At 12pm today, the tomb of King Richard III will be reveal in a special and dramatic service at Leicester Cathedral.

We’ll be live blogging again so you can follow along. You can also listen live on BBC Radio Leicester

The Service is now live streaming below or at

Live streaming video by Ustream

Music before the Service:

An Easter Alleluia         Gordon Slater (1896-1979)

Pièce d’Orgue BWV 572 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Organ Concerto in B flat Op. 4 no. 2     George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
A tempo ordinario e staccato – Allegro – Adagio e staccato – Allegro ma non presto

Allegro maestoso e vivace and Fuga      Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
from Sonata 2 Op. 65


A Procession of Civic Guests moves to their seats. All remain seated.


Civic Procession

The Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadets

The Gild of Freemen of the City of Leicester

Deputy Lieutenants

The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire

HM Judges

HM Coroners

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester

The High Sheriff and Mrs Clowes

The Chairman of Leicestershire County Council

The Mace

The Lord Mayor and Consort

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire

The Chief Constable



The Choir processes to its seats. All remain seated.


Cathedral Procession


The Crucifer

The Acolytes


The Cathedral Clergy

The Canon Missioner

The Canon Chancellor

The Canon Precentor

The Sub-Dean

Members of Bishop’s Senior Staff

The Archdeacons of Leicester and Loughborough

The Dean

The Assistant Bishop of Leicester

The Bishop of Leicester

The Bishop’s Chaplain


The opening hymn Let us build a house where love can dwell has a special resonance for the Cathedral as it was sung at the service to dedicate St. Martin’s House, just to the west of the Cathedral, in January 2011. The hymn articulates a vision of a ‘house’ (for which read ‘Cathedral’) of welcome, grace and Eucharistic peace and justice. In the last verse the point is made that the Cathedral is not simply ‘wood and stone’. Although many visitors will come simply to see Richard’s tomb (and will be wholeheartedly welcomed) the building has a deeper, sacramental meaning and function:

Here the outcast and the stranger bear the image of God’s face;
let us bring an end to fear and danger: all are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Marty Haugen, who wrote the hymn, is an American composer of liturgical music and is a member of the United Church of Christ. Despite being a non-Catholic, his music has found favour with Catholic and Protestant congregations.

The Bishop quotes one of Christ’s central teachings, that of repentance, as found in the Gospel of St. Matthew. This is followed by the Lord’s Prayer which is said at all services

The Right Reverend Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, leads

The Greeting

O God, make speed to save us.

O Lord, make haste to help us.


Jesus says, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

Matthew 4.17b

The Bishop welcomes the Congregation and introduces the Service.


Councillor Manjula Sood MBE, Chair of the Leicester Council of Faiths

and representing the life of the City of Leicester, reads

Genesis 4.2b-16

The Old Testament Reading from the Book of Genesis is the famous story of Cain and Abel. Cain commits humankind’s first murder against his brother Abel. Cain was the first human born and Abel the first human to die. Cain lied about what he has done to God and as a result was cursed and marked for life. Cain, then, is the ‘father’ of the countless acts of murder and violence which have disfigured the history of mankind.

The Lesson is read by City Cllr. Manjula Sood MBE,BA, MA, LL.D (Hon). She was the UK’s and Leicester’s first Asian female Lord Mayor (2008–9). She is Chair of the Leicester council of Faiths which promotes better understanding between the city’s many faith communities.


Cars and Civil Wars

A woman goes to work, parking her car in the same spot for years.  This insignificant rectangular block of tarmac suddenly becomes an area of intense interest and speculation: could the last English King to die in battle be buried under a car park in Leicester?  News of this unprecedented event spreads through our city.  An image of a leader is then created.  With power comes opposition.  Dividing lines are quickly drawn and peace is shattered, creating a bloody conflict between different factions of society.


During this performance the Organist plays parts of:

Jésus accepte la souffrance           Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)

Jesus accepts suffering

Interspersed with contemporary music by Rob Heslop of Curve Theatre (1991).

Jésus accepte la souffrance is a movement from La Nativité du Seigneur (The Nativity of the Lord or The Birth of the Saviour) by the great Roman Catholic French composer Olivier Messiaen. It was composed in 1935. Messiaen wrote that in addition to theology, the movements were inspired by the mountains, as well as the stained glass windows in medieval cathedrals. The work is in nine movements, each depicting an image or aspect of the birth of Jesus. Jésus accepte la souffrance is the 7th movement of the work. The whole work is generally accepted to be one of the composer’s masterpieces.


