BECKET WEEK

May 2016


The Christian Heritage Centre at Stonyhurst was pleased to support the Embassy of Hungary in the United Kingdom in the formation of Becket Week.  Becket Week was centered around the return on a relic of St Thomas Becket which had been in Hungary since soon after Thomas was killed.  The Hungarian President accompanied the Relic to the UK, and during the week, the deputy Prime Minister of Hungary and Speaker of the Hungarian House of Representatives and other ministers also took part.  In the United Kingdom the delegation was welcomed by the Speaker of the House of Commons, and Lord Speaker and many religious leaders.

In Hungary St Thomas continues to be a symbol of freedom from oppression, and particularly religious liberty.

Becket Week was made up of three aspects: devotional, historical and political.  The week began with Mass at Westminster Cathedral, a service was held at Westminster Abbey and the relic was reverenced at St Margaret’s Westminster Abbey and later in the week the relics visited the Houses of Parliament and were placed on the Altar in St Mary’s Undercroft the relics later moved to Rochester Cathedral and finally Canterbury Cathedral. During all these visits the opportunity for prayer and discussion on St Thomas’s relevance to the modern world was central.

The Archbishop of Canterbury graciously hosted an academic symposium at Lambeth Palace, sponsored by The Christian Heriage Centre at Stonyhurst.  Following a welcome from the Hungarian Foreign Minister and Hungarian Ambassador the following addressed the distinguished gathering: Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of Westminster, Bishop of Szeged-Csanad, Prof. Eamon Duffy, Prof. Peter Marshall, Prof. Alexandra Walsham, Prof. Peter Davidson and Jan Graffius (Stonyhurst College).

“It reminds all Christians that there comes a point where their loyalty to Christ becomes the overriding loyalty of their lives and they might have to pay a final price,” Cardinal Nicholas, Archbishop of Westminster.