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Northern European Cathedrals’ Conference opens in Dublin

Delegates at the Northern European Cathedrals’ Conference 2019 after the opening service in Christ Church Cathedral (Photo credit: Mel Maclaine / The Photo Project).
Delegates at the Northern European Cathedrals’ Conference 2019 after the opening service in Christ Church Cathedral (Photo credit: Mel Maclaine / The Photo Project).

The Northern European Cathedrals’ Conference is currently taking place in Dublin. The conference, which is held every two years, is being co–hosted by Christ Church Cathedral and St Patrick’s Cathedral and runs until Friday.

Over 120 delegates from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Finland as well as from around Ireland, are meeting over these three days. They represent various aspects of cathedral life and their discussions will centre around the main theme ‘Cathedral Music: A Gateway to God’.

The conference opened with a Festal Choral Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral which was sung by the cathedral choirs along with the Christ Church Baroque Ensemble.

The sermon was preached by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, who welcomed all the delegates to the conference. He talked about the thresholds of cathedrals, or liminal spaces, where those entering cross from one world to another.

“The limen is the threshold, the place of transition between two worlds, conventionally seen as the world without and the world within. Our faith in God teaches us, and we need to remember this, that there is nowhere God is not. God is within and without, whatever our perspective. Perhaps the question we might take away from this Northern European Cathedrals’ Conference from right across Europe is this: ‘How can we, together, in the friendships we build in these days, constantly refresh and refurbish the entry–points to our cathedrals as an intentional liminal space?’” he said.

He encouraged the congregation to use the liminal spaces they are given on the inside and to seek them out in the world on the outside. “Let us encourage everyone to use and enjoy our cathedrals as thresholds,” he concluded.

The opening lecture was given on Tuesday night by the Bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory, the Rt Revd Michael Burrows, and other speakers for the conference include Dr Kerry Houston of Dublin Institute of Technology Conservatory of Music and Drama, David Bremner of Christ Church Cathedral, Nicholas Carolan of the Irish Traditional Music Archives, Dr Margaret Daly Denton of Trinity College Dublin, and the Revd Dr Alan McCormack of Goodenough College in London, who will be the convener.

Yesterday evening Archbishop Jackson hosted a reception in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. This evening (Thursday) Choral Evensong in St Patrick’s Cathedral will be sung by the combined choirs of St Patrick’s and Christ Church at 6pm. This will include excerpts of Handel’s Messiah. This will be followed by the conference gala dinner in Christ Church Cathedral. The closing service will take place in Christ Church Cathedral at noon on Friday.

The conference has been organised by the Deans of Christ Church and St Patrick’s cathedrals, the Very Revd Dermot Dunne and the Very Revd William Morton, and their team.

Further information is available from the conference website.

Delegates at the Northern European Cathedrals' Conference at the Archbishop of Dublin's reception in the Chester Beatty Library.
Delegates at the Northern European Cathedrals' Conference at the Archbishop of Dublin's reception in the Chester Beatty Library.