Although this beautiful church is only just over seventy years old, it speaks eloquently of a long and varied history. Julius and Aaron, we are told, were among the first to be executed for their Christian faith by the Roman military government, probably at the beginning of the fourth century, and the site of their martyrdom at Caerleon was a spot of enormous significance to local Christians. So we are at once taken back to the earliest days of Christianity in this country. We know too that the present parish was rich in ancient places of worship and dedication up to the Reformation.
Early in this century, the parish was one of those that pioneered the recov- ery of beauty and dignity in Anglican worship; and it was highly appropriate that it became the resting-place of the stone alter and reredos from what had been the monastic church at Capel-y-Ffin, where, in the nineteenth century, Father Ignatius had attempted to revive the Benedictine life in the Anglican church.
In its fabric as in its worship, the church of St Julius and St Aaron reminds us of the absolute and primary importance for all Christians of witness to the faith, whatever the cost, and of selfish dedication to prayer. Basil Reeve has given us a full and lively account of this much -loved building; and I hope and pray that it will help bring alive to all who read it a sense of the glory and the challenge of the faith that is taught here, a faith as new and as transforming as it was in those early ages of the Church.
With best wishes and prayers,
Dr Rowan Williams
Bishop of Monmouth