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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2005, 20:24 GMT 21:24 UK
Cathedral to 'recognise' saint
Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral was built more than 900 years ago
A Royal ruling dating back to the 16th Century is to be overturned in a religious ceremony at a World Heritage Site in County Durham.

In the late 1530s Henry VIII stripped Durham Cathedral of its links with St Cuthbert as part of the Reformation.

But after more than 450 years the cathedral is to have its link with one of the north of England's most revered religious figures reaffirmed.

The body of Cuthbert lies within the walls of the cathedral in Durham city.

A special ceremony is to take place in September to see the saint's name officially reinstated.

Durham Cathedral was built by the Normans more than 900 years ago.

To restore Cuthbert to the cathedral's name and title is to honour all that he means not only to the north-east but to people across the English-speaking world
The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove

Scholars claim the cathedral and Benedictine monastic community of the time were dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and St Cuthbert.

But Henry VIII had Cuthbert removed from the dedication - or name - of the cathedral to read, The Cathedral Church of Christ and Blessed Mary the Virgin of Durham.

The saint's shrine was stripped during the dissolution of the cathedral, but Cuthbert's body remained untouched.

Now the dean of the cathedral says it is time acknowledge the debt owed to Cuthbert.

The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove said: "North East England is Cuthbert's land and Durham Cathedral is an icon of the region.

"For over 900 years the cathedral has been privileged and proud to be the final resting place of one of England's best-loved saints.

"To restore Cuthbert to the cathedral's name and title is to honour all that he means not only to the north-east but to people across the English-speaking world.

"It's a small but significant piece of history that we are glad to be making."


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