The Annual Ecumenical Service of Sung Vespers will take in the grounds of Tintern Abbey on the 10 September 2023 at 3.00pm and the overview of the service is set out on the attached poster. This is an open-air service and will focus on Prayers for Peace. The speaker this year will be the Rt Revd Cherry Vann, Bishop of Monmouth. During the service there will be a reading from the Rule of St Benedict to reflect the monastic tradition and history of the Abbey.

By way of background the ruins of Tintern Abbey are renowned worldwide and date back to 1131 but were mostly rebuilt during the 13th century. They are among the most extensive remains of any Cistercian monastery in the United Kingdom. However, apart from the shells of the buildings themselves, almost nothing survives of what they would have once contained prior to the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century.

In 2006 The Friends of Our Lady of Tintern commissioned a sculptor, Philip Chatfield, to recreate a modern replica of a statue of Our Lady of Tintern based on the original pieces of a 13th Century sculpture which had survived into the 21 century – albeit broken at the waist, headless, and childless. Philip Chatfield completed his commission using medieval techniques and hand tools and through studying the original fragments and comparable pieces in the United Kingdom and Europe and consulting experts in the field. The statue was blessed and dedicated in 2007 in a ceremony conducted jointly by the then Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff, Peter Smith, and by the Rt Revd Dominic Walker, then Bishop of Monmouth. The statue now stands at the entrance to the Lady Chapel in the south aisle of the Priory Church.

Since the Millenium an Annual Ecumenical Service of Sung Vespers has been held in September of each year in honour of Our Lady of Tintern. At present the service cannot be held in the ruins of the Abbey Church because of work to preserve the fabric of the building and so will take place in the Abbey grounds. There will be an opportunity to visit the statue of Our Lady either before or after the service.