A Service of Faith and Reconciliation will open Hereford Cathedral’s year of celebrations to commemorate 700 years since St Thomas Cantilupe’s canonisation.

On Saturday 12 October (3.30 pm), the cathedral will welcome the Right Revd. Lord Williams of Oystermouth who, as Rowan Williams, was 104th Archbishop of Canterbury. Together with the Bishop of Hereford, they will take part in an act of penitence and renewal and celebrate the relationship that Canterbury and Hereford share today.

In 1282, a disagreement between Hereford and Canterbury resulted in a sentence of excommunication being delivered to the then Bishop of Hereford, Thomas Cantilupe. Archbishop Pecham of Canterbury delivered this adjudication as a result of conflict arising from Cantilupe defending the rights of the See of Hereford. To appeal against his sentence, Cantilupe travelled to Italy to lay his cause before the Pope, but he died near Orvieto before judgement could be pronounced, although not before he had made his peace with the Church.

During the service, representatives of other Christian denominations within Herefordshire will come together to lead prayers and pupils from Hereford Cathedral Junior School and St Thomas Cantilupe Primary School will perform a short drama further exploring the story. Two new banners, designed by Canon Sandy Elliott and made by the cathedral broderers, depicting St Ethelbert and St Thomas will also be dedicated by the Bishop.

Everyone is welcome to attend this service which is ticketed. Application forms for free tickets can be obtained from Hereford Cathedral Office in person, by calling 01432 374 200 or visiting herefordcathedral.org/service-of-faith-reconciliation

Throughout the celebration year, which runs from October 2019 to October 2020, there is a programme of lectures, special exhibitions and worship events open for everyone to join. For more details of the St Thomas Cantilupe celebration programme please visit herefordcathedral.org or pick up a booklet from the cathedral.