I come today and I want to believe you know me. I have read and heard about your love and I need to know it more! Please, God, show me more of yourself today in this church. I do come in need. There are so many needs in me and all around me in the world---I don’t even know where to start. Hear my heart. God, show me truth today.

1 Ephesians 4:4-6; Romans 6:3-5
2 John 7:37-38; Isaiah 55:1-3
3 Psalm 51:2, 7; Titus 3:5-7

Candle Lighting Stand
The Candle-lighting stand at St Illtud's Llantwit Major
Turn to your left and walk to the candle lighting stand, located near the font.

Candle Lighting Station
The Bible tells us that God is love1 and God is light. In God there is no darkness at all2. He is good, pure and trustworthy. We can trust him with all our cares3. As you continue on your pilgrimage, God wants you to lay aside the things that are heavy, worrying or burdening you.

Take a few minutes to think about the hard and heavy things--- the people or places you are concerned about.

Who are you worried about today? What situation or circumstance is weighing on your mind?

Light a candle. Use this candle as a symbol of your purposeful “letting go” of the many heavy things that are concerning you.

Take a moment, look at, and focus on the fire on the candles. Watch the flames and think about the truth that God is light and God is love.4

+ Lord, there are so many things that concern my heart. Thank you that you want to take my cares from me.5 I can lay them down today. Lord, I pray for… (tell God your concerns). I hand these things over to you and ask that would fill me with light, love, and peace.
1 1 John 4:8
2 1 John 1:5
3 1 Peter 5:7
4 John 1:4-5
5 Psalm 68:19

The Lady Chapel
the Lady Chapel at St Illtud's Llantwit Major

From the candle lighting stand, turn around and walk down the far right aisle.

The Lady Chapel
This side chapel is used for small services and quiet reflection. As you enter into the peacefulness of this space, maybe you want to sit or kneel--- feel free.

Stop. Be still a moment. Imagine a child enveloped in the arms of a loving parent, their body fully at rest and at peace. Knowing they are completely loved, the child finds deep peace. Do you want to know this type of peace?

Take a minute and look at the stained glass image of Mary: Mary is the mother of Jesus. God is the father of Jesus. He was fully human but also the Son of God, fully divine.

God loves each person in the world1 so very much, that’s you too. So God sent his Son to save us and in turn offer us his infinite peace2, mercy, love and grace. Can you imagine that God loves you that much? Tell God what you are thinking.

Think about it. Did you know that God is described as a mother wanting to protect her children3? What an amazing thought! Can you imagine God lovingly holding you, hiding you, or protecting you? What are you thinking and feeling as you consider this? Tell God.

+ Lord, I want to know your love and peace in this place. I want to understand your love for me. Please show me more of yourself. Please give me the ability to see your truth and be loved as your child.

1 John 3:16
2 John 14:27
3 Matthew 23:37; Isaiah 66:13; Isaiah 49:15

The Tabernacle at St Illtud's Llantwit MAjor

Remain in the Lady Chapel

As you pause in the Lady Chapel, remember that thousands of people have stood or sat where you are over the years, pausing to reflect or pray.

Look up. In the right-hand corner, a single white candle is burning signifying the Tabernacle is here; in Scripture, this was the place where God’s Spirit dwelt. Today it’s a locked safe, behind the small tapestry on the right wall, where the consecrated bread is reserved,1 connecting us to our worship when we break bread together. This bread is frequently taken to people who are unwell and unable to attend a service.

The Holy Oils are also kept here. They are used for baptisms and for anointing people who seek God’s healing and reconciling presence in their lives, perhaps because of illness or other concerns. “Are any among you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.”2

Consider. Many people find strength when they pray in this part of the church, because the Tabernacle is a reminder of God’s loving presence. The single flickering flame casts the light of Jesus Christ into every aspect our lives. What is in your heart as you sit in this place?

+Lord, I want to experience your holy presence. Jesus, you say that you are the bread of life and whoever eats of this bread will live. This statement makes me feel _______. Please open my heart, mind, and soul to the promptings of your Spirit. As I continue on this pilgrimage journey, please be with me and sustain me on the way.

1 John 6:51
2 James 5:14

The Pews
The pews in St Illtud's Llantwit Major
From the seating of the Lady Chapel, step toward the middle aisle. Find a place you feel comfortable sitting.

The Pews
These seats are for the many who come to worship and pray. At times they are bursting with people but in this moment of silence sit and reflect on the life and death of Jesus.

Take a minute to contemplate: Pilgrims, like you, have come to St Illtud’s church for centuries. Did you know that throughout history all sorts and types of people, who have done good and bad, have sat in these pews? Have you ever felt that you are not good enough or you’ve made too many wrong choices?

During services, in these pews, we admit that: we have sinned in thought, word and deed, and have failed to do what we ought to have done. Ask God to show you your faults and feel the weight of them.

