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Pilgrimage Moments: Vespers

Length - 03:09
Published - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

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

The Pilgrims attend Vespers – a Catholic evening service at a Benedictine Abbey. Candles flicker and incense fills the air as the monks sing the liturgy in Latin.

Laurence and Nick are profoundly moved by the traditional service. Laurence describes it as beautiful, meditative and exactly what he had hoped to experience on the Pilgrimage. For Nick, the experience reminded him of services he had attended as a boy, and felt the Latin gave the worship a majesty and dignity that he admires.

But Will is disappointed. He thought the service was repetitive and it made him want to go to sleep.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: Vespers

Narrator:  Eight services are celebrated at the Abbey every day. They're at the core of the monks daily lives. Almost every service is held in Latin, the common language of the Roman Catholic Church, using Gregorian chants, which originated in the Middle Ages. The pilgrims are invited to attend Vespers, the evening service.


Laurence:       I thought that was absolutely beautiful. I thought it was so movingly spiritual, really, really meditative. That was absolutely why I wanted so much to do this journey. That was exactly what I was hoping to experience.


Nick:       That service really was the first time that I'd been sort of moved on this pilgrimage. It was in Latin for me. That's what I was sort of used to, in a way, when I was a boy. And Latin just gave it the sort of majesty and the dignity that I admire so much, really.


Will:        It was just quite repetitive music. It was almost like I was going to fall asleep at some point, you know? I felt disappointed because there was no messages either, like if there was maybe prayers or something in between. It could have like maybe, you know, touched me in some way, if that makes sense. But I didn't I didn't get any of it, to be honest.


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