Festival of 9 Lessons and Carols
We invite you to share with us this traditional and much-loved Christmas celebration!
Please note that this service will start at 3pm on Sunday 17th December
The story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus is told in nine short Bible readings, interspersed with the singing of your favourite Christmas carols, and some uplifting choir pieces.
As with all Cathedral services, there will refreshments for all in the Cathedral afterwards
The Dean of King's College, Cambridge, Eric Milner-White, introduced their Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve 1918, His experiences as an Army Chaplain during the First World War made him realise that a different type of Christmas service was needed, to reach out to the bereaved and wounded people who had suffered so much during the years of conflict, and for whom Christmas could not possibly be a happy time - but rather a reminder of all they had lost.
The BBC first broadcast the service from King's in 1928 and with the exception of 1930, it has been broadcast every single year since then, and is now enjoyed by audiences all over the world.
The original service was, in fact, adapted from an Order drawn up by E.W. Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury, for use in the wooden shed, which then served as his cathedral in Truro, at 10 pm on Christmas Eve 1880. AC Benson recalled: ‘My father arranged from ancient sources a little service for Christmas Eve – nine carols and nine tiny lessons, which were read by various officers of the Church, beginning with a chorister, and ending, through the different grades, with the Bishop.’ The suggestion had come from GHS. Walpole, later Bishop of Edinburgh.
Location: St German's Cathedral