Celebrating the finding of Saint Milburga’s relics

On 25 February, a little less than a thousand years ago, the holy relics of Saint Milburga, Abbess of Wenlock, were rediscovered by boys playing on the site of the church dedicated to the Holy Trinity. They had been lost in Danish attacks when her monastery and churches were destroyed.

In a moment of serendipity, on the eve of the anniversary of the finding of her relics, a small and rather grubby-looking boy led the solemn procession of Saint Milburga’s through the Church of the Holy Trinity for veneration by the faithful.

A sweet fragrance and the working of miracles accompanied the discovery of the saint’s relics in 1101. This year, the faithful chanted hymns recently composed to honour her memory and swung censers of sweet-smelling incense.

The monks of the Wenlock Priory carried Saint Milburga’s relics in procession for reburial behind the high altar that now lies in ruins. This year, on the solemn feast of the translation of the saint’s relics, the Orthodox Church of the 318 Holy Fathers celebrated Great Vespers at the kind invitation of the local parish.

At the Liti, the Sticheron of the patron saint, and these Stichera:

Mode I

Previously in the Abbey of Wenlock, * at the church dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity, * your ascetic and all-honoured body was buried, * close to the altar consecrated * to George the trophy bearer martyr. * Now in the town of Shrewsbury * at the church dedicated to the God-inspired Fathers * who taught that the Trinity is one, * unchanging essence and Godhead, * your holy icon is enshrined, * brightly shining with grace, * as a divinely bestowed treasure; and those venerating it with faith * receive answers to their petitions * which are conducive to salvation. * O all praised Milburga, * keep this community which magnifies you * from the obstacles of the adversary * and beseech the undivided Trinity * for the salvation of our souls.

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