The Reverend Canon Rosy Fairhurst, Canon Chancellor, leads The Collect

O God of truth and justice,

we hold before you those whose memory we cherish,

and those whose names we will never know.

The Collect is the often used at Remembrance Day services. Acknowledging the imperfections and brokenness of the world, it puts faith in God’s future, a future of truth and justice.


The Reverend Canon Alison Adams, Diocese and Cathedral Social Responsibility Enabler, leads

The Responsory alongside which the Choir sings Kyrie Eleison

The Kyrie Eleison is an extremely old Greek expression used in all Christian liturgies. It is found in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Here the English form is used, as part of the Responsory.

Kyrie eleison Lord have mercy Christe eleison Christ have mercy Kyrie eleison Lord have mercy

Charles Paterson, the composer, teaches at Leicester Grammar School. The title of his communion service, ‘The Bells of St. Martin’s’, refers to Leicester Cathedral which is dedicated to St. Martin of Tours.

The hymn God of Grace and God of Glory, is by Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878 – 1969) who was an American pastor. Fosdick and was one of the most prominent liberal ministers of the early 20th Century. The hymn picks up on one of the prominent themes of the service, that of peace and reconciliation.

New Beginnings

All sit as Henry Avery, representing the County of Leicestershire, reads

Isaiah 2.2-4

The Reading from the Book of Isaiah is a famous and inspiring vision of peace based on God’s justice.


Peace and Reconciliation

In homage to those left at home during conflicts, and in particular reflecting on the First World War, women nurse injured soldiers, husbands, sons, brothers and lovers.  Post-war, society starts to rebuild itself.  The weapons used for war now help to build a huge structure (Unearth, designed by Matthew Wright), recognising all those who have lost life, in past and current conflicts.  The sun at the top of the sculpture, made up of hundreds of fresh roses, celebrates collaboration and future discoveries.

During this performance the Choir sings

The Anthem

O Radiant Dawn


O Radiant Dawn, Splendour of eternal Light, Sun of Justice:

come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Isaiah had prophesied,

‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;

upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom, a light has shone.’  Amen.


James MacMillan (b.1959) O Oriens (Antiphon for 21 December);

Isaiah 9.2


As the Curve performance continues the choir sings James MacMillan’s anthem O Radiant Dawn. Macmillan, who was born in Kilwinning, in North Ayrshire, is one of the most interesting and celebrated composers at work in Britain today. He is a patron of Leicester’s annual International Music Festival. This is a chamber music festival and a number of Macmillan’s works have been performed at there.

The Collect is read by the Canon Chancellor of the Cathedral , Canon Rosy Fairhurst. The Collect’s theme is death and eternal life. It is a version of a prayer by Pope Gregory I, commonly known as St. Gregory the Great. Throughout the Middle Ages he was known as ‘the Father of Christian Worship’ because of his exceptional efforts in revising the Roman worship of his day. He is the patron saint of musicians, singers, students, and teachers.


The Hymn

How good it is, what pleasure comes,

The hymn picks up on the theme of peace through justice and absence of fear. The lines ‘When arms are changed to farming tools / the fruits of life abound’ echo the words of Isaiah we heard in the second reading. Ruth Duck, who wrote the hymn, is professor of worship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She was president of the North American Academy of Liturgy, an organization of liturgical scholars. She is an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ.

The Responsory is an extract from psalm 96. This is an exhortation to sing and worship and declare the glory of God.


New Life

Malcolm Guite is a poet and singer-songwriter. He is a priest, teacher and author and Chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge.
Lady Byford is an Honorary Canon of Leicester Cathedral and serves as a Deputy Lieutenant for Leicestershire. She is Chair of Leicester Cathedral Council.

O Rex Gentium

O King of our desire whom we despise,
King of the nations never on the throne,
unfound foundation, cast-off cornerstone,
rejected joiner, making many one:
you have no form or beauty for our eyes,
a King who comes to give away his crown,
a King within our rags of flesh and bone.
We pierce the flesh that pierces our disguise,
for we ourselves are found in you alone.
Come to us now and find in us your throne,
O King within the child within the clay,
O hidden King who shapes us in the play
of all creation. Shape us for the day
your coming Kingdom comes into its own.

