19 June 2011

Trinity Sunday in Christ Church Cathedral

The Trinity, Doménikos Theotokópoulos, now in The Prado in Madrid

Patrick Comerford

Today is Trinity Sunday, and today [Sunday his is being celebrated as the Patronal Festival in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.

The official name of the cathedral is the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity – similarly, in Waterford the official name of Christ Church Cathedral is the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Trinity. On the other hand, Downpatrick Cathedral is the Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Cathedral, while Lisburn Cathedral is officially Christ Church Cathedral.

For both Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, and Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford, Trinity Sunday is the patronal festival.

The preacher at this morning’s Choral Eucharist in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, is the Revd David McDonnell, curate in the cathedral group of parishes. The setting is the Messe Solennelle by the French composer Louis Vierne (1870-1937), who was born almost blind.

The Communion Motet is Maurice Duruflé’s Tantum ergo sacramentum

Duruflé was present at Vierne’s death in Paris on 2 June 1937. Vierne suffered either a stroke or a heart attack while he giving his 1,750th organ recital at Notre-Dame de Paris.

Vierne had completed the main concert, and directly after he had finished playing his Stele pour un enfant defunt from his Triptyque Op 58, the closing section was to be two improvisations on submitted themes. After reading the first theme in Braille, he the stops he would use for the improvisation. But suddenly, he pitched forward, fell off the bench as his foot hit the low “E” pedal of the organ, and lost consciousness as the single note echoed through the cathedral.

In this way, he fulfilled was said to be his lifelong dream – to die at the console of the great organ of Notre-Dame. Duruflé, time was at his side as Vierne died.

After the Sung Eucharist, the Friends of Christ Church Cathedral have organized a Salmon and Strawberry Lunch in the cathedral crypt, followed by the annual general meeting of the Friends in the Chapter Room.


Almighty and everlasting God, you have given us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity: keep us steadfast in this faith, that we may evermore be defended from all adversities; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Isaiah 40: 12-17, 27-31; Psalm 8; II Corinthians 13: 11-13; Matthew 28.16-20.

Post Communion Prayer:

Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love: hold us firm in this faith, that we may know you in all your ways and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory, who are three Persons yet one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.

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