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New discoveries - Joseph of Arimathea

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St Joseph of Glastonbury and Wales? Image episcoblog

As we saw with the recent news about Stonehenge, or the uncovering of Richard III's grave, many stories have been "overlaid and forgotten". Do they signify?

Sometimes. Something they point to the truth, to mysteries not yet understood which shed their light back into time and forward into the future.

In the Gospels, Joseph of Arimathea is known as the man who donated his tomb for the burial of Jesus. He dared to confront the authorities and bury the man they had crucified.

Joseph was a practical and adventurous man. He was said to have been a merchant, travelling to Britain from the Holy Land to buy tin in Cornwall and lead in Somerset. On one of these voyages legend says he brought the young Jesus with him.

If the stories are true, Joseph was also a mystical man. He brought the Holy Grail to Britain and planted his staff in the ground, so it flowered into the Glastonbury thorn. He built a church of interwoven willow branches plastered with mud, and in this "lantern" lit a flame, which illuminated England.

But did Joseph also bring the light of Christ to Wales?

In his new book, Maelgwn of Llandaff and Joseph of Arimathea, published by Covenant Publishing Company, author Michael A Clark describes "evidence linking Joseph with the important Welsh figure Maelgwn of Llandaff".

His book "reveals the evidence for the grave of Joseph of Arimathea in Cardiff and the history of the kings who ruled Britain in defiance of the Roman occupation".

Speaking to Simon Gaskill, in a report for Wales Online, Clark said that the Welsh connection to early Christianity in Britain had been buried.

“In this respect, the other side of the estuary has been left out of the story. . .”

Llandaff was one of the first bishoprics – with London and Wroxeter in Shropshire said to be the others.

Clark noted that while some legends put Joseph’s final resting place after his death in AD 82 on the Isle of Avalon – and later accounts say he is buried in Glastonbury Abbey – he may have been buried within what are now the ruins of the Chapel of St Mary in Cardiff’s Bute Park.

Joseph of Arimathea was a courageous, adventurous, practical man, infused with love of Jesus, who taught that every person is loved by God and is called to love others as equals and friends. Real evidence for Joseph's early arrival in Britain, and for a Welsh connection, are fascinating.

Maelgwn of Llandaff and Joseph of Arimathea is published by the Covenant Publishing Company, and priced at £4.

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