07 June 2024

Franz Kafka, his Jewish
background in Prague
and his Jewish influences,
100 years after his death

Franza Kafka died 100 years ago … centenary exhibitions in Oxford and Prague offer new opportunities to reassess his Jewish self-understanding (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Patrick Comerford

Today is the 1st of Sivan in the Hebrew calendar, which makes today the 100th anniversary in the Jewish calendar of the death of Franz Kafka, the author of The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle and Amerika. Two major exhibitions have opened in the past week to mark the centenary of the death of Franz Kafka, who died 100 years ago on 3 June 1924, just a month short of his 41st birthday.

Franz Kafka is one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, and the University of Oxford is celebrating his life and work, with a series of academic and public events that explores his global appeal. The #OxfordKafka24 programme includes a new exhibition at the Bodleian’s Weston Library, ‘Kafka: Making of Icon’. The exhibition opened last week (30 May), and continues until 27 October 2024.

‘The vision of Kafka’s shadow’ is a new exhibition in the Jerusalem Synagogue in Prague. It reflects on his work through the work of 11 selected Czech photographers and artists, and offers new perspectives on the complex world of the writer. The exhibition opened on Monday (3 June), and continues until the end of the year (31 December).

The exhibition in Oxford shows Kafka’s original notebooks, drawings, diaries, letters, postcards, glossaries and photographs. The highlights are the manuscripts of two of his unfinished novels, Das Schloss (The Castle) and Der Verschollene (Amerika), as well as a number of short stories.

To encourage students and the public to engage with his work, a new limited-edition imprint of The Metamorphosis from Oxford University Press is being given to every Oxford student and is being distributed to schools and libraries.

Four Oxford professors have created a lecture and events programme exploring Kafka’s legacy from the perspectives of their different disciplines. It is curious that, at this stage, the programmes do not appear to address Kafka’s Jewish background, influences and legacy.

So, to what degree did Kafka’s Jewish background influence his life story, his writing and his thinking?

‘The vision of Kafka’s shadow’ is a new exhibition in the Jerusalem Synagogue in Prague

Franz Kafka was born on 3 July 1883 in Prague, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, into a middle-class Ashkenazi Jewish family. His father Hermann Kafka (1852-1931) was a businessman; his mother, Julie (1856-1934), was a daughter of Jakob Löwy, a brewer in Poděbrady.

Prague was then a cultural crossroads but was also steeped in Jewish learning and writing. The first Jews in Prague are recorded in the tenth century, and among the myths and legends that developed in the centuries that followed, the myth of Rabbi Loew and the Golem is probably the best known.

The Golem was said to live in the attic of the Old-New Synagogue, sometimes said to be the place where Franz Kafka had his bar mitzvah (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

By Kafka’s time, Central European Jewry had become almost wholly assimilated, and the Kafka family clung to Jewish traditions in a merely superficial way. Even Kafka’s mother, who came from a more orthodox background than his father, made no great effort to cherish Jewish ways.

The Kafka family were mainly what were known as ‘four-day Jews’ who went to the synagogue only four times a year: on the major Jewish holidays and on the Emperor Franz Joseph’s birthday. They were not familiar with Hebrew liturgical texts, and wished to conform in every way to their non-Jewish surroundings in Prague, where their complex identity matrix was further complicated by tensions between Czech and German identities.

Franz Kafka was born in U Radnice 5 at the north-east corner of the Old Town Square in Prague. The house, which later burnt down, was on the edge of Josefov, the Jewish quarter in Prague.

Kafka spent much time in the Old Town Square and the neighbouring streets. When he was a ten-year-old age, he took lessons in a German grammar school at the Kinsky Palace, and he also once lived in a house beside the Astronomical Clock.

An old photograph of the Zigeuner Synagogue was where Franz Kafka had his bar mitzvah in 1896 … it was demolished in 1906

Franz Kafka hated the small amounts of Jewish culture he was exposed to at a young age, including his own bar mitzvah. He had his bar mitzvah at the Zigeuner-Synagoge in Prague in June 1896, although many tour guides say it took place in the Old-New Synagogue, or ‘Altneuschul’, which dates from 1270 and is the oldest landmark in the Jewish town in Prague – it is also the supposed haunt of the Golem.

