Nobody who was at the new Bishop of Winchester’s enthronement on Saturday 21st April (or indeed the dedication of the St Alphege Chapel the next day), can have missed the spectacular array of colour as the Cathedral was shown off to its best on what were, for the main, two lovely sunny days.
Complemented by exceptional floral displays were a new set of Copes, designed by the Cathedral’s Arts and Exhibitions Consultant, Sophie Hacker, who also designed the Winchester Bible Banners, from which those designs were taken.
There are twelve copes altogether so that all three Bishops, two Archdeacons, two Channel Island Deans as well as the Dean and Chapter can be uniform for special occasions, as a visible way of expressing the unity of mission and ministry of both Diocese and Cathedral.
The new Bishop was given the opportunity to select his preferred design from the 12 original images chosen for the banners and delighted to see that the prophet Jeremiah was among them. “He has become a key figure for understanding mission” said Bishop Tim. “Jeremiah often gets a bad press. But he’s actually a pioneering prophet of hope who entered into the suffering, the passion, of his people as they were sent into exile.”
The Dean said: “It could be said that the Cathedral is about gathering and the Diocese about scattering. The Cathedral gathers people together from their isolated tasks to be renewed by a sense of being part of something greater and inspired by a sense of unity and common purpose. The Diocese scatters to the towns and cities, villages and hamlets of our community to make a difference in the daily round and common task. We need both the encouragement of big occasions together when we realize that God’s love in Christ creates community and bathes us in its embrace, and also the sense of being driven by the Spirit to go out and make a difference like salt and leaven. Cathedral and Diocese are part of a single process, like the routine of breathing, which brings life to the Church. The Copes that visibly unite the leaders of Diocese and Cathedral can capture and express that synchronized movement which is different but complementary.”
And finally from Sophie Hacker: “I was delighted to be asked by the Dean and the Diocesan Secretary to create new copes for the Bishop’s enthronement. I have often suspected there was more that could be done with the images from the Winchester Bible, to celebrate their beauty, theology. and timeless grace. Working for both partners (cathedral and diocese) was a first for me, but it was a very happy experience with great good will and co-operation between all parties. Seeing the final result glowing in the sunshine of April 21st was a perfect tribute to the craftsmen of the 12th century and the possibilities of 21st century technology.”
Some additional information
The copes have been especially commissioned, jointly by the Diocese and the Cathedral, in time for the Bishop of Winchester’s Enthronement. The designs for these copes have been taken from the twelve ‘Bible Banners’ first hung in the Cathedral last year for the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, and represent text and illuminations from the 12th Century Winchester Bible. The banners and the copes were designed and project managed by the Cathedral’s Arts and Exhibitions Consultant, Sophie Hacker.
The body of the copes is made from Romsey brocade, the hoods, orphreys and stoles from a fine quality silk twill, digitally printed with images from the Winchester Bible by RA Smarts of Macclesfield, who also printed the chiffon for the banners. The copes and stoles were made by J&M Sewing, Newcastle.