Christ Church Cathedral, which is the “Episcopal seat for the Bishop of the Diocese of British Columbia”, basically the administrative head and spiritual home for Anglicans within this diocese, a diocese with around 50 or so parishes.
In Victoria this is easily one of my favourite places for a whole variety of reasons. For one thing its open 7 days a week to the public. People can come in and stroll around, take pictures, or if so inclined sit and meditate, pray or simply be quiet and collect their thoughts for a while. It’s also a physically impressive place. The place, as you’ll probably guess from my pictures, is huge. The cathedral itself is a massive structure, but also on the property, that takes up a large city block, is the cathedral offices, Christ Church Cathedral School and an administrative building and the office of the Anglican Bishop of BC. Another reason I love the place is the history. There are all kinds of interesting little historical artifacts, from a stone laid out front by Sir Winston Churchill, to chalices, bibles and prayer books that date back several hundred years.
Its also a very friendly place. In spite of the fact that my expectation was that it would be a bit of a snooty sort of place. That hasn’t been my experience. I’ve always felt very welcome and I’ve been here many times to take advantage of a very quiet and contemplative space. I’ve also attended some services here and never dress up or cover my tattoo sleeved arms. I usually just show up in jeans and a t-shirt. I’ve never felt unwelcome. On one occasion, as an example of the openness here, I was sitting near the back in a fairly crowded service when two men that appeared to be homeless wondered in 15-20 minutes into everything. Instead of being either asked what they were doing or even seated in the back, an usher immediately showed them to a spot near the front row, asking everyone to shove down to make room for them. It’s not a snooty place in my experience at all.
I couldn’t take pictures of everything for obvious reasons. Here is a snippet of the place.
The view as you walk in the front door. Deafening silence.
Looking back from the alter at the massive organ above the front entrance.
Pulpit. It was made from a single oak tree that grew in England in Sussex. The tree was over 500 years old and the wood then seasoned 30 years before use.
The Lady Chapel that sits off to the right of the main Cathedral alter. With a statue of Mary holding the infant Jesus at the entrance. It contains an organ that dates to 1862 and some of the stones at the front of the alter are originally from the high alter screen at Canterbury Cathedral and date back at least 700 years.
Some old artifacts that can be seen around the Cathedral.
Starting with a stone put in place by Sir Winston Churchill.
Chalice from 1759
Chalice from 1684
Baptistery. Floor made of marble. A white dove in the centre window was included to relay a story of the first baptism done here. The story goes that when the first baptism was done the windows had not yet been put in and a white dove flew in and sat on the ledge for the duration of the ceremony, then flew off.
The Chapel of the New Jeruselem can be seen through the massive windows behind the main alter. The chapels stained glass windows shining through into the cathedral.
The cathedral as seen from the Chapel of the New Jerusulem
A a few other random pictures around the cathedral..
For those in the city that are not of the Christain persuasion and could use a public space to meditate or pray, but would not feel comfortable in the cathedral itself for religious reasons or otherwise, this space was created at the front entrance. It’s a multi faith chapel and is there for anyone, of any faith (or no faith) to use at their own leisure .
Outside in the cathedral grounds is a labyrinth constructed by inmates from William Head Prison. It’s used for walking meditation.
A few other random pictures from around the property, of the main office, and the school…