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Coventry Cathedral
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COVENTRY CATHEDRAL

St. Michael's Cathedral:
The Reconciliation Altar




The ruined Cathedral, still on consecrated land, lays emphasis on death and defeat but also on forgiveness and reconciliation. The Christian message comes through quite clearly as we enter the ruins and make our way to the polygonal apse where the "reconciliation altar" is situated. Behind the altar can be seen the prominent rudimentary cross, a replica of the original cross made of two burnt oak beams, relics of the fire that destroyed the building and now on exhibit in the new Cathedral.

 

[Coventry Cathedral, the reconciliation altar]

The reconciliation altar

Communion service is celebrated at this altar on Easter Day and Whitsunday and prayers of reconciliation are recited every Friday at twelve o'clock.

[Coventry Cathedral, the reconciliation altar, a close up view]

The reconciliation altar a close up view

Behind the cross, engraved on the wall and clearly visible, are the words: "Father forgive" clearly recalling the words of Christ from the Cross: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). These words are also repeated in the "Litany of Reconciliation" placed at the foot of the altar:

 

THE COVENTRY LITANY OF RECONCILIATION

 

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,

Father forgive.

The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own ...
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth ...
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others ...
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee
The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children ...
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,

Father forgive.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

 

RJW

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latest update: 27/6/04