Treasures arise from cathedral ruins

The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Christchurch, New Zealand, was severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake (CNS/David Wethey, NZPA)

Ten years on from the region’s devastating earthquake, Christchurch Diocese has discovered it is missing a pair of angels. Source: The Guardian.

As work continues to deconstruct the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament – extensively damaged in the 2011 quake, along with most of the central city – many treasures thought lost have been recovered.

Triona Doocey, archivist for the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch, has been documenting the finds on Facebook – among them, decades-old time capsules, a charity collection box full of outdated currency, and a nativity scene with the figures’ heads “taken clean off”.

But two bronze angels – in round panels set at each end of the altar in the Holy Souls Chapel and dating back to when the cathedral was first opened in 1905 – were found to have gone missing from the site when the altar was removed last month. Ms Doocey is hoping publicity will help in finding them.

The decision was made to demolish the heritage-listed basilica in 2019, with the then bishop Paul Martin citing the multi-million-dollar expense and danger of restoration. Demolition finally got under way in October last year, with an archaeologist on site to support in the retrieval of sacred or surprising objects.

Ms Doocey said that, where possible, items with liturgical use – such as an ornate monstrance stand retrieved from a safe room inside the Basilica, along with crucifixes and decorative items – would be cleaned or restored and put to use.


Christchurch: Treasures arise from cathedral ruins, 10 years after earthquake (By Elle Hunt, The Guardian

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