Christingle at Kilfenora Cathedral

Kilfenora Cathedral recently held this service led by the Rector, Revd Kevin O’Brien.   The holding of a Christingle service here is something which has not been possible for the last three years due to the Covid restrictions but had previously been regularly held each year and is a very popular event in the village.

The Cathedral was full of local children and their parents and each child was given a Christingle consisting of an Orange with a candle pushed into the top of it and four cocktail sticks skewered with sweets pushed into the side of it.   Rev Kevin explained that the word Christingle came from a German word meaning “Little Christ Child”, is used to celebrate Jesus Christ as the “Light of the World” and was first used in the Moravian church in Germany in the 18th Century and can be used throughout the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.  The Orange represented the world and the carefully lit candle represented the light of Christ in the world.  The four cocktail sticks represent the four seasons and the sweets represented the fruits of the earth.

Rev Kevin O’Brien

The congregation sang carols ably accompanied by a small group of musicians from the village led by the local Parish Priest Fr Ned Crosby.

The Cathedral is dedicated to St. Fachtnan, who founded an abbey here during the sixth century. The present building was erected sometime between 1189 and 1200.

A good part of the building is roofless since the early 1800’s, the remainder is roofed and being used occasionally for worship. The last time was for the enthronement of Bishop Michael in May 2022.

The Cathedral has some unusual features including two fireplaces on the north wall which are usually fuelled by turf in the winter and a stone font which is from the 12th century there are also three pulpits at different heights which are probably intended for use as a reading desk, a pulpit and a clerk’s desk.

Kilfenora is well known for its High Crosses a number of which were located in the graveyard and others close to the village. Tradition holds that there were 7 crosses but not all have survived.

There s an article on the history of St Fachtnan’s Cathedral and the High Crosses here:

Report courtesy of Stephen Fletcher, Diocesan Communications Officer