Malcolm Guite (b.1957)

from Sounding the Seasons


DNA, Dance and Repose

A child uses their DNA to unlock the door to a magnificent room, as technology opens up a direct link to our shared histories.  As a cloth is removed from the tomb, an image of birth and new life is created and a swaddled babe-in-arms is passed protectively between our community participants.  Roses surrounding the tomb are attached to the sculpture, dressing its aggressive stalks with colour and new life.  Once the sculpture is complete and the tomb unveiled, we dance in celebration, in a variety of styles, reflecting the diversity of our city and our commitment to build more colourful and peaceful society than existed during the Wars of the Roses.

Whilst the third Curve performance is happening we hear an anthem, And I saw a new heaven, which sets inspiring words from the Bible’s final book Revelation. This moving extract is a vision of the new world after the second coming. The composer, Edgar Bainton, was a British-born composer. He is most celebrated for his church music and this is his most famous piece.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.

Edgar Bainton (1880-1956)            Revelation 21.1-4


I understand we lost the live feed for a while but if you refresh hopefully it should be working again


The Sermon – The Very Reverend David Monteith, Dean of Leicester

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes….for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4

Quite often near the top of the spire of Leicester Cathedral you will see a winged creature.  Neither a stone gargoyle, nor even seraphim like we saw on King Richard’s coffin pall but a peregrine falcon.  They see the city and far beyond as the county spreads out into the heart of rural England.  Their vision of this kingdom is expansive.

Peregrino is a pilgrim – one who seeks a broader and deeper vision of the world and one who follows The Way of faith. We know from research into cathedrals that it is impossible to really distinguish between tourists and pilgrims – we are all searching and learning to walk God’s way. As King Richard’s story moves from the king in the car park to the king in the cathedral what vision might we be offered as his tomb is revealed?

Christian tombs tell of our brief life story; this one from 1452 -1485 but cast again in 2015. Christian tombs also point to another story.  On Easter Day the stone at Jesus’ tomb was rolled away, riven apart by God’s power to enable a new vision to come into our world.  This new light signaled hope and hope is simply loved stretched out into the future. The deeply incised cross characterizes King Richard’s grave and echoes the tomb of Jesus. It points East for in the Christian tradition our tombs face east to greet the rising sun, the daily sign of Easter for us.

The Wars of the Roses are also known as the Cousins’ War. This period saw enormous numbers of causalities for the Houses of Lancaster and York. It was a time of great instability and the greatest impact was felt by the ordinary person whilst those in power jostled for precedence. Wounds persist from that time in our community even if often played out with a degree of humour as red roses and white roses are used in banter. But there are families and communities who still remember the pain.  Our bringing together the Bosworth Peers yesterday was seen to be controversial by some – old painful narratives beset us in all kinds of ways when our vision is shrouded, too constrained or scarred by sin and shame. Richard like many in Leicester was wounded by war and then lost his life bravely in the thick of battle. I grew up living with division. 1970’s and 80’s Northern Ireland defined me by the colour badge I happened to be born into. It was not white or red but orange and green. It was bloody and bitter and sad.

An epitaph closely associated with King Richard’s alabaster tomb built in the Greyfriars by Henry VII begins “Here I am, whom the earth encloses beneath various marbles’ (Hic ego quem vario tellus sub marmore claudit). Now his bones lie in a tomb made with Kilkenny limestone, Cumbrian sandstone, Duke’s red from Derbyshire and Swaledale Fossil from North Yorkshire highlighted with Chalcedony from Italy and blue Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan. His remains are enclosed by a world of diverse stones crafted into a new place of shelter and sanctuary.  These stones from these islands, Europe and the Middle East are like Leicester and indeed every place in contemporary Britain. They are diverse. Yet when honed together offer an arresting beauty which points forward, igniting new vision.

The words the choir have just sung from the Revelation of St John may well have arisen from a time of great violence when Christian people were being persecuted by the Roman authorities. Jesus the innocent rejected one has triumphed not by might but by love. The madness of forgiveness has taken root and been given such form that mere words cannot contain it. This falcon like vision is so compelling that tears are no longer needed. Even swords have become tools for the garden. God lives with his people – there is a reign of mercy, hope and peace.

God’s Kingly reign gives us vision to imagine how things might be very different and that strengthens us to be so compelled by such a vision to make sure it actually becomes real. We’ve seen signs of it this week. Our Christian community has attempted to serve others, to welcome others, and throughout to pray faithfully as the ribbons on the railings witness. All kinds of partnerships have been found to be life giving – the sacred and the secular, Anglicans and Catholics, scientists and people of faith, Yorkists and Lancastrians, locals and strangers, Ricardians and those more skeptical of Richard’s reputation. Barriers have come down and as the book of Revelation says we have seen that ‘the former things are passed away’.

