Pilgrimage: A Spiritual and Cultural Journey
Ian Bradley

Pilgrimage: A Spiritual and Cultural Journey


This concept of the Christian pilgrimage has its origins in the Exodus of the Jews from ancient Egypt, but it has changed and adapted with the passing centuries. In medieval times millions of pilgrims spent months traveling across Europe to visit holy cities and shrines, and today a modern revival has blurred the lines between pilgrimage and tourism and made places such as Iona, Taize and Santiago di Compostella contemporary meccas.

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Pilgrimage: a Spiritual and Cultural Journey, by Ian Bradley offers readers a visual, historical and richly spiritual book on the classic spiritual practice of pilgrimage. Bradley is a professor of Practical Theology and Church History at the University of St Andrews, specializing in Celtic Christianity, and a leader of regular pilgrimages to such sites as St Andrews, Iona and Lindisfarne.

Pilgrimage, available only in hardcover as of 2016, is packed with glossy photos of pilgrimage locations across Europe, including Rome, Santiago, St Andrews, Iona, Nidaros, Assisi, Lourdes, Taize, Medugorje, Camino to Santiago and others.

Bradley offers a variety of definitions of pilgrimage, including these:

  • A departure from daily life on a journey in search of spiritual well-being.
  • An individual summons to know God more fully, a spiritual journey to which the pilgrim joyfully responds 'yes' to God's invitation.
  • A provisional, transitory state, often taken as a metaphor for the journey of life, hastening irrevocably from the cradle to the grave. It is a reminder that all things in this world are temporary and that everything is in motion.
  • The outer physical journey mirrors the inner spiritual journey; the excitement of setting out on a new adventure is balanced by the joy of coming home.

The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 includes chapters titled The Biblical Roots of Pilgrimage, Pilgrimage in the Early Church, Celtic Pilgrimage, The Golden Age of Pilgrimage, After the Reformation, Pilgrimage Today, and How to be a Pilgrim. Part 2 leads readers chapter by chapter into specific pilgrimage sites in Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Poland, France, Bosnia-Herzegovinia, and England. Historic details are woven together with practical and personal insights into making your own pilgrimage to such a place.

Of the sites emphasized by Bradley, I've personally enjoyed spending pilgrimage time in Rome, St Andrews, Iona, Assisi, Taize and Lindisfarne. But one need not get into an airplane and travel across the globe to go on pilgrimage. "Blessed are those whose hearts are set in pilgrimage" the Psalmist tells us. Jesus suffered for us along the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering, "leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps" (2), joining Christ along the way of the cross, day by day, setting our hearts on pilgrimage. Bradley emphasizes personal pilgrimages of the heart, along with the outer pilgrimage to specific pilgrim sites long celebrated across the centuries.

Like reading a good trail guide to hiking in the backcountry or in the mountains, Bradley's excellent field guidebook beckons me to set the book down and start planning my next pilgrimage journey.

Product Details

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Data sheet

Ian Bradley
Ian Bradley
Seleim Eskander Hanna
Mohamed H. Ghoneam
Seleim Eskander Hanna
Original Language
Arabic (Translated)
Arabic (Translated)
Publishing House
Maktabet Dar El Kalema Publishing House
Number of Pages
Product Dimensions
Maktabet Dar El Kalema Publishing House
Product Weight
828 gm