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Churches and Religious Buildings: Coventry Cathedral Reminds of Reconciliation

To stand in the ruins of the former Coventry Cathedral is to stand in one of the most evocative places in England. This place, with its charred cross and Reconciliation statue, is a reminder of the futility of war, but also of the possibility of reconciliation. The original Cathedral Church of St Michael was destroyed on the night of 14th November 1940 by incendiary bombs, but rather than look to revenge, the decision was taken to rebuild in the spirit of reconciliation.

Basil Spence’s new Cathedral, consecrated in 1962, is a triumphant statement of Resurrection and Life. Many well-known contemporary artists found the Cathedral an inspiration. Visitors are struck on entering by the enormous tapestry of Christ in Glory by Graham Sutherland, that dominates the East End of the Cathedral. Coloured light streams through the Baptistery window by John Piper and the Nave windows. The West Screen by John Hutton allows all those who walk by the cathedral to see inside. Elizabeth Frink and Jacob Epstein also have work within the cathedral.

Guided tours of the cathedral are available Monday to Friday and Saturday morning only. The Cathedral’s International Department continues the work of reconciliation and the Cathedral community continues to pray daily for peace.

The Treasury (Coventry Cathedral Visitors Centre) is open daily Monday to Friday from 11:00am to 3:00pm, and on Saturdays is open subject to availability of voluntary staff. The video ‘The Inspiration Of Coventry’ is available now. It is a fifteen-minute video, made in 2002, tells the story of Coventry Cathedral, using archive material. It introduces viewers to the destruction of the medieval cathedral in 1940, the creation of the new cathedral building, the work of the International Department in Israel / Palestine 2001, also some of the people in the Cathedral Community.

Benedicts Coffee Shop is situated in the undercroft and is open open from 10:00am to 4:00pm week days and Sunday 12:00 noon to 4pm for morning coffee, light lunches and afternoon teas.

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