It wasn’t the best of days for the second event of the St Mungo Festival, which was the service centred on readings from the mediaeval Vita Kentigerni or Life of St Mungo. The rain was pouring down and there was a huge pro-independence march in Glasgow city centre which caused real travel problems for some. Indeed our harpist, Carissa Swan, could not get through and had to turn back.
However members of the Children’s Singing Studio of the Russian Orthodox School in Glasgow and of the St Mungo Singers made it to the Mitchell to provide the musical support for the service, joining Mrs Cathy McMaster of Mediaeval Glasgow Trust, Archbishop Emeritus Conti, Archbishop Tartaglia, Rev Chris Foxon of Glasgow Churches Together and Rev Mark Johnstone, the new Minister of Glasgow Cathedral.
Mrs McMaster invited people to take a break for a short while to celebrate the city’s birthday, by listening to a reading from the Vita, even as the Cathedral chapter had in past times, and keep the memory of the city’s past alive. Archbishop Conti and the St Mungo Singers then gave a flavour of how the Latin Vespers of St Mungo would have sounded.
A quite different style of church music followed with the singing by the children of the Russian Orthodox School, conducted by their director Mrs Svetlana Campbell, of two chants in honour of St Mungo, finishing with a lovely joyful carol.
Dr Irene O’Neill, City Archivist, introduced the centrepiece of the service – the readings from the Vita. The readings this year were from the beginning of the Vita, telling of how Mungo’s mother came ashore at Culross and gave birth there to Mungo, and the subsequent adoption and education of Mungo by St Serf.
After the now traditional singing of the Glasgow anthem Let Glasgow Flourish , there was time for refreshments and, for those who felt the need for sustenance before facing the driving rain again, a “full Scottish” brunch.