The Bishop and his Book
A special bilingual service of dedication and blessing will be held in Bangor Cathedral on Sunday 6 February at 3.15 pm to celebrate the return of the Bangor Pontifical.
The Pontifical is a unique fourteenth-century bishops’ manuscript belonging to the Cathedral, now kept for safety in Bangor University Archive. Funds raised by the Cathedral and University for the collaborative Bangor Pontifical Project, launched in 2009 as part of the University’s 125 Anniversary celebrations, have recently enabled the manuscript to be digitized and conserved.
The Pontifical has returned to Bangor from the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, and will now be welcomed home. It will be received by the Dean of Bangor, the Very Revd Alun Hawkins, and blessed by the current Bishop of Bangor, the Right Reverend Andrew John.
The service has been devised specially for this occasion by Bangor’s International Centre for Sacred Music Studies in collaboration with the Cathedral. Music will be sung by the Cathedral Choir, an all-female schola from the University, and a professional cantor. Several of the plainchant melodies from the Bangor Pontifical have been newly transcribed for the service, two of them known only from this manuscript.
The service also includes readings from the medieval Life of St Deiniol (d.584), patron and Bishop of Bangor, whose monastery stood on the site of the present cathedral. The Pontifical will be blessed in the words of a medieval benediction, translated and adapted from a manuscript belonging to Edmund Lacy, Bishop of Exeter from 1420 to 1455.
This is a rare chance to see the Bangor Pontifical in the building with which it has been associated for almost 700 years, and to experience its text and music in a contemporary context. All are most welcome to attend, and the service will be followed by tea.
Find out more about the project here.
Publication date: 1 February 2011