Chester Cathedral is the mother church of the Diocese – a Christian community encompassing 273 parishes – and the seat of the Bishop of Chester. Despite being one of the most important medieval buildings in the north west of England, the Cathedral has a problem with visibility. Visitors – both tourists and worshippers – to our building are often unsure about where to find us, what we do, and whether they can come in.
The Pilgrim Porch will address these issues of visibility. As part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, this project will see a set of interior transparent doors being installed at the west end of Chester Cathedral in 2022. Once complete, the Pilgrim Porch will allow our arresting medieval wooden doors to remain open to the city, and allow a view of the interior of the Cathedral church from the outside: reinforcing the idea that we are an open, welcoming Church, guided by the mission ‘Discovery, Encounter, Faith’.
The relationship between Cathedral and Diocese is at the heart of this project. Artist Stephen Broadbent – renowned for his sculpture and artwork across the country, and in Chester for The Celebration and The Water of Life, located in Chester Town Square and Chester Cathedral Cloister Garden, respectively – has designed the sculptural bronze porch with ceremonial glass which will feature, etched in the design of a labyrinth, images significant to churches across the diocese. As visitors gaze on our impressive church interior, they will get a sense of the communities across Cheshire invested in heritage and faith and will begin their own journey of pilgrimage in Chester Cathedral.
The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford
Dean of Chester