The invitations to the bar mitzvah sent out by Hermann Kafka refer to his son’s ‘confirmation’. The Zigeuner Synagogue (Gypsy Synagogue) was built ca 1613 and named after its founder, Solomon Salkind-Cikán or Salkind Zigeuner. After a fire in 1689, it was rebuilt on a larger scale in 1701. It was destroyed by fire again in 1754, and was rebuilt once more in 1755. It was demolished in 1906, ten years after Kafka’s Bar Mitzvah, during the urban renewal of Prague’s Jewish Town, along with the Velkodvorska and New synagogues. The three older synagogues were replaced by the Jubilee Synagogue, built on Jerusalem Street in 1906.

Franz Kafka Street in the heart of the Old Town in Prague (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

In his formative and mature years, Franz Kafka developed a growing interest in his Jewish roots. His animosity towards his father and his family may explain the interest he developed in his Jewish heritage. His diaries give a full picture of his complex, contradictory relationship with Judaism.

For a writer known for his depictions of loneliness, alienation and inflexible bureaucracy, Kafka often saw in Judaism an opportunity to forge a shared community.

This interest in his own Jewishness introduced him to Martin Buber (1878-1965), then recognised as an authority on Hasidic legends and Jewish folklore. He felt drawn to Jews who had maintained their cultural identity, among them the leader of a Yiddish acting group from Poland.

Kafka was fascinated by the members of this group with their firm faith and their resistance to absorption or assimilation. The Jewish establishment in Prague despised travelling actors, and the largely assimilated German-speaking Jewish population in Prague tended to look down on poorer, Yiddish-speaking Eastern European Jews.

Kafka argued about this with his father, and in his diary, he records his father’s prejudices towards the company’s lead actor, Jizchak Löwy: ‘My father about him: He who lies down in bed with dogs gets up with bugs.’

He saw the travelling Yiddish theatre troupe perform almost two dozen times in 1911. He developed a close friendship with the company’s lead actor, Jizchak Löwy, and organised evenings of reading Yiddish literature and recitation events where Löwy performed stories of Jewish life in Warsaw.

Later, writing about a Yiddish play he found particularly moving, Kafka reflected on its depiction of ‘people who are Jews in an especially pure form, because they live only in the religion but live in it without effort, understanding or misery.’

Franz Kafka’s Hebrew workbooks among the exhibits in ‘Kafka: Making of Icon’, the current exhibition in the Bodleian’s Weston Library, Oxford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

At that time, Kafka also began studying Hebrew. As late as 1921, however, he still complained about having no firm knowledge of Jewish history and religion. He felt an affinity with the Chassidic tradition, and he admired their ardent faith and the way they cherished their legacy, traditions and customs.

He took a particular interest in Zionism, the movement founded by Theodor Herzl, and supported the formation of a Jewish state, although , but sickness prevented him from pursuing his ideas about emigrating to Palestine and to live the life of a simple artisan there. He wrote for a Zionist magazine, planned several trips to Palestine, although they never materialised, and was most enthusiastic about the new kibbutzim.

Kafka’s friend Max Brod influenced his views on Zionism, but he was also influenced by his Hebrew teacher, the writer Friedrich Thieberger (1888-1958), a friend and student of Martin Buber. Thieberger emphasised Jewish responsibility for the whole world and believed that everybody is witness to everybody else.

A year before his death, he started attending the Berlin Academy of Jewish Studies. That year (1923), he met and fell in love with Dora Diamant, who taught him Hebrew. She was the daughter of an Orthodox rabbi and from a Chassidic background. Their relationship intensified his search for and his love of his Jewish roots.

The Jerusalem Synagogue in Prague is hosting a Kafka centenary exhibition that opened this week (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Growing up, Kafka was ashamed of his own body – thin and too tall, large ears, an aquiline nose, and dark, protruding eyes – which reflected stereotypical images of central European Jews. In one letter, he shared the shame he felt every time he had to undress at the swimming pool and expose his scrawny and frail body.

