History Snippets

 St John’s  – Various History Snippets

Burials at St. John’s – The Balfour Vault

Although it is fairly plain to see that no burials have taken place in the grounds of St John’s Church, one person was buried there in 1825. The lady was Mrs Charlotte Balfour, wife of the Civil Commandant at the time, Colonel William Balfour. Charlotte’s grave was outside the East End wall of the church but over the years her resting place has been built over and she now lies under the floor in the middle of the central aisle. The ashes of a few parishioners have been interred in the walls and Garden of Remembrance in recent  years but there have been no burials since Charlotte Balfour in spite of the fact that Burial Registers state ‘Buried at St John’s Church’.

Examiner photo

1937 Balfour vault unearthed

Unique Processional Cross

(This article, apparently from the 1970s, needs referencing. Mr. Denham died in 1971.
Georg Gerster [sic] published books featuring photography of Ethiopian religious sites in the 1970s)

In the mountains of northern Ethiopia stands an ancient centre of the Christian faith. It is the Monastery of Abba Salama. Its founder, Frumentius, a Syrian captured by pirates, became known in Ethiopia as Abba Salama, “Father of Peace”. About the year 330 he converted the ruler of the ancient Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum to Christianity and thereafter was named the first chief cleric of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
The monastery is not built upon the mountains, but is cut into the stone of a mountain peak. Dr. Georg Gester is the only known foreigner to have climbed the vertical cliff face which leads to the ancient shrine. He was not allowed to enter the church, which takes the form of the classic basilica pattern, but a monk showed him manuscripts and other treasure, including an iron processional cross, which is claimed to have belonged to Frumentius.
This cross has now been copied by Mr. Dewan of Melbourne and will be used in St. John’s, Launceston. It will be dedicated as a memorial to the late Laurence Denham, a churchwarden of St. John’s and a generous benefactor of the parish and the diocese.