|Where:||Salisbury, Wiltshire at the Cathedral|
|When:||Weekend nearest 6th December|
|Time:||At Evensong (times vary 3 pm - 5.30pm- double check the event website)|
St Nicholas’ Day falls on December 6th and because he is patron saint of children, it was appropriate for this to be the chosen date to elect a Boy Bishop. In the past it was a common practice in many larger churches and Cathedrals to elect a chorister to act as Bishop for a short period in advent in a typical role-reversal custom whereby masters and servants swap places. Most of these practices ceased at the reformation but the custom still takes place in revived form at Salisbury Cathedral in a ceremony reconstructed from medieval practices. The Boy Bishop wears replica episcopal robes and he leads the prayers, receives the collection and delivers his own sermon – his reign lasts for the day.
In 2016 it was on Sunday 4th December at 4.30pm – 2017 date is yet to be confirmed but will probably be Sunday 3rd.
For the very first time in 2015 it was a girl Chorister Bishop . The ceremony was on Saturday 7th December in 2013 so day of the week may vary a little from year to year.The timing of the event has also varied by a couple of hours over recent years so I’d advise it’s wise to double-check near the time as it’s easily found on the events list of the Cathedral website.
Look out for the tomb of the medieval Boy Bishop who died in office – it’s in the nave near William Longspee’s tomb.
Other Boy Bishop ceremonies exist in the UK, notably the one at Hereford (see separate article for details) but the Salisbury custom is a very well established one. All are welcome.
Click here for the Cathedral website : http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/index.php
Photo by LawrenceOP.
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