The annual St. Mungo Festival, which has its beginnings in the celebration of the Mass of St.Mungo and the subsequent celebration of the ecumenical service in honour of St. Mungo in Glasgow Cathedral, has now developed into a week-long celebration of Glasgow’s patron saint and the city itself, with many events and exhibitions being organised by the Mediaeval Glasgow Trust.
The first religious service was an historic one at Glasgow Cathedral, where there was a reconstruction of the First Vespers for St. Kentigern on 12 January, sung by the Cantors of the Holy Rude, directed by Alan Henderson. As Dr. Greta-Mary Hair explained in her introduction, this was probably the first time the Vespers had been sung in the Cathedral since the Reformation.
The Cathedral provided a wonderful setting for the event, with the chanting echoing throughout the building. It was easy to close your eyes and imagine how it would have sounded in mediaeval times. Despite the freezing weather, there was a very sizeable attendance.
As the programme made clear, this was a reconstruction of an act of worship and it was perhaps more a performance – however beautiful – than a service, with no opportunity for the “congregation” to take part. However, the Cathedral community did take the opportunity to spread the Gospel message by providing copies of the Gospel of St. Luke for those attending to take away with them