Historic Vespers service at Hampton Court Palace reaches a global audience

16 February 2016

People from around the world were inspired by Faith and the Crown, an historic event on the evening of Tuesday 9 February 2016 that saw the Genesis and Choral Foundations bring together leaders from the Catholic and Anglican Church for the first service according to the Roman Catholic Latin Rite to be celebrated at Hampton Court Palace’s Chapel Royal in more than 450 years; the event received international press coverage in more than 25 countries and across all six continents. Stories of the event were featured on the front page of The New York Times, the BBC News at Ten headlines and more than 200 TV stations around the world. From London to Los Angeles, Borneo to Brazil, this monumental occasion was firmly on the world stage.

The service, recorded by BBC Radio 3 for an exclusive broadcast on Wednesday 30 March 2016, was featured widely in print, online and broadcast media, including TV exposure on ABC Australia, radio news on NPR, and features in The Telegraphthe Guardian, the Independent and The Times. Combined with active engagement on social media platforms,the result was a potential impression reach of almost three quarters of a billion people.

The Guardian:

“The scent of incense filled the air beneath the chapel’s magnificent blue and gold ceiling as a small procession made its way towards the altar. Vincent Nichols, the Catholic archbishop of Westminster, in a gold mitre and brocade robe, walked a few steps behind Richard Chartres, the Anglican bishop of London and dean of the royal chapels, in a symbolic gesture of reconciliation.” 

The New York Times:

“During the service, held in the palace’s Chapel Royal, chants in Latin from an 18-person choir swelled up toward turquoise ceilings, adorned with golden stars and gilded cherubs. Around 350 attendees were packed into tiny wooden pews.” 

The Daily Mail:

“Speaking before the service, John Studzinski, founder and chairman of the Genesis Foundation, said: ‘Dialogue between faiths is much needed and welcomed in these turbulent times. We need to recognise that we have more in common than not.” 

The Telegraph:

“In a step hailed as hailed as a landmark in reconciliation between Anglicanism the Catholicism, they joined in a service of vespers in the Chapel Royal. The service, sung mainly in Latin, was the first Roman Catholic act of worship in Henry’s former chapel in more than 450 years.”

The Washington Post:

“Around 350 people assembled on Tuesday (Feb. 9) inside the ornate palace, about 15 miles from London, as Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, led a solemn vespers service, known in the Church of England as evensong. The service was a symbolic act cementing growing ties between this country’s two leading Christian faiths, Catholicism and Anglicanism, divided since the Reformation.”

To find out more about this event, click here or watch the short film below:

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