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Hampton Court Palace hosts first Roman Catholic service since 1550

The first Roman Catholic service for more than 450 years was celebrated at the Hampton Court Palace, since Henry VIII broke away from Rome in the 16th century. Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols was joined by the Anglican Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres for the historic service on Tuesday night. The service was celebrated according to the Latin rite of the Catholic Church.

More than 200 worshippers who participated in the service sang the national anthem at the end of a service of sung liturgy from the 15th and 16th centuries. The service is seen as the landmark in Anglican-Catholic reconciliation.

The service was jointly organized by the Genesis Foundation, and the Choral Foundation, tickets were allocated by a public ballot.

Bishop Chartres said it celebrated “a common agenda” between the churches and the progress already made. He explained: “What I see, particularly around London is that increasingly we are living in a post-denominational era.”

Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He is known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church because the church refused to secure his annulment from Catherine of Aragon.  His disagreements with the Pope led to his separation of the Church of England from papal authority, he remained a believer in core Catholic theological teachings despite his excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church. The last Catholic service took place at Hampton Court during the reign of Henry VIII’s daughter, Queen Mary I.

Some years back the two Bishops had prayed together in the cell occupied by St Thomas More in the Tower of London just before he was executed.



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