Cathedral advocates 'appalled' at comparisons
A call by the world's most senior Anglican bishop for Christchurch to stop clinging to the past has been criticised by those fighting to save the city's earthquake-damaged cathedral.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby made the comments during a visit to Auckland last week, saying the city should not "be boring" and should look to England's Coventry Cathedral as something to aspire to.
Coventry Cathedral had incorporated the ruins of the city's old cathedrals when they were destroyed by time and war.
Great Christchurch Buildings Trust member and retired reverend Graeme Brady said he was always moved by the old ruins, but the rest of the cathedral had dated very quickly.
It was a shame Coventry's authorities had "completely wiped out" all of the city's old buildings and replaced them with a "concrete mess".
"It really is an awful city. For the archbishop to hold up Coventry as an example is strange. He's obviously shooting from the hip."
The Anglican diocese in Christchurch has said it wants to demolish the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral and build a contemporary replacement on the site within 10 years.
Brady said the "stupid thing" was that the cathedral could easily be restored.
"I want to see a cathedral that works and the one we had was quite OK. It's not just a religious thing, it embodies Canterbury, it's part of who we are."
Brady said the silence from New Zealand's own archbishops on the cathedral issue had been "deafening."
"They've kept their nose out of it, so it's a pity the Archbishop of Canterbury couldn't do the same."
Other Christchurch residents also expressed concerns about Welby's comments.
In a letter to The Press, Riccarton woman Ella Harris said she was "appalled" the archbishop would compare Christchurch to Coventry.
"With respect, he obviously does not know that our Anglican Bishop, unwilling to compromise, wishes to consign our so-called 'ruins' to the rubbish heap," she wrote.
Tony Jarvis wrote on press.co.nz that Christ Church Cathedral was an "irreplaceable icon".
"I think if we go by the Cardboard Cathedral anything new will be boring."
- The city has had three cathedrals, with the most recent incorporating the ruins of the previous building.
- Coventry's first cathedral was St Mary's, an monastic building founded in the 12th century, but it was destroyed during Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries during the 16th century.
- The 14th-century Gothic St Michael's followed, but was left a ruined shell by bombing during World War II.
- Construction of a new St Michael's Cathedral began in 1956, and the building was consecrated in 1962.