According to Professor Michael Gluzman, ‘Kafka felt he was a stranger inside in his own body. He saw himself as a corpse floating in the river and felt mortally ill many years before he contracted tuberculosis.’

Kafka’s writings are filled with stories of the human body being transformed into other animals: a man who turns into a dog (Investigations of a Dog), a mouse (Josephine the Singer), a monkey (A Report to an Academy) or a large insect (The Metamorphosis).

The Metamorphosis tells of a man who is transformed into a bug and then is rejected harshly by his family. The opening sentence of The Metamorphosis is one of the most familiar in modern literature: ‘As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed into a gigantic insect.’

Like the Golem, this new creature is a frightful creation of the human imagination, embodying our fears about ourselves and about how others perceive us. But the transformation of Gregor Samsa is not an illusion, allegory or nightmare, but a realistic story, confronting real fears.

The transformed creature is often depicted as a cockroach, but the German word used by Kafka could be translated as insect or vermin. As antisemitism increased in German-speaking states and throughout central Europe in the decades that unfolded, the German words for vermin and cockroach were thrown around by Nazis to refer to Jews.

The creature that becomes the new reality of Gregor’s existence also represents Kafka’s own fears of the responses of his family and wider society as he takes on the mantle of the Jewish identity he is exploring and rediscovering. As Kafka explores his Jewishness, contemplates living within his Jewish body, he faces isolation from his own assimilated family, who go on with their ordinary lives, and rejection from wider society in German-speaking Prague, which he fears is going to see him as a cockroach or vermin.

The film Nosferatu was first screened in Germany a decade later. It is about an ugly vampire with a mouse-like face, crooked nose and dark eyes, dressed in long black outer clothes, who sucks the blood of fair-skinned Aryan girls.

Julius Streicher, later the chief editor of Der Stürmer, the Nazi propaganda newspaper, attended the premiere of the film. Captivated by the Jewish image of the vampire, Streicher went to the cinema every day. His impressions were translated into caricatures of vampires of Jewish origin in his newspaper. The transition to the image of an insect or a vermin did not take long.

Did Kafka see the rise of antisemitism in the central Europe … an image in ‘Kafka: Making of Icon’ in Oxford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Was Kafka ahead of his time?

Was The Metamorphosis an inadvertent glimpse into the fate of the assimilated Western Jew – the Westjuden?

Did Jewish assimilation and integration into European life cause him to fall into a deep slumber that he woke up one morning perspiring, only to discover that he was regarded as an insect or vermin?

Franz Kafka’s grave in the new Jewish cemetery in Prague … an imagine in the Kafka exhibition in Oxford (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Like so many Jews in Prague, Kafka’s three sisters, Ottla, Elli and Valli, were deported by the Nazis and murdered during the Holocaust.

Ottilie ‘Ottla’ Kafka (1892-1943), his youngest and favourite sister, was probably the relative closest to him and supported him in difficult times. She was sent to the concentration camp at Terezin. From there, Ottla accompanied a group of children from the Bialystock ghetto as a voluntary assistant on 5 October 1943. When the transport reached Auschwitz two days later, all were murdered in the gas chambers.

His other sisters, Gabriele ‘Ellie’ Hermann or Hermannová (1889-1942) and Valerie ‘Valli’ Pollak (1890-1942), were sent with their families to the Łódź Ghetto. Valli was probably murdered in autumn 1942 in the Chełmno extermination camp; Elli was probably murdered in the Kulmhof extermination camp in autumn 1942.

His uncle, Dr Siegfried Löwy, his mother’s brother, lived in Třešt' for 25 years. Kafka visited him regularly, and he may have been the inspiration for Kafka’s short story The Country Doctor (1919). Löwy went to visit Kafka on his sick bed in Berlin in early 1924. In the summer of 1925, a year after Kafka’s death, the doctor retired, left Třešt' and moved to Prague. He died by suicide on 20 October 1942, just before he was to be deported to Terezín.

