Spectacular images have emerged of an 800-year-old cathedral illuminated by nearly 1,500 candles as part of a moving and intimate service marking the start of Christmas.
Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire celebrated the start of advent with a ceremony titled From Darkness to Light, last night.
The centuries old building saw the lights switched off for a magical evening of choir boys singing in chorus while holding flickering candles around 7pm.
Once everyone was seated, the silent cathedral was plunged into total darkness for about a minute before being broken by a single flame at the spire.
Choir boys were pictured walking down the cathedral’s aisle, clutching towering candles, wearing choir dress and singing in unison.
Meanwhile bishops stood at the far side of the cathedral and were perfectly framed by candles as they chanted.
Crowds filed into the cathedral transformed into a sea of light where Bible readings and carols took place, and were guided through traditional songs.
The service has historically reached a crescendo with a rendition of Fantasia and Fuge in G minor by J S Bach on the organ.
Around 1,700 worshippers queue for hours to see the beautiful spectacle, according to Inside Wiltshire.
The cathedral wanted to end the year on a bright note and ‘took it one step further’ by trying to ‘visualise From Darkness to Light’, Jacquiline Creswell, Salisbury Cathedral’s visual arts adviser, told the Salisbury Journal last year, when they created its name.
Last year’s ceremony, named after the ‘long and exhausting year’, included a giant white globe hoisted from the ceiling at one end of the historic cathedral.
Dean of Salisbury the Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos, wanted to reflect how 2018 tested ‘our resolve and our resilience’ after Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia survived being poisoned with Novichok in the city.
And this year’s advent is is expected to take place at 7pm tonight and 5pm tomorrow, with doors opening one hour early.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Phoebe Eckersley