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Known as the “People’s Cathedral” for its role in the resistance against apartheid, St. George’s Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in Southern Africa and the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Cape Town. We invite you to visit our historical and beautiful building and to be part of an active and dedicated congregation, contributing to the life of the Cathedral and the broader Cape Town community.
Vision of St George’s Cathedral
Mission of St George’s Cathedral
Our mission is expressed through
- Spiritual enrichment using prayer, worship, music and the arts,
- Facilitating the spiritual growth of young and old
- A compassionate and caring response to people and their needs
Engaging with social issues – justice, reconciliation and human health
We have a wonderful ring of ten bells at St George's Cathedral which are rung to the glory of God as a call to worship. They are also rung at occasions both joyful such as weddings and sad such as funerals, as well as important civic events.
The Cathedral ringers are always ready to welcome new or visiting ringers.
The band also occasionally ring at the nearby church of St Mary the Virgin in Woodstock.
For more information about ringing please contact:
Alternatively come along to one of our regular practice sessions at the tower on Tuesdays at 7.00pm
Bell Tower and the Bells
The original Cathedral had a tower containing eight bells cast in 1834 by the firm Mears and Stainbank of Whitechapel in London. They were rung by "chiming", whereby the clappers were pulled by rope to strike against the lip of the hanging bell. Two old brass plaques on the walls in the bell tower indicate the existence of an active guild of bellringers in the early 1900s
When the original Cathedral was demolished in the 1950s (see History) the bells were stored until a generous bequest by Mrs S K M Smith allowed them to be sent back to Mears and Stainbank where they were recast in 1963 into the ring of ten bells that we have today. (An article in the Gateway magazine in March 1963 by Vic Shephard describes the actual casting.)
The bells made the return journey to Cape Town only to languish in the Cathedral car park for some time. Eventually they were hung in a new steel frame - still on the ground outside the Cathedral. In this position they were manually chimed until the new belltower structure was completed. Finally, in 1979 they were installed properly and hung for change ringing in the traditional English way with ropes and wheels.
The tower frame is built of reinforced concrete with a cladding of Table mountain sandstone. For many months the stonemasons plying their ancient craft in the workshop in the carpark were keenly observed by Capetonians as each stone was individually hand-shaped to fit in its specific position in the wall
The smallest of the 10 bells, referred to as the treble, weighs 267.6 kg (5.3 cwt) and the tenor, which is the largest, weighs in at a respectable 1270.5 kg, which is 25 cwt (hundredweight) in the traditional imperial measurement. Its name, appropriate to its location on the southern tip of Africa, is "Good Hope".
The bells were named by Dr.Joost de Blank, a former archbishop of Cape Town:
- Good Hope
The band of ringers comprises both young and old, male and female and they gather every Sunday almost without exception to ring before the 9.30am Cathedral service from 9.00am.
The ringers are all members of the St Georges Cathedral Guild Of Change Ringers and the South African Guild of Church Bell Ringers. The South African guild is affiliated to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers in England, which is the coordinating body for traditional bell ringing worldwide
Cape Town being a popular tourist destination, we regularly host visiting ringers from all over the world and are similarly welcomed in overseas towers when we travel abroad.
Stewardship by Means of Snapscan
Contributing to the Cathedral ministry is founded on one’s faith in Jesus Christ and in appreciation that we are contributing to building little outposts of heaven wherever we are.
Giving - whether big or small, in the form of a monthly pledge or one-time donation – makes a difference. Whatever you choose to give, we invite you to join St George’s Cathedral in helping to make the world a better and a more caring place.
You are welcome to make a contribution at any time.
Simply use your phone's camera to scan the SnapCode below.
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