Durham Cathedral’s annual St. Cuthbert’s Festival returns for the first time since 2020 with two days of celebrations to mark the occasion.
A program of services and special events to celebrate the beloved saint of northern England will take place on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th March. Free family activities will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, with the opportunity to enjoy clay cross-making, walk-in storytelling sessions, and a trail around the cathedral encouraging young visitors to find St Cuthbert’s cross.
The annual St Cuthbert Pilgrimage Walk also returns on Saturday 19th March, starting from Finchale Priory. While on the saint’s day itself, Friday March 18, there will be a special evening service, including a procession to St Cuthbert’s County at 6 p.m.
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The special service will be sung by the Durham Cathedral Choir and conducted by the Reverend Canon Angela Tilby, writer and broadcaster and Canon Emeritus of Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford. This service is open to everyone, but free tickets must be pre-booked on the Durham Cathedral website.
Reverend Canon Charlie Allen, Canon Chancellor of Durham Cathedral, said: “We are delighted to see St Cuthbert’s Festival celebrations return to what they were before the pandemic, as we know many of our worshipers and visitors are too. All are welcome to join the pilgrimage walk, meet at 1pm at Finchale Priory ready to depart at 1.30pm.
The walk signifies the arrival of St Cuthbert’s body which was brought to Durham after a long search for a final resting place, following the Viking raid on Lindisfarne in 793. It was the first time the Vikings had attacked a monastic site in Britain, and the attack was a major shock to medieval Christians.
Canon Charlie said: “We know this festival is very special to people in Durham and the North East, so we encourage as many people as possible to join us. For those who prefer a shorter route, they can join the final leg of the pilgrimage from Durham Market, where we’ll walk up the hill to the cathedral arriving around 3.30pm in time for a special sung Eucharist at 4pm.”
The Pilgrimage Eucharist in honor of St Cuthbert will be sung by Durham Cathedral Choir and Newcastle Cathedral Choir and will celebrate those who have walked from Finchale Priory to complete their journey of faith.
To find out more about St Cuthbert’s Festival at Durham Cathedral, including how to book tickets and take part in the celebrations, visit this link.