Take note: We need God’s forgiveness and grace. Throughout the centuries, God has loved and chosen all types of people to know his love. No matter your faults or your wrongdoings, you are loved by God,1 who has good things for you to do here on earth2.

God, there are so many things I don’t know or understand. I ask that you give me understanding. Despite my faults and wrongdoings, can you use me and love me in the same way you loved people throughout history? Lord, I am wondering about _______. Please show me more of your gracious love.

1 Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 5:8
2 Ephesians 2:10

The Rood
The Rood Screen at St Illtud's Llantwit Major

As you are sitting in the pews, look up towards the roof above the pulpit. The word ‘rood’ simply means cross or crucifix.

The Rood
Look up. What do you see? Jesus is on the cross. Mary, his mother, is on the left and John, his disciple and friend, is on the right.

When we see a scene like this we can remember that the cross is the place from which Jesus took on our wrongdoing and paid the price with his life.1 Jesus had the power not to be crucified,2 yet he chose to die so that we can be saved from our brokenness, our wrongdoing, our sin.

Think about it. Jesus suffered excruciating pain as he hung on the cross. His arms are outstretched almost as if he is saying to Mary, to John, to you, “I love you this much!” Take a moment and let this sink in.

Think more about it. Be brave! Consider. No matter if you have been in the church for 50 years, or if you had never set foot in a church before…. We all need Jesus and the gift of his love! You can give your life to him and ask him to be your God today and every day. He died for the whole world---a free loving gift of forgiveness and grace to everyone. Yes, you, too!

+Lord Jesus, turn my heart to believe that you are God and that you died on the cross and rose 3 days later. Today I confess that I need you to cleanse my sins and openly receive your gift of forgiveness. I cannot make things right in my life on my own and I need you. I want to know you more. Please walk with me on the journey of my life.

1 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 4:10; Galatians 2:20; Matthew 20:28; Romans 5:8-10; John 3:16
2 Matthew 26:53-54, 27:39-44; Luke 23:34-43

The Altar
the Altar in St Illtud's Llantwit Major

From viewing the rood, if you are able and comfortable, walk up the middle aisle, up the steps and approach the altar.

The Altar
You can move forward, walk up the steps, and approach the altar. Everyone is welcome! Feel free to stand and look, or to sit, or to kneel. You can approach the altar because Jesus not only died on the cross but rose three days later. With his blood and resurrection, he has victory over sin and death.1 Jesus brings freedom and peace to us all.2

Think carefully. What do you feel in this part of the church? If you can, tell God about how you feel. Is it difficult for you to come up to the altar? Talk to God about that.3

Just be still and quiet. It can be good to just stop and listen. Let your body and mind be quiet and ask God to give you his peace.

Be thankful. The altar is the place where Christians joyfully celebrate and remember Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, through the sharing of the Eucharist, which means ‘thankfulness’. Join in by expressing your gratitude to God. What are you grateful for? Take a moment or two and thank him for the many blessings and good things you have in your life.4

+Thank you God for all the gifts you have given me! Thank you for….
I thank you for the freedom you offer through Jesus. I want to understand and know more of you and your truth. I ask you now to fill me with peace and the ability to understand.

1 Acts 13:37-39, 26:22-23; 1 Corinthians 15:53-57
2 Colossians 1:19-23; Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Peter 1:3-9
3 Hebrews 4:15-16
4 2 Corinthians 4:14-15; Philippians 4:4-7; Colossians 2:6-7, 4:2

Stained Glass
Stained Glass in St Illtud's Llantwit Major

From the high altar look up to view the stained glass.

Stained Glass
As you look up at the magnificent stained glass window, there are many things to see and notice. On the left, Mary is being told about her becoming the mother of Jesus, the Son of God. As you follow the story, you will see Jesus’ death on the cross, him being taken down for burial, and then finally Jesus risen and on his heavenly throne.1

Take a minute and look at the stained glass images. Note Jesus on the throne. His hands are open and are offering blessings. Do you want blessings in your life? Is this something you can receive or ask for from Jesus right now?

Imagine Jesus blessing you right now with these words.

May you, being rooted and grounded in my love, have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is my love, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge— that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.2

Read this blessing again. Quietly or, even better, read aloud – whispered or at full volume! Allow the words to infuse into your heart, soul, and mind.

1 Daniel 7:14; Philippians 2:9-11
2 Ephesians 3:17-19

Looking Ahead
Glass screen in St Illtud's Llantwit Major

From viewing the stained glass above the high altar, turn around and stand in the centre near the steps closest to the pulpit.

Looking Ahead
As you stand near the steps leading up to the main altar, you can look back through the length of the building, all the way back to the Galilee Chapel. All of life is a journey--- we walk one step in front of the other, making our way forward each and every day. All pilgrims must stop and look ahead, seeing what is in front of them.