One of Richard’s III’s prayers possibly written by his confessor John Roby longs for reconciliation.  ‘Even as you extinguished the hatred and anger that Esau had for his brother Jacob…stretch out your arm to me and spread your grace over me’.  We heard about Cain and Abel earlier in this service. They prefigure Esau and Jacob’s conflict also from the book of Genesis. We meet a family feud, a cousins’ war, the human fracture which leads to the question ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ Am I my sister’s keeper?

Charles Taylor, the contemporary philosopher describes our society as made up of people who can be described as the ‘punctual self’ (Sources of the Self, the making of the modern identity). We have become little packages of full stops. We are punctuation rather than poetry. We are not one another’s keepers. Richard and his contemporaries would not have understood this.  They were not defined by themselves but rather by being a part of something bigger, a joined up narrative even a cosmic order. Contrast our narrow sense of self with words from a great Christian saint of the third century, Anthony of Egypt and the inspiration for St Martin, the patron of this cathedral. He said ‘our life and our death is with our neighbour’.
Over the last days dignity and honour have been plain to see. But the real challenge to every one of us is to ensure that such dignity and honour might describe all that we are and all that we do as this city and county, even as this nation.  A space is made here for the last of the Plantagenet Kings. But a space is also made anew for our city, church, community and nation – can we stretch love and so turn it into hope to give new vision? Here is a space in which to answer whether or not we are our brother and sister’s keeper.  Here is a space for respect and reflection where through daily prayer our souls might be renewed. Here is new space, a tomb with a dramatic cross which demands the kind of loyalty that will truly bind us to one another and to God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes….for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4
© The Very Revd David Monteith

David was installed as Dean in 2013. He has oversight and leadership of the Cathedral, the mother church of the Diocese which spans the city of Leicester and county of Leicestershire.


A prayer for national justice originating from St. Francis in the Fields, London. This is a church well-known for its social vision and musical tradition, amongst other things.

This hymn, Make way, make way, for Christ the King in splendour arrives, is written by one of best known and prolific producers of worship songs in Britain today. His ‘Shine, Jesus, Shine’ is among the most widely heard songs in contemporary Christian worship worldwide.

During which banners representing King Richard III’s royal coat of arms, donated by the Richard III Society, are brought forward and placed in the Ambulatory.


Reading. The verse from Micah is read by Arlo Mulligan-Vassel, a young performer from Curve Theatre. In 32 words the prophet sums up what is needful for each individual to do to bring about new life.

The Responsory, led by the Revd. Canon Alison Adams, consists of the famous words about victory over death from St. Paul’s first Letter to the Corinthians.

Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your sting?


The Conclusion

The Magnificat (Latin for [My soul] magnifies) is also known as the Song of Mary. The text of the canticle is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke where it is spoken by the Virgin Mary when she visits cousin Elizabeth. In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist, the child moves within Elizabeth’s womb. When Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith, Mary sings the Magnificat in response. It is always sung at Evensong as well as in other Anglican services.

The Acclamation

A mighty shout of praise to the King of Glory from Psalm 29.


Lift up your heads O gates;
be lifted up, you everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.

‘Who is the King of glory?’
‘The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord who is mighty in battle.’

Lift up your heads O gates;
be lifted up, you everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.

‘Who is the King of glory?’
‘The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory.’

The Lord sits enthroned for evermore.
The Lord shall give strength to his people;
the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

Psalm 29.9b, 10


The Bishop pronounces The Blessing

The Dean leads The Dismissal


Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible,
the only wise God,
be honour and glory for ever and ever.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Glory, thanks and praise to God.


The service ends with a great song of praise based on Psalm 150. The writer Sir Henry Williams Baker, Bart., took Holy Orders in 1844. He was a prolific writer of hymns which remain very popular. The wonderful music (…’it has all the marks of a really popular hymn-tune, doesn’t it?’ John Betjeman) is by Sir Hubert Parry. Parry was an older contemporary of Elgar and his most famous compositions include his setting of Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’, the Coronation Anthem I was Glad and the hymn tune ‘Repton’ to which ‘Dear Lord and father of mankind’ is usually sung.