Faith Matters

St Patrick's Cross returns to the Hill of Down

The St Patrick's Cross is a replica of one of the oldest high crosses in Ireland, three fragments of which are on display in the entrance porch of Down Cathedral

AN imposing St Patrick's Cross stands once more on the Hill of Down in the grounds of Down Cathedral, against the backdrop of the Mourne Mountains.

It is a replica of one of the oldest high crosses in Ireland, three fragments of which are on display in the entrance porch of the cathedral.

The original dates from the late 8th century and was most likely erected alongside one of the first monasteries on the Hill of Down.

Drawings from the early 19th century also place part of the cross at the traditional site of St Patrick's grave before the large granite stone was placed there.

The replica was crafted by McConnell's of Kilkeel and, like the original, is carved out of Mourne granite.

The cross, which weighs 5 tonnes and stands at 4.7m high, was dedicated during a interdenominational service, held in bright sunshine at the end of August.

Church of Ireland Bishop of Down and Dromore Harold Miller and Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor place their palms in a hand-shaped depression on the base of St Patrick's Cross as a symbol of the centrality of the cross to Christianity

St Patrick's Cross stands on the Hill of Down in front of Down Cathedral in Downpatrick

Bishop Harold Miller and Bishop Noel Treanor were joined by Bishop Grant LeMarquand, pictured left, the former bishop for the Horn of Africa, who was visiting Down and Dromore, at the ceremony. Dean of Down, the Rev Henry Hull, is pictured right

Dean of Down, the Rev Henry Hull, pictured at the cross

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