The cathedral, a Grade I listed building, was built in the Early Christian Byzantine style by Victorian architect John Francis Bentley and is the mother church of Catholics in England. It was consecrated 100 years ago to the day.
The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, presided over Mass in the cathedral this morning to mark the occasion.
An exhibition, ‘Treasures of the Cathedral’, will open to the public from Thursday to tell the cathedral’s story. Artefacts on display in the refurbished Guild Room will include vestments, chalices, communion plates, monstrants and an altar front drape designed by Bentley.
Many of the items on display outdate the cathedral itself, including a fragment of silk from the tomb of St Edward the Confessor and a thirteenth century ceremonial cross.
“The exhibition is a very exciting event and I hope that, by making available to the public some of the lovely things normally stored out of sight, it will arouse a greater interest in the cathedral and its artefacts,” said Canon Christopher Tuckwell, Administrator of Westminster Cathedral.
“Every significant era, especially this one, is an opportunity for all of us in the Catholic community to re-consecrate ourselves to the service of Almighty God.”
Westminster Cathedral’s foundation stone was laid in 1895 and the building was completed in 1903, but it was not until 28 June 2010 that it was consecrated as canon law stated that no place of worship could be consecrated until it was free from all financial debt incurred by its construction.
Westminster Cathedral will welcome Pope Benedict XVI when he makes his first state visit to Britain in September.
It receives some 30,000 visitors each month and 4,000 attend Mass each Sunday.
Admission to exhibition:
‘Treasures of the Cathedral’ will be open to all members of the public from Thursday 1 July.
Entry will cost Adults £5.00
Concessions ( Students & Seniors) £2.50
Family (2 adults and up to 4 children) £11.00