First World War centenary in York: Special service at the Minster

york-minster-kings-book-of-heroes
The King’s Book of Heroes in York Minster’s Treasury

York Minster will hold an evening service and vigil of prayer to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War on Monday, August 4, 1914.

The Minster’s service on Monday, August 4, 2014 will start at 8pm, and include prayers, readings, poems and music reflecting on the events that led to the conflict that destroyed so many lives.

The service will be conducted by Canon Pastor Michael Smith.

About St John’s Chapel

St John’s Chapel was originally dedicated as the Chapel of St Michael on 9 May 1925.

It was the second of three war-memorial chapels (All Saint’s was first in 1923 and St George’s was third in 1926) created within the Minster as a result of the First World War.

It is the chapel of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

The dedication was changed to St John the Evangelist in 1945 when the glass from St John’s Micklegate was put in.

As the service progresses, the Minster will move from light into darkness as the candles in the Nave will be gradually extinguished.

At about 8.50pm the final two candles will be taken from the Nave Altar and carried to St John’s Chapel where they will be placed on the altar.

At the end of the service at 9pm, the congregation and members of the public will be invited into St John’s Chapel for a vigil of prayer until 11pm – the exact hour at which war was declared 100 hundred years ago.

The final two candles will be extinguished at that moment.

Commenting on the service, said that the solemn and reflective nature of the event will provide a poignant reminder of the loss of a generation and the tragedy of war.

“York Minster’s service is part of a national commemoration marking a significant date in the history of our country and the world,” said Canon Smith.

“The effects of that war can still be felt today – the roots of so many modern conflicts can be found in the First World War.

“The service and vigil of prayer will provide a space for solemn reflection and remembrance of the suffering, sacrifice and courage of those caught up in those terrible events.”