The future of Christchurch's two landmark cathedrals is more uncertain

Bishop of Christchurch Victoria Matthews says Christchurch Cathedral has sustained significant new damage, with the famous rose window and most of the western wall lost.

She says it is now more likely that the cathedral won’t be restored to its original state, but built in a new modern form. However she says the cathedral will be at the heart of the city, wherever that is.

Read it all and I also recommend the accompanying audio link.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

10 comments on “The future of Christchurch's two landmark cathedrals is more uncertain

  1. evan miller says:

    How sad. The phrase, “built in a new, modern form,” chills the blood. A gorgeous, dignified landmark appropriate to its significance, to be replaced by some no doubt ghastly modern blight on the landscape.

  2. Hursley says:

    Get ready for spectacular silliness. I certainly hope for the best, but ours is not the best “cathedral age,” at least in Westernized cultures.

  3. robroy says:

    I am not the first to note the similarities York and Christchurch of natural disaster befalling the cathedral after a heretical bishop ascended the episcopacy.

  4. art says:

    who’s the “heretical bishop” here? And are you referring to David Jenkins in Durham, England, robroy?

  5. Sarah says:

    RE: “The phrase, “built in a new, modern form,” chills the blood.”

    So true — and “modern” always lasts about 5 years, at which point it is then tawdry, behind the times, and out of date.

  6. Tim Harris says:

    Comments here are way off the mark. Firstly, +Victoria is one of the more resolutely orthodox bishops that we have here in NZ- thoroughly credal in her affirmations and passionate in her gospel witness. And you might want to consider that the ongoing earthquakes have flattened churches of every persuasion and theological stance – including one of the most conservative Anglican evangelical flagships here in NZ.

    Please note – there are many very faithful pastors who have been doing extraordinary grassroots ministry in the midst of all this, whose spirits are being pushed beyond human endurance (I’m from a neighbouring diocese and urge you to pray for all involved, but especially Christian leaders in every neighbourhood). Comments such as the above suggestion of divine judgement are incredibly insensitive and poor theology to boot.

    Secondly, with reference to decrying the need for ‘new, modern forms’ again obviously haven’t seen the pictures of every historic building along that particular fault-line flattened. Any building, even something resembling a classic gothic cathedral, will need to be engineered with a view to the high likelihood of repeat major earthquakes – and remember the Anglican Cathedral had received the most substantial ‘earthquake proofing’ of any building of its nature. They are now talking of having NO high rise buildings in Christchurch (more than about three stories), and the need for new technology ‘energy absorbent’ sub-structures as the only responsible construction for the future.

    And alongside all that consider the expense of such a building, in a city where whole suburbs are likely to be written off and never rebuilt, where suburbs have been surviving on port-a-loos, patchwork water supplies, fragile electricity supply as they face a winter where the winds come directly off the antarctic, and where the recovery bill is running into tens of billions in a country that is the size of your average city in the states – to me, talk of the need to recreate a pseudo-heritage building, whatever the cost is way off the mark. There are far more urgent and kingdom-orientated considerations to get passionate about.

    But please, let those from afar pull back from ill-informed and insensitive commentary such as ‘spectacular silliness’. Spend a few moments reading [url=]this[/url] instead.

  7. art says:

    Thanks Tim for part of my answer: there is none to speak of re Christchurch. Nor may it be said of the new Bp of Durham elect, frankly.

  8. Sarah says:

    Hi Tim Harris — I saw two types of comments above. One type commented on tastes in architecture, the other on heresy.

    The comments on tastes in architecture are applicable to everyone, all around the world, whether natural disaster-ridden or not.

    Nobody said it was a *sin* to have “new, modern forms” — people obviously may construct and design as they please. But when they do, people who love architecture will have opinions about it.

    I don’t know if you know much about the “new modern forms” over here in TECusa — but they are truly ghastly. We have one “cathedral” somewhere in Michigan that eventually got sold to a charismatic church. It is a blot upon the landscape — and was always so. Nobody even wanted it after it was built and of course the TECusa diocesan authorities managed to fail entirely at filling [or even coming close to filling] the monstrous structure which they had conceived/approved.

  9. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    It is probably the most spectacular and beautiful cathedral in the southern hemisphere, built by George Gilbert Scott and iconic to Christchurch. If it were to be rebuilt, it would probably be just that in order to create a safe and lasting structure. Really that is not just a matter for the Anglican Church but for the City. Perhaps they will, just as the Poles and Czechs rebuilt their historic buildings.

    But I imagine there are other priorities for people rather than buildings in Christchurch at the moment. We tend to think that things need to be fixed ‘now’, but in the world of Cathedrals, fallen towers and spires [a reasonably regular occurence] have often been rebuilt after hundreds of years, although now you would never know. There is no hurry.

    Prayers for Christchurch and its people and particularly for their safety as they adjust to the future changes they are going to have to make.

  10. robroy says:

    [Comment deleted by Elf – please cut the uncharitable comments]