New Cross completes Down Cathedral pilgrimage

Bishop Harold has dedicated a striking new brass Cross at Down Cathedral. In recent years the Cathedral was re–ordered on a model of ‘pilgrimage’ and the new cross represents the final destination on the journey.

Suspended above the communion table at the east end of the Cathedral, the life–sized figure of Christ on the cross is depicted as a reversed silhouette through which the east window may still be seen. It is finished in highly polished brass and is based on a Cross which can be found at Christ the King Spiritual Life Centre in our link diocese of Albany, New York State.

Belfast–based architect, Brian Quinn, was responsible for the realisation of Bishop Miller’s vision. He was assisted by Kevin Clancy, a structural engineer from Limerick, who specified the fixings and cables. The cathedral walls had to be carefully rested for their load bearing capacity before the Cross could be positioned above the table.

Church Art Metals, Dublin took the detailed design and manufactured the finished Cross whilst H.J.O’Boyle Ltd, Downpatrick brought it into position earlier this week.

The Cross has been carefully designed in its proportion and size so as to sit comfortably in the space without dominating it. It has been designed to ‘reveal itself’ gradually to the visitor and worshipper. Upon entry into the worship space it is not prominent, despite its size. As one moves into and around the interior, and it is viewed from different angles, it takes on more of a presence, to remind us of the reason for the building in the first place.
Brian Quinn, architect

The installation of the Cross completes the renovation of the Cathedral interior that was begun in 2014. It is also the final destination for pilgrims drawn to the Hill of Down, the place of St. Patrick’s last resting place.

Bishop Harold explains:

Pilgrims who enter the Cathedral to find, first of all, the Narthex – the place where the world and the church meet; the place of baptism into Jesus Christ. They then enter through the screen, into the church itself – the place where the people of God assemble around work and sacrament, with the lectern holding the Bible and the Table holding the bread and wine. But the pilgrimage does not end there. It ends with our attention being drawn heavenwards, to the Glory of Christ, the maker, redeemer, and sovereign of the universe. This is the end of the journey for all believers and displayed in the glorified Cross.

Bishop Harold dedicated the Cross at his farewell service on 19 September 2019 and it was one of his last acts as Bishop of Down and Dromore.

You are warmly welcomed to visit Down Cathedral and explore this sacred space and grounds. Click here for visitor information.

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