DURHAM Cathedral will be shrouded in darkness on Monday night, recalling the words of British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
The event is part of a national campaign which is urging millions of individuals, households and companies to turn off their lights between 10pm and 11pm Monday, leaving only a single light or candle for a symbolic act of reflection.
The cathedral’s electric lights will be slowly dimmed throughout the evening until 11pm, when complete darkness will fall to mark the exact time war was declared a century before.
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There will then be a few minutes of quiet reflection, before an Easter candle is lit and the lights brought up as a sign of hope and thanksgiving for peace.
Prayers will be offered for places across the world suffering conflict today.
The commemoration will begin at 6.30pm. A short reflection including poetry and prayer will take place every 30 minutes, after which a candle will be extinguished.
The cathedral will host a vigil, throughout which sub-organist Francesca Massey will play music with wartime connections including Herbert Howells’ Rhapsody No 3 in C sharp minor, which he composed while being kept awake by a Zeppelin raid over York, and Max Reger’s Trauerode, which is dedicated to ‘The Fallen of the War’.
The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, the Dean of Durham, who will open and close the vigil, said: “This vigil is a time for quiet reflection and prayer, marking one of the most solemn moments in our history.
“We hope that people will join us in remembering those who fought for our freedom and praying for those parts of the world where conflict continues to have a devastating impact.”
A prayer route has been devised leading around the cathedral, starting at its war memorial and taking in the Durham Light Infantry Chapel and First World War memorial, which is outside.
The cathedral will be open to the public for prayer and lighting candles until 11.15pm.