St Materiana’s Church, Tintagel, Cornwall
St Materiana’s church perches on an exposed headland looking out to sea and Tintagel Castle. It’s an incredibly ancient Christian site and was likely settled over 1400 years ago by Celtic Christians. The castle was also inhabited and it's thought there was a Celtic monastery there too. St Materiana’s is the daughter church of Minster church near Boscastle dedicated to the same saint (See Minster Church and St Materiana's Well).
Walking into the church I was instantly struck by the welcoming all-enveloping presence of God. It’s clearly a loved church and Jesus is honoured. I sat in the first side chapel where private prayer was encouraged. It was coming to dusk so no other visitors were around. I began to praise and worship lifting up the name of Jesus and exalting God. In my mind’s eye I could envision God Almighty seated on his throne surrounded by the four creatures, the sapphire sea below, the emerald rainbow above, thunders and lightnings flashing from his throne. The holy atmosphere was tangible. Moving to another side chapel specifically set aside for prayer I felt I was walking amongst a throng of angels. I could sense but not see them.
This church felt one of the very holiest of places I’ve visited. The atmosphere was reminiscent of the side chapel in the Iona monastery and a place I call Fidden Cove which looks across to Iona. They are places saturated in prayer by Christians who have gone before and for some reason there is an imprint in the natural world still. Heaven and earth connect. Heaven comes to earth. A thin place.
It was such a special place I knew I needed to return and linger which I did.
I stayed in the side chapel praying and meditating on God for a while. Even though there was a trickle of other visitors, the side chapel is so hidden and set apart that I wasn't disturbed. As I lay before God in prayer a deep cry rose from within me as I became more and more aware of God's majesty. My heartcry burst from within, for my life to count for Him. It was a time of going very deep in God, a release of pressure, until I knew without a doubt that He had heard my cry and was responding. He began to speak to me personally about the trials and testings He had allowed in my life and their purpose. It brought reassurance. To have context and know that God is in overall control settles the soul's anxieties and brings great peace. This peace settled on me and I was comforted, strengthened to continue on, knowing there is a divine purpose in everything which happens. I would encourage others to visit, to linger and to wait for God to speak to them too in this place set aside for His glory.