Other members of the Kafka family who were murdered by the Nazis include his cousin, Georg Kafka (1921-1944), a poet and playwright. He was born in 1921 in Teplitz-Schönau (now Teplice, ‎Czech Republic). In 1942, he was interned at Terezin, where he began writing poetry. There he wrote the ‎poem ‘Segen der Nacht’ (Blessing of the Night) in German in 1943.‎

Georg Kafka’s father died in Terezin in March 1944, and Georg’s mother was assigned to a transport on 15 May 1944. Not wanting her to be alone, Georg volunteered to join the transport. She was murdered when she arrived at Auschwitz, while Georg was later sent to the camp at Schwarzheide, where he was murdered at the end of 1944.

Jaroslav Rona’s statue of Franz Kafka Street beside the Spanish Synagogue in Prague (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

About five minutes away from Old Town Square, a sculpture outside the Spanish Synagogue in Prague is inspired by Kafka’s short story, ‘Description of a Struggle.’ Jaroslav Rona’s sculpture depicts a small man in a suit on the shoulders of a large empty suit. This image represents the narrator of the story riding on the back of the acquaintance.

Today, the Golem and Kafka are the two major tourism attractions in Prague. This year’s centenary promises to heighten the interest not only in Kafka and the Golem, but also of the story and contribution of the Jewish community in Prague.

May his memory be a blessing, זיכרונו לברכה

Shabbat Shalom, שבת שלום

Images from ‘Kafka: Making of Icon’, the current exhibition in the Bodleian’s Weston Library, Oxford (Patrick Comerford, 2024)

Daily prayer in Ordinary Time 2024:
29, 7 June 2024

The Priory Church of the Holy Trinity, Micklegate, is the only monastic building in York to have survived as a regular place of worship (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

The week began with the First Sunday after Trinity (Trinity I, 2 June 2024). In the week after Trinity Sunday, I illustrated my prayers and reflections with images and memories of six churches, chapels and monasteries in Greece I know that are dedicated to the Holy Trinity. I am continuing that theme this week with images from churches, chapels or cathedral in England that are dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

StonyLive!, a celebration of the cultural talent in and around Stony Stratford, began on Saturday and continues until next Sunday (9 June). The StonyLive! Programme continues today with a number of creative events at venues throughout Stony Stratford.

I am in Dublin later today. But, before today begins, I am taking some quiet time this morning to give thanks, for reflection, prayer and reading in these ways:

1, today’s Gospel reading;

2, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary;

3, the Collects and Post-Communion prayer of the day.

Inside the Priory Church of the Holy Trinity, Micklegate, facing east (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Mark 12: 35-37 (NRSVUE):

35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? 36 David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet” .’
37 “David himself calls him Lord, so how can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.

Inside the Priory Church of the Holy Trinity, Micklegate, facing west (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Priory Church of the Holy Trinity, Micklegate, York:

The Priory Church of the Holy Trinity, Micklegate, is one of the three surviving mediaeval churches on Micklegate in York. Today, Holy Trinity Church is only about half the length and width of the church before the dissolution of the monastic houses at the Tudor Reformation, but it is the only monastic building in York to have survived as a regular place of worship.

Holy Trinity Church predates the Norman Conquest and is recorded by 1066 as a church dedicated to Christ Church supported by a community of secular priests or canons.

Christ Church was a collegiate church on a large site at the highest and most central point of the walled enclosure on the west bank of the Ouse. This mirrors the similar prominent position of York Minster on the east bank of the Ouse, and the two communities were the only collegiate churches in the city before the Norman Conquest.

Both sites were of great importance in the Roman town plan: the Minster at the centre of the former walled garrison and Christ Church at the centre of the prosperous civilian town or colonia, the centre of administration for the Roman province of Britannia Inferior.

Christ Church (or Holy Trinity) may have been founded at about the same time as York Minster in the first phase of the conversion of Northumbria to Christianity in the seventh century and was a major Anglican minster. Some suggest it was the site of Alma Sophia, a sister church to York Minster founded in 780.

The early Christ Church may have been part of a single larger ecclesiastical enclosure covering over eight acres. This enclosure may have contained a cluster of chapels around an early church foundation, including Saint Mary Bishophill Junior and two small churches between the Roman road and Micklegate – Saint Gregory in Micklegate and All Saints in North Street.

