New Cathedra and Cross for Leicester Cathedral

A new Cathedra, or bishop’s chair, and free standing cross will be part of the £2.5m refurbishment of Leicester Cathedral in preparation for the burial next month of the last Plantagenet King, Richard III.

Designed by Draisci Studio in London, the cathedral announced the bishop’s chair will be of modern design with a matching hanging cross made of leather and Black American Walnut. “The Cathedra symbolizes the Bishop’s role as chief teacher of the Christian faith and as the one who gathers the community for worship and celebration,” said the Rt. Rev. Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester.

“This new Cathedra speaks powerfully of the office of the Bishop with a long tradition behind it but also as having a contemporary task in presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ in today’s world.”

The Cathedra is part of a larger refurbishment of the cathedral which includes a new high altar and a tomb to house the remains of Richard III, who died in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. In 2013 archaeologists from the University of Leicester discovered the king’s remains under a municipal car park.

The decision to intern Richard in Leicester Cathedral has been challenged by the group called The Plantagenet Alliance, which in March 2014 petitioned the government to move the burial to York. They claimed that 15 members of the Alliance were descendants of Richard’s sister and, therefore, under the European Convention on Human Rights should have a say in the burial. However, a tribunal rebuffed their plea, allowing the Leicester memorial to be constructed.

The designer of the Cathedra, Francesco Draisci, said his firm was “honored to be selected to interpret this prestigious spiritual brief. We aim at creating a timeless and universal design adding dynamic richness to the eclectic Cathedral. The new Cathedra and the new Cross designs address dignity and status with rigor without being imposing, fusing together structural and ornamental concerns.”

In a statement published on the cathedral website, the Dean of Leicester, the Very Rev. David Montheith said this “striking Cathedral will communicate with great clarity the fundamental mission of the cathedral. Cathedrals in every generation are known for imaginative artistic design of great quality often breaking new imaginative ground. Through this new commission we see a faith rooted in tradition and yet reaching out with great confidence to the people of our own generation.”


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