Every week throughout the year, except during Advent and Lent, Ripon Cathedral is adorned with floral arrangements. Exactly when and where the practice of decorating churches with flowers began is unknown but by the 12th century flowers were widely used as symbols of the beauty of God’s creation, and of the new life of the Resurrection. Individual flowers became identified with key individuals, such as the lily as a symbol of the purity of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The floral displays in Ripon Cathedral are the work of the Cathedral Flower Guild which is made up of three teams of arrangers working in rotation. As well as providing flowers every week to compliment the Cathedral’s worship, the Guild provides special flower arrangements for weddings, and large scale floral displays for events in the Cathedral calendar, such as Christmas, Easter, the Golden Wedding Service, and Harvest.
What is often overlooked is the impact that the flowers can have on the overall mission of the Cathedral. Many visitors comment on how much they appreciate the beauty of the flowers, and how they enhance the experience of praying in the chapels or prayer stations.
Flowers are also used as a memorial to a loved-one or in celebration of a family event. The Flower Guild is always pleased to be able to help to mark such an occasion with a specially made arrangement.
If anyone is interested in knowing more about the Flower Guild’s arrangements for a wedding or as a memorial or commemoration, please contact Ripon Cathedral Office.