Christ Church was listed in the Domesday Book in 1086 as one of five great northern churches, together with the minsters of Beverley, Durham and Ripon, as well as York Minster, and they were exempt from paying customary dues to either the king or the earl. But Christ Church was described as ‘a ruined and poverty stricken church.’

The church was re-founded ca 1089 as a Benedictine priory by Ralph Paynel and dedicated to the Holy Trinity. It was under the care of the Benedictine Abbey of Marmoutier in Normandy, and the French monks who rebuilt the church became known as the ‘Alien’ Benedictines.

A double church was built, with one half (Holy Trinity) providing a place of worship for the monastic community and a second (Saint Nicholas) serving the parish. However, almost no evidence survives of the early churches on the site. The re-foundation of Christ Church as a Benedictine priory contributed to a general reform of a new parochial system completed in York by the 1230s.

The nave pillars in the south aisle date from the 13th century. The pillars in the north wall, also from the 13th century, indicate there was once a north aisle. The nave is all that remains of the original monastic church, although it has been much reduced in height and width over the centuries.

A beautiful 13th century Bestiary, or Book of Beasts, was produced by the Benedictine monks of Holy Trinity, and is now in Saint John’s College, Oxford.

York’s mediaeval Mystery Plays began each year outside the gateway of Holy Trinity and for generations the scripts for the plays were kept there. This was an annual theatrical spectacle, and the plays were performed by the guilds or trades of York to tell Bible stories.

The Guild of Corpus Christi was one of the greatest of these guilds. Its shrine was in Holy Trinity until 1431, when it was moved to the civic chapel of Saint William on Ouse Bridge at the foot of Micklegate. A Corpus Christi procession was held in York from at least 1366, and the guild may have been in existence by 1388.

The procession was the focus of the mystery plays. It started at Holy Trinity Church and continued down Micklegate over Ouse Bridge along Coney Street and up Stonegate to York Minster. This processional route, also used for royal processional entries to the city, and linked the sites of the two great pre-Conquest Minster churches in York.

The High Altar, reredos and east window in the Priory Church of the Holy Trinity, Micklegate (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The feast of Corpus Christi and the popularity of the guild increased in the early 15th century, following the execution of Archbishop Richard Scrope for his role in an uprising against Henry IV in 1405. Although he was never formally canonised, he was venerated in York as Saint Richard. A chapel containing a reliquary of his severed head was built where he was executed in the fields of Clementhorpe, near Micklegate.

Scrope had strong associations with Micklegate. His family owned Saint Martin’s Church in Micklegate, which was rebuilt 20 years after his death, possibly incorporating a shrine to Richard.

The growth of the guild was boosted by its association with Scrope’s cult and a wooden cup blessed by Scrope was bequeathed to the Guild of Corpus Christi in Holy Trinity Church in 1413.

Historians discuss whether there was a separate church dedicated to Saint Nicholas or if this was an altar dedicated to Saint Nicholas in the nave of Holy Trinity. The parishioners of Saint Nicholas built a stone belfry tower above the Saint Nicholas Chapel in 1453.

Holy Trinity continued to serve as a parish church throughout the Middle Ages, and wealthy parishioners founded chantries in the church. When the priory was dissolved with the other monastic houses in 1538, the parishioners continued to worship in the nave, which survived as a parish church.

The central tower collapsed in a great storm in 1551. The chancel of the former priory church was demolished, the stone was used to repair the city walls and Ouse Bridge, and the nave was restored but reduced in size.

For about 200 years from 1700, many of the sisters from the Bar Convent were buried in the churchyard and the chancel. The stocks in the churchyard date from the 18th century.

An 18th century memorial commemorates Dr John Burton, who wrote a two-volume book on monasteries in York. He was lampooned in Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (1760) as Dr Slop.

The south aisle was rebuilt in 1850-1851 by JB and W Atkinson of York. A new aisle, 3 metres (10 ft) wide and 18 metres (60 ft) long was added on the south side by opening the original arcades, and new pews were installed throughout the church.

