web analytics


The pretty little church from yesterday has an unusual feature – a Mithraic altar! Ahem. See, there’s a bull carved on all four faces. There were probably some kind of unpleasant meat rituals performed upon it.

It’s not certain if there was a temple to Mithras on the spot before the church was built. The first documentation of the church was 1265 and the alter stone is, like, 1st C. The temple could have been anywhere in the neighborhood.

The stone first turns up in the yard of the nearby Ferry Inn, where it was used for many years to tie up horses. Hence the weathering. I wonder if the ring was already embedded in it. Then it was moved to the vicar’s garden. And finally – presumably when someone noticed it was an important object- into the church itself.

It’s in the back of the church itself, in the Narthex (yes, looked it up), opposite end to the Christian altar. Which says something about the CofE. I’m not entirely sure what. That the church is unperturbed to bring a sacred pagan object into a holy place. Confident? Phlegmatic?

The worship of Mithras was very popular among Roman army officers. I have read that it competed closely with Christianity as the official Roman religion. Now, wouldn’t that have been a thing?

July 26, 2022 — 7:31 pm
Comments: 6