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Cathedral, Cardiff, Wales
The church: Cathedral
and Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, St Dyfrig, St Teilo
and St Euddogwy, Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales.
Church in Wales, Diocese
St Teilo founded the first church on the site, nothing of which
has survived. The cathedral was begun in 1121 by Urban, the
first Norman bishop, and was finished in 1290. Marked by huge
pillars, thick walls and some beautiful arches, many of which
remain today, the cathedral features a statue of St Teilo in
the west front and is the resting place of the remains of St
Dyfrig. Llandaff Cathedral has had a chequered history of construction
and ruin, beginning in 1400 during the rebellion of Owain Glyndwr
and continuing through 1941 when it was very seriously damaged
by a land mine. During the English Civil War, the cathedral
was overrun by Parliamentarian troops. It was extensively restored
in the mid 19th century and again in the late 1950s, with Her
Majesty the Queen attending a service celebrating the completion
of the restoration. That work included the installation of the
sculpture Christ in Majesty by the somewhat controversial
modern sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein. A lightning strike in 2007
destroyed what was left of the organ's electrical circuitry,
already in poor condition. A replacement organ was not finished
until 2013. A more thorough history can be found on the cathedral's
They offer a full complement of said and sung services, including
matins, evensong and compline as well as the eucharist. The
Friends of the Cathedral help to maintain the fabric of the
building, including paying for restoration work. The Cathedral
School offers an outstanding academic and musical education
to about 650 pupils.
Llandaff, a district in the north of Cardiff, has long been
known as a religious site and lately has developed quite a reputation
for ghosts. It is said that by night the gloomy byways surrounding
the cathedral glow with mysterious lights and misty forms of
folk who perished long ago, some perhaps by foul play. On a
brighter note, Llandaff village itself is a cheery mixture of
shops and houses, theological college and many pubs.
The Very Revd Gerwyn Huw Capon, dean and vicar.
The date & time:
15 March 2014, 11.00am.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
Mostly full. A lot of the congregation were single men or single
women, although the age range was mainly 60-80 year olds.
Did anyone welcome you
We were met at the open doors by a sidesperson, who smiled,
said "Good morning" and handed us a service booklet
and weekly notice sheet. During the peace, those close by shared
the peace with us.
Was your pew comfortable?
Chairs not too bad, as the congregation did not sit for
How would you describe
the pre-service atmosphere?
As we entered the cathedral, we segued from a beautiful sunny
day outside to a calm, tranquil indoor setting. It was quiet
with some whispering.
What were the exact opening words of the
"In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
What books did the congregation use during the
English Hymnal; weekly notice sheets with collect readings,
psalm and gospel; Choral Eucharist booklet.
What musical instruments
Organ. The cathedral's new organ is an opus of Nicholson &
Co. of Malvern and is the largest, wholly-new, British built
organ to be commissioned in a UK cathedral since Coventry.
Did anything distract
The continuous changing from sitting to standing to kneeling.
© Tony Hisgett and used under license
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
Stiff upper lip. All very reverent and well-rehearsed. The celebrant
wore purple vestments. The congregational singing was good
the three hymns were traditional, and everyone was singing quite
loudly. No incense. The cathedral choir chanted the psalm and
a piece during communion. Everyone took communion and the cathedral
stewards told each row in turn when to go up for communion.
It was very orderly.
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9 The dean seems well read, educated and articulate.
The sermon was simple and straightforward to follow.
In a nutshell, what was
the sermon about?
He reflected upon the gospel passage concerning Nicodemus and
how the passage was relevant today. It was all about having
love in our hearts through Jesus Christ and living in hope.
About meeting and treating each other with love. He asked if
the congregations of Llandaff were doing that, and the answer
was, "We are getting there!"
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
The cathedral choir was good, and so was the sermon.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The high altar was so far away that it was difficult to watch,
pray and focus on the ministry of the sacrament, especially
the prayer of consecration.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Absolutely nothing happened! We handed in our leaflets and were
again bid a good morning.
How would you describe the after-service
No refreshments after this service.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
2 Call me unliturgical, but shouldn't all this kneeling,
sitting and standing have been done away with at least 25 years
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
In some ways yes: music and sermon.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
That it was a beautiful sunny day and the cathedral was warm
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