On Saturday 3 April (Easter Eve) Chichester Cathedral displayed a new floral installation, remembering those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the lives lost and affected in the city, Diocese and nation.
Volunteer Flower Arrangers created a beautiful calla-lily installation in the Cathedral’s Mary Magdalene Chapel in the south-eastern corner of the Cathedral. The structure mirrors the staircase in Graham Sutherland’s painting Noli me Tangere, which is located on the altar of this contemplative space. The painting depicts the moment that the risen Christ is first seen by a mortal, Mary Magdalene, who discovers the tomb lying empty and on encountering Christ resurrected, mistakes him for a gardener.
Chief Nurse Dr Maggie Davies from the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust joined the Cathedral on Saturday to lay the final flower in the installation. The Dean of Chichester, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine thanked Dr Davies and all her colleagues in the NHS for the work they have done throughout the pandemic, then blessed the finished display: this is available to watch here on the Cathedral website.
The installation in the Mary Magdalene Chapel is part of a wider temporary floral transformation of the Cathedral to mark Easter Day and resurrection. Those who do visit the Cathedral for prayer, reflection or worship are invited to take a journey of reflection, hope and potential new beginnings – told through the various installations which lead from the Nave to the Lady Chapel.
For example, the flower arrangements in the Nave which start the journey reflect the Cathedral offering security and protection with spring flowers representing new beginnings and hope. Those in the Lady Chapel, where the window above the altar tells of the Crucifixion, offer freedom and trust: when we allow, the Spirit will help us in our weakness.
Those visiting for prayer and reflection, in line with Government Guidance, are invited to see the flowers which will remain in place for the next couple of weeks.