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Saturday, 10 December 2011

Lucia in St Paul's Cathedral

Diocese in Europe parishioners in Sweden will certainly be familiar with the Sankta Lucia service. In London, the Swedish Church and Swedish community continues the tradition and shares it with the English. Indeed, the event is a highlight of the Advent season in the city. This year the service was held in St Paul's Cathedral, where the Cathedral choir joined with the 50 voice Ulrika Eleanora Church Choir from the Swedish Church in Marylebone. As a sign of our close links through the Porvoo Agreement, I was invited to be present for this service in a packed St Paul's.

The beautiful service of readings, hymns and carols, in Swedish and English, comes to a climax with the appearance of Lucia, dressed in a white gown, crowned with candles and a red ribbon of martyrdom around her waist. St Lucia, whose feast day is 13 December, (formerly the Midwinter or longest night of the year in the Old Swedish calendar), was a martyr in Syracuse, Sicily in 304.

The Swedish Dean and Rector in London, the Revd Michael Persson, prays "May this Lucia celebration inspire us to receive the light, which is Christ, into our hearts this Christmas and to pass it on to everyone we meet in 2012".

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