St Columb Major, Cornwall
St Columb Major is one of two places in Cornwall named after a Celtic saint called Columb (Columba). There's little known about this 6th century saint but she's not to be confused with St Columba associated with Iona. On the website, A Church Near You it says that: 'In a manuscript in Cambridge University Library it states that she was the daughter of an Irish king and in order to escape marrying a pagan prince she fled by ship to Cornwall. She arrived at Trevelgue Head which is now called Porth Island. Unfortunately the prince followed her and chased her through the forest, now known as Porth Beach. She fled up the valley past Rialton and Treloy but was captured at Ruthvose which is two miles south of St Columb Major. Here she was martryred by the prince who cut her head off. Where the blood fell a spring gushed forth and formed the river which enters the sea at Porth Beach.'
I was interested in visiting the church here as so little is known of St Columb yet she was a very early martyr in Cornwall. I'd been to St Columb Minor earlier in the day and it was extremely interesting how different the two experiences were. You can read about St Columb Minor in a separate entry.
Entering the church of St Columb Major was special. The beauty of the interior was merely reflecting the beauty in the Spirit realm. The place seemed permeated with the presence of God. It drew me in and wrapped itself around me. It's also clearly a loved and well looked after church, but this feeling of welcome went far beyond the natural. My husband and I went to the chapel set aside for private prayer and before long I just wanted to prostrate myself as the weight of God's peace was so profound, it was clearly a holy place. Worship was easy but then so was silence. I lay face down before God, in silence, experiencing a timeless, out of time, weightiness of deep, deep peace. There was no need for words, or to pray. I knew God was here and that was all that mattered. At one point, in my mind's eye, I had a vision of a huge lion with one of his paws placed on the small of my back as a I lay prostrate in prayer. It was comforting, not frightening and reminded me of Aslan from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But of course it's truly Jesus, the Lion of Judah.
I can only describe the peace both my husband and I experienced in this place as being like the coolness of a deep pool of clear refreshing water which revitalises. It was so precious this time with God and I think this is one of my favourite holy places that I've visited.
Outside the graveyard has been made into a green reminiscent of cathedral greens, with the same hush and welcome, where the community can come and relax, walk their dogs and meet together. It's altogether a really lovely place. I was pleasantly surprised.
In the churchyard, just by the main church entrance is an ancient Celtic wayside cross dated 5-8th century. This is one of the oldest surviving medieval crosses of its kind in Cornwall and has a crude cross carved on both side and an inscription suggestive that it was also a memorial stone. It's original position is unknown and over time it was used as a gatepost, as clearly seen by the holes.