“Diversity, Inclusion, Glory, Wholeness, Healing”
– Healing Window, Manchester Cathedral
This beautiful church was founded in the 1200s for the small medieval parish of Manchester. By 1847 it was the cathedral of an industrial city. The building has seen many changes over the years as each generation has made its mark.
The cathedral represents resilience and reconstruction. It endured vandalism in the civil wars of the 1700s, and was bombed in the Second World War. Post-war repairs took 20 years, and included replacement of the stained glass windows. A stunning new window, the Fire Window, was created, marking survival and regeneration in peacetime. In 1996 an IRA bomb devastated the city centre. The rebuilding that followed included the development of the area near the cathedral, known as the Millennium Quarter. That reconstruction is commemorated in another work of stained glass, the Healing Window. The words ‘Diversity, Inclusion, Glory, Wholeness, Healing’ are engraved under the window, celebrating the qualities of peaceful communities.
The cathedral will see further changes as the city begins work on the ‘Medieval Quarter’ development. The project will highlight historic Manchester for new generations and reflect some of the events covered in this trail – perhaps with memorials relating to peace and social justice.
The cathedral itself has witnessed some of those events: Thomas Clarkson, a key figure in the anti-slavery movement, delivered an influential sermon here in 1787. It was attended by many local people, and Clarkson wrote, ‘I was surprised also to find a great crowd of black people standing round the pulpit’. From this point, Manchester was at the forefront of campaigns to abolish the transatlantic slave trade.
In early 1939, Picasso’s famous anti-war painting ‘Guernica’ went on show in a car showroom opposite the Cathedral, where you now see a car park. Entry to the show, part of a tour to raise awareness about the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, cost sixpence. This went to Manchester Foodship for Spain, an aid agency for civilian refugees and children. Manchester’s citizens showed strong support for the Spanish Republican cause.
Today the cathedral is a peaceful haven for visitors, but also hosts many events and concerts. The nearby Manchester Buddhist Centre organises joint visits with the cathedral, to explore both buildings, their underlying history and beliefs – and how they work as places of peace.