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Ringing out for St George; and a first in church friendship!

Thursday 23rd April is, of course, St George’s Day and the bells of Derby Cathedral will be ringing out in the evening to mark the anniversary of this popular patron saint. The sole Patron Saint of England, St George was first bestowed the honour of sainthood in 494AD by the Pope, an honour venerated by many different traditions.

Born in Lydda, Roman Palestine, George lost both his parents in quick succession when he was only in his teens. He went to Nicomedia (in what is now Turkey) to join the army. The Emperor was pleased with this young warrior’s progress, but wanted all his men to worship the Roman gods. George, however, would not give up his Christian faith and, reluctantly, the Emperor had no choice but to execute George. And so it was, on 23rd April, 303AD, George was decapitated. He was not yet 30 years old. His body was taken back to Lydda and he was buried a martyr.

The Dean of Derby, Dr John Davies, adds "Although the Cathedral is presently closed mid-week for major refurbishment work, we are determined to celebrate this very special day. Hence the special ringing of the Cathedral’s bells, and a service of Choral Evensong sung by the Cathedral Choir but held at St Mary’s RC church, just 400 yards from the Cathedral, at 6.30pm. We believe this is the first cathedral to hold services in an RC church, an ecumenical first. The kindness of our RC neighbours is outstanding!"