The chancel and vestry were rebuilt in 1886-1887 by the York architects Charles Fisher and William Hepper. The chancel was rebuilt on the site of the central tower of the former monastery church, and truncated remnants of the 12th century masonry piers can still be seen. The chancel was 12 metres (38 ft) long and 7 metres (23 ft) wide, and included a new vestry and organ chamber.

The east window and the reredos depict saints associated with York and the north of England. The panels of the reredos flanking the central scene of the Supper at Emmaus depict six saints associated with the north: Cuthbert and Aidan of Lindisfarne with Hilda of Whitby; and Paulinus, Wilfred and John of Beverley, Bishops of York.

The west front was rebuilt by Charles Hodgson Fowler in 1902-1905. The fine roof bosses at the west end originally came from two other York churches, Saint Crux and Saint Martin, Coney Street.

The church has stained glass of national significance, with many works by Charles Eamer Kempe (1837-1907), one of the leading figures in 19th and 20th century decorative arts. His distinctive wheatsheaf monogram is seen in several windows.

The East Window (1907) is one of CE Kempe’s last great works before he died (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

The East Window (1907) is one of Kempe’s last great works before he died. The window shows the Crucifixion and saints and church figures associated with York, including Saint John, Saint Helena, Eborius who was Bishop of York in 314, and Alcuin, the renowned scholar and Benedictine monk.

Kempe’s West Window (1904) depicts Saint Benedict of Nursia, Saint James, Saint Martin and Saint Thomas whose altars were in the former priory church.

Kempe’s window in Saint Nicholas Chapel (1905) depicts Saint Nicholas restoring to life three children who had been killed by a wicked inn keeper and kept in a brine tub. A window in Saint Nicholas Chapel (1953) by George Pace and Harry Stammers is a collaboration between an influential modern architect and an important 20th century stained glass designer.

The church also has windows by two of York’s most significant exponents of the Gothic Revival, John Joseph Barnett (1789-1859) and John Ward Knowles. The North Chancel window (1850) by Barnett is the earliest surviving stained glass in the church. The North Nave window (1877) is by Knowles.

The sculpture of the Holy Trinity, carved by Matthias Garn in 2010, is a reproduction of the mediaeval original once in the church and now in the chapel of the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, York.

The church was united with Saint John’s Church, Micklegate, York, in 1934 and with Saint Martin-cum-Gregory, Micklegate, in 1953.

Holy Trinity is a living, inclusive church. The Revd Simon Askey, former Dean of Undergraduate Law, University of London, and Honorary Assistant Curate of Walworth Saint John in the Diocese of Southwark, is the Priest-in-Charge of Holy Trinity. The Sung Eucharist on Sunday mornings is at 11 am. The church is currently only open during and after the Sunday.

The reredos in the Priory Church of the Holy Trinity, Micklegate, depicts the Supper at Emmaus and six saints associated with the north (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s Prayers (Friday 7 June 2024):

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), is ‘Volunteers Week.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by Carol Miller, Church Engagement Manager, USPG.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (7 June 2024) invites us to pray:

Let us pray for our partners around the Anglican Communion who are providing basic human needs to those in the most difficult circumstances. May that cup of cold water in your name be rewarded.

The sculpture of the Holy Trinity (2010) by Matthias Garn (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Collect:

O God,
the strength of all those who put their trust in you,
mercifully accept our prayers
and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature
we can do no good thing without you,
grant us the help of your grace,
that in the keeping of your commandments
we may please you both in will and deed;
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.

Post Communion Prayer:

Eternal Father,
we thank you for nourishing us
with these heavenly gifts:
may our communion strengthen us in faith,
build us up in hope,
and make us grow in love;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect:

God of truth,
help us to keep your law of love
and to walk in ways of wisdom,
that we may find true life
in Jesus Christ your Son.

The chapel dedicated to Saint Nicholas beneath the tower at the north-west corner (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Kempe’s West Window (1904) depicts Saint Benedict, Saint James, Saint Martin and Saint Thomas (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version, Updated Edition copyright © 2021, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Peace Bell beside the tower and the north door (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Holy Trinity is a living, inclusive church and is open during and after the Sunday services (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)