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Pilgrimage Moments: The Holy Virgin Mary

Length - 03:50
Published - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road to Istanbul.

The Pilgrims follow the Sultan’s Trail to the Church of the Holy Virgin Mary in rural Serbia, to mark a significant day in the Serbian Orthodox calendar: the Birth of Mary, Holy Mother of God. Serbs are the only Christians to mark the day with a religious festival called a Slava – which is a reinterpretation of an ancient pagan custom.

Edwina describes the Church to Amar, who is blind.

Dom departs the service, reflecting on his discomfort in group settings, questioning if he’s yet to find his true community. But Adrian finds the ritual comforting and uplifting, and compares the Orthodox service to the Catholic ceremonies he is more used to.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Clip: The Holy Virgin Mary - Pilgrimage S3 Ep 1

1 / 2

S1 00:00:23:09

Back together and back on the right path. The pilgrims have

made it through the forest. On the Sultans Trail has brought

them to the church of the Holy Virgin Mary. On a special day in

the Serbian Orthodox calendar. The birth of Mary, the Holy

Mother of God. The day is marked with a Slava, a special

religious festival that brings together family, friends and

pilgrims.

S2 00:00:57:00

Coming through the door is a little step in.

S1 00:01:20:07

Serbs are the only Christians to celebrate Slava, a

reinterpretation of an ancient pagan custom. The celebration

dates back to medieval times.

S1 00:02:06:01

Halfway through the service, Dom leaves.

S5 00:02:09:07

Kind of like the chanting. But enough's enough really. Like after a

bit I thought, right, I get the gist. I think there is an essential

human need for people to want to get together and be as one,

and maybe looking to something higher than them, but I just

don't have it. It's not. I think I'm better or anything. I just don't

like being part of a group. It's never done it for me, but maybe I

haven't found the right one.

S1 00:02:35:18

But for Catholic Adrian, the ritual feels comforting.

Clip: The Holy Virgin Mary - Pilgrimage S3 Ep 1 - Clip2.mp4

2 / 2

S6 00:02:39:15

I like being on my own in churches normally because at home I

take a pew and just sit there and relax and think the Orthodox

Church just sort of stand there. So in a way, it lends itself more to

being with other people, of people standing all around you, and it

feels nice and full and sort of quite intimate. After a while, I go

into sort of a focused sort of state, and positive thoughts flooded

into me, positive thoughts about my life and about, you know, my

loved ones and all that. I've found it quite uplifting, really, in its

own way.

S2 00:03:10:20

We were at a tiny school and we had one of those little round

discs on our tounge. They get a fistful of bread.

S7 00:03:17:08

You can have a spoonful of the Blood of Christ area. And the

wine. And yeah.

S2 00:03:23:05

It's fascinating really, but the younger children get to mill about.

I enjoyed it, I thought it was nice to be amongst the old artwork

on the wall as well.

UU 00:03:37:18

Beautiful, really beautiful.

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