Tuesday, 5 March 2013


This letter appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Cathedral will never be a "den of thieves"
I read with concern two contrasting letters in the Mercury about Leicester Cathedral (Mailbox, March 1).
The first was from Ann Stones about the "vintage fair" which takes place in the cathedral three or four times a year ("Inappropriate use for our cathedral").
The cathedral is, first and foremost, a house of prayer and sanctuary for all who wish to use it.
If people wish to come to pray when another event is happening, we make it clear to the organisers of the event (if there is a charge for admittance) there should be free admission for those who wish to enter to pray.
I apologise if this was not made clear to Ann Stones.
We also have a chaplain and other cathedral staff available during these events, should people wish to have a spiritual conversation with them.
Guild churches, such as St Martins, and cathedrals have always been used for a variety of events and we hope this helps a wide range of people to see it as "their cathedral", a place where all are welcome.
As well as its primary purpose for worship and prayer, the cathedral hosts lectures, concerts, organ recitals and is part of the Leicester Comedy Festival.
We have run series of silent films, a food fair and events associated with the Castle Park Festival among many other events.
We believe that whatever takes place in the cathedral is legal and honest and far from the type of corrupt and exploitative abuse of religion that led Jesus to drive the money changers and other merchants from the Temple in Jerusalem – those who had turned it into a "den of thieves".
Bill Merry wrote about the possibility of Richard III being reinterred in the proposed Cathedral Gardens instead of within the cathedral ("Memorial should be in the open").
Leicester Cathedral is open to the public every day from 8am to 6pm.
As Richard III was a Christian believer, and following the precedence for the burial of monarchs in this land, it seems most appropriate his final resting place should be in a place of Christian worship. We do not charge for entering the cathedral, nor will we do so, though the costs of keeping the cathedral open are nowhere near met by the voluntary giving of visitors, as generous as this sometimes is.
Barry Naylor, Acting Dean of Leicester

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