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Sunday, 21 November, 1999, 02:17 GMT
Pilgrimage takes first steps
The pilgrims will converge on Canterbury Cathedral

Thousands of Christians are expected to join a 2,300-mile pilgrimage across Britain to celebrate the millennium.

A few dozen people began Pilgrimage 2000 on Sunday on the island of Iona, in western Scotland, one of seven historically sacred sites on the perimeter of Britain.

The Reverend John Stacey, organiser of the event, says it is not a charity walk but a "simple act of homage to Jesus Christ for the new millennium".

The London pilgrimage will start from St Paul's Cathedral
Organisers expect thousands more of all denominations to join the walk, which will eventually converge on Canterbury in Kent for a mass Millennium Eve gathering, first at the cathedral, then at night among the ruins of St Augustine's abbey.

The pilgrimage will grow as people start walks from other historic religious centres including the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland, St Michael's Mount, Penzance, and Walsingham, Norfolk.

The final place for pilgrims to join the event will be St Paul's Cathedral, on Boxing Day. They will walk via Westminster to Greenwich and Rochester before arriving in Canterbury.

The routes will cover some 2,300 miles, with many people following old pilgrim paths.

The pilgrims will carry white crosses and flaming brands as they walk through cities including Glasgow, York, Lincoln, Peterborough, Preston, Plymouth, Manchester, Swansea, Cardiff and Norwich.

They will stop to worship at 66 cathedrals, abbeys and other shrines on the routes. Twenty-two bishops will participate in pilgrimage services with eight walking for short distances.

Church groups, scouts and school groups are also expected to take part.

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See also:
29 Jun 99 |  Middle East
Pope plans millennium pilgrimage
03 Feb 99 |  Middle East
Pilgrims to 'walk on water'
14 Sep 99 |  UK
Botham's final charity pilgrimage
17 Oct 99 |  UK
Pilgrims complete trek against poverty

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