Stand and Look. What do you see as you look through to the Galilee Chapel?

Take mental note. Do you notice the crosses: 1. A cross behind you ---above the altar. 2. A cross above you (the rood). 3. A cross before you, you will go under as you pass the first glass doors. 4. And, a cross way out before you--- the large stone cross in the Galilee Chapel. And there’s many more than this!

The cross is a symbol and reality of love, freedom, forgiveness and the gift of peace.1 Notice many of the crosses are empty signifying Jesus’ resurrection and that he is on his throne. Also, through the Holy Spirit, the Lord is not far away, but can be with us all the time. How wonderful!

Read. St. Patrick said this about Jesus Christ in the 5th Century---over 1,500 years ago:

“Christ be with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise."

Can you read these phrases again and pray them asking the Holy Spirit to be present to you now?

1 1 Corinthians 1:17-18, Galatians 6:14, Colossians 1:17-20, 2:14, Ephesians 2:16, Philippians 2:8, 1 Peter 2:24

Galilee Chapel
The Galilee Chapel in St Illtud's Llantiwt Major

A stone in the floor of St Illtud's Galilee, Llantwt Major

From the altar, walk down the main aisle, walking through the first set of glass doors passing through the West Church (the gathering area). Enter the Galilee Chapel through the second set of glass doors.

Galilee Chapel
Take some time to sit and enjoy a rest on the benches in this wonderful chapel. Enjoy the quiet, the light and the beauty around you.1

Stop. Be still a moment.2 Take time to look around. Maybe close your eyes and listen. What thoughts or emotions are in your mind and heart? Be honest with yourself.

If you can, tell God. Be open to how God might want to speak in your heart and want to work in your life.

Look down. Do you see the small stone carved labyrinth on the floor? This reminds us of winding our way through life’s journey with the ultimate goal to know God. These verses carved in the stone come from Psalm 86: Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.

+Lord God, there are so many things going on in the world and in my own life. Thank you for this time to be quiet and take note. I want to grow closer to you and to trust in you so I pray this verse: please teach me your way so I may walk in your truth. Because your love towards me is so immense, I can trust you. From the bottom of my heart I thank you, dear Lord. I am no longer separated from you; you have rescued me. You, God, are both tender and kind, forgiving, and full of love!

1 Psalm 23:2-3
2 Psalm 46:10

Houelt Cross
Houelt Cross, Llantwit Major

In the Galilee Chapel as you sit on the bench, the middle stone is the Houelt Cross.

The Houelt Cross A Christian’s journey of discovering God is unending, nevertheless we come to the end of the pilgrim journey of St Illtud’s Church at the cross. Likely dating from mid-late 9th century, this type of cross, a wheel cross, can be seen as a symbolic compass, reminding pilgrims that all of their lives should be orientated towards Christ, his character, his work, and their relationship with him. The cross is at the centre of our life’s journey.1

Reflect. If the cross were central to your life, where would you be going? What would your priorities be? When you think about your life in the future--- what kind of person would you be?2

God Almighty, I am asking for your help and your guidance as I reach out and take one more step forward in my pilgrimage through life. Knowing you are with me gives me hope. Please show me where I should be going and give me courage to make changes to keep you as my centre. Lord, please forever walk with me and keep my heart focused around your love, forgiveness, and grace. Amen.

An important part of a pilgrimage is to share your thoughts and experience with others. After you leave today, is there someone you can talk to and tell about your experiences and your thoughts?

1 Hebrews 12:1-2
2 Philippians 1:6

Want to continue your faith journey? Here’s some tips…

  1. Pray. We encourage you to take time to pray both to speak to God but also to listen to him, focusing on him, allowing him to reveal himself to you. You can pray on your own, with others, and pray through written prayers.
  2. Read the Scriptures. You can read along with our church’s daily readings1 or start reading through the Gospel of John or the whole Bible.
  3. Join in a Christian community. Attend one of our services or other activities such as Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday worship, Faith and Fellowship, toddler church, a home group, Sunday school, etc.2
  4. Get baptised and confirmed. Contact one of our clergy3 to ask for further details.
Resources to help you on your journey.
  1. Galilee Chapel Christian Enrichment Library – In the mezzanine of the Galilee Chapel there are books on a variety of subjects: questions of the faith, grief, the Bible, prayer, biographies, Celtic Christianity, as well as a section for children of all ages. Books can be borrowed for free.
  2. Websites and Apps – There are a variety of websites and apps available including bible study tools, devotionals, Christian meditation, Bible, prayer guides and more. You can find the whole list in the church and the Galilee Library catalogue.
  3. If you need someone to talk to you can always call: 116.123 (Samaritans) or 0300 111 0101 (Crossline)

1 https://www.ghcp.church/
2 For specific service times see http://www.llanilltud.org.uk/
3 Parish office: 01446-792439, office@ghcp.church