Page last updated at 13:22 GMT, Sunday, 5 October 2008 14:22 UK

Cathedral's 900 years celebrated

Chichester Cathedral
Sunday saw a joint celebration for the cathedral and Bishop George Bell

The Archbishop of Canterbury has spent the weekend in Chichester for the 900th anniversary of its cathedral.

Dr Rowan Williams lectured at the University of Chichester, cut a birthday cake at the cathedral and preached at its Sunday morning service.

"When a building has been here for nearly 1,000 years it stands for something quite important," he said.

"To be celebrating that is, I think, a big thing for the whole community not just the Church."

He added: "It means that the Christian faith has been part of the scene here for a very long time - very visibly, very powerfully."

The life of Chichester Bishop George Bell, who died 50 years ago, was also celebrated at the service.

It is a huge responsibility on us to keep the show on the road
Dean of Chichester

He was well known for championing the people of Germany during World War II.

The bishop made a speech in Parliament in February 1944 opposing Churchill's policy of saturation bombing which led to deaths of thousands German civilians.

Dean of Chichester, the Very Rev Nicholas Frayling, said the two anniversaries reminded everyone of the importance of the cathedral.

"This is a cathedral for all the people," he said.

"Very, very moving things happen every day.

"When I come into it every morning I can't help but reflect that these stones don't forget all the joys and sorrows that have been brought here for 900 years.

"It is a huge responsibility on us to keep that show on the road."


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