I am delighted that Ripon Cathedral is once again hosting the Great North Art Show in this, the cathedral’s special anniversary year.
When St Wilfrid journeyed to Rome in the 7th century, he was hugely impressed by the churches he saw there, including their glorious art, architecture, and music. It would have been so unlike anything he had experienced in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria. That was to change when he built his magnificent church and crypt at Ripon in AD672. Wilfrid brought with him craftsmen from the continent, relics from Rome and musicians from Canterbury, filling the building with reliquaries, glittering jewels, expensive fabrics and artwork designed to inspire and lift minds to God. He also brought the Benedictine Rule, a monastic way of life which had a positive transformational impact on European society over coming centuries.
It is therefore fitting that our magnificent cathedral building, this year celebrating 1,350 years since its consecration by St Wilfrid, hosts one of the north’s largest temporary art exhibitions – the Great North Art Show. We are delighted to welcome over 65 artists to the cathedral, whose work complements the glories of the cathedral’s existing treasury of stained glass, silverware, fabric and, of course, the fabulous architecture. St Wilfrid would certainly have approved. The cathedral community and I hope you enjoy this year’s exhibition, returning for the first time since 2019, which promises to be an exciting addition to Ripon Cathedral’s 1,350th programme, including our own exhibition, produced in partnership with Art in the Churches, From Rome to Ripon.