What is a Cathedral?

Wherever they are, cathedrals all share the same characteristics and responsibilities. They are:

  • The seat of the diocesan bishop and mother church of the diocese.
  • A centre of worship and prayer.
  • A place of welcome and hospitality.
  • A community of people who love God and serve the world.
Seat of the Bishop
The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth
The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth

Although the Bishop has many responsibilities throughout his Diocese, the Cathedral is his home base and where he has his seat or Cathedra. In Coventry, this can be found near the High altar on the north side of the Choir. The Bishop attends most major festivals and special services held in the Cathedral.

The present Bishop – the Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth – was enthroned in his seat on 1st November 2008. Click here to see a selection of the sermons and addresses he has preached in the Cathedral.

A centre of worship and prayer

Coventry has been a centre of prayer and worship for over 1000 years. The Priory Church of St Mary became Coventry’s first Cathedral in 1102, reputedly established on the site of the Anglo-Saxon St Osburg’s Nunnery. The Cathedral built on the Benedictine foundation of the Priory, a tradition and discipline that still influences the daily patterns of worship to this day. Services can be attended by just a handful of people or a few thousand. All are welcome to join us, whether they are regular churchgoers or not. Click Worship for details of all our regular services.

The Cathedral’s core purpose is therefore to glorify God and this guides everything we do.

A place or welcome and hospitality

reconciliation-statuePeople come to this Cathedral for many reasons and we try to cater for them all. Some come to visit as tourists, some to pray or light a candle. Others come seeking information about the building, its art treasures and architecture, or people they know who are commemorated here – there are guided tours available to help. Others come as pilgrims, moved by the history and the reconciliation ministry. Some are seeking a listening ear – there is always someone here to talk to. Our Rising Café is open from Mondays to Saturdays for refreshments. One particular area we focus on is our ‘Remember our Child’ ministry for parents who have suffered the loss of a child. Please click here for more information.

A community of people who love God and serve the world

For nearly 1000 years there has been a Cathedral community in Coventry dedicated to serving God and the world. We want everyone to feel at home here whatever the reason you are visiting. This is a place to celebrate all that is good in the City and the Diocese of Coventry and we host many events, concerts and exhibitions of interest to all.  This wonderful building also hosts many important civic events and ceremonies of local and national importance.

Our dedicated Reconciliation Team continues to reach out to communities locally, nationally and internationally, providing inspiration and practical support to many Christians and non-Christians and addressing conflict issues in contemporary society. A major part of this ministry is the Community of the Cross of Nails – an international network of over 150 organisations in 60 countries all committed to reconciliation work and its chief aim of building a kinder, more Christ-like world.