Saturday last took me to Lichfield and a tour of the cathedral. I confess to a growing fascination with the photographing of old church buildings. Lichfield Cathedral has been a centre of Christian worship for over 1300 years, a place of pilgrimage, history and prayer. It is the only medieval cathedral in Britain with three spires: a dramatic symbol of the Trinity.
The cathedral is dedicated to St Mary and St Chad and in the Lady Chapel, Mary is depicted in the screen behind the altar, whilst around the chapel are statues of other female saints. We are encouraged to give thanks for the ministries of women and missionaries in the church.
The cathedral abounds with carved figures and heads, a reminder of those who have gone before. Some have been literally 'defaced' by visible sword cuts and slashed noses. This damage was done during the Civil War, Royalists against Parliamentarians and is a vivid reminder of the cost of armed conflict.
Praises have been sung by a choir almost daily for over 750 years. Today, a professional choir of 12 men and 18 boys sing from the central stalls where the singing of Psalms is a key part of worship. The boys are educated at the nearby Choristers School.
Part of the Bishop's garb, in rich silk and sporting the Cross of St George (see my previous blog). Note the radio microphone on the table, nowadays an equally important part of his attire.
The cathedral has an historic connection with the Staffordshire Regiment (now part of the Mercian Regiment) and many of their honours and standards are displayed here in the side chapel. The standards are treated with great respect because of the self sacrifice associated with them, and as a reminder never to take peace for granted.