An ancient Saxon stone, which had been housed in a Lancashire church, has been returned to its home in Ripon Cathedral at a special service on Sunday, 16th October. The stone, which has been housed in St Wilfrid’s Church in Blackpool, was dedicated during the annual Founders and Benefactors service with a special prayer which was said in Anglo Saxon.
The service was also being held in recognition of the hundreds of people who support the work of the Cathedral.
For 13 centuries Ripon Cathedral has been at the heart of the community and of rural life here in North Yorkshire and it remains today, at the very heart of the city of Ripon and the surrounding area. Worship has been unbroken at this place for all that time and alongside its ministry the Cathedral hosts a huge range of events from gala dinners in the Nave to beer festivals in the Dean’s garden. It has also become an important music venue. The Cathedral receives no regular government funding and relies on donations, legacies and the untiring efforts of some 400 volunteers offering their services as chaplains, bell ringers, flower arrangers, tourist guides and in a host of other roles.
The Very Rev John Dobson, Dean of Ripon, said: “Now as a cathedral church serving a vast area we are keen to continue to be a place of pilgrimage and a destination that people can enjoy; a place where people can find space to encounter God and perhaps become more at one with themselves and the world.
“We can only do this in the 21st Century because of the generosity of people who give their time, skills and money and this is as much a celebration of those people as those that have gone before us over the past 1300 years.
“Hosting events that people can enjoy adds to the quality of life of people in the region but equally important is the Cathedral’s determination to serve those who are less fortunate in society such as the visit hosted recently, with partner organisations, of refugees and asylum seekers – mainly from war-torn Syria.”
Ripon Cathedral’s roots date back to the mid 650s with the arrival of Celtic monks. A short time later the land was given to St Wilfrid and he built his stone basilica in the style of buildings he’d seen in Rome. The 7th Century crypt is the oldest structure in any English cathedral.
The Service for Founders and Benefactors took place in the Cathedral at 3.30pm on Sunday 16th October 2016.