About the Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Norwich has stood for over 900 years as a beacon of faith and hope for the people of Norfolk. It has had different functions in different ages, and yet its purpose remains unchanged: witnessing to the constancy of God’s love for each of us in Christ, and offering a perspective on the world that each generation inhabits. Construction of the Cathedral began in 1096 and a monastic community was established based on the Rule of St Benedict. The monks and lay brothers lived and worked in buildings clustered around the cloisters, and worshipped day and night in the Cathedral Church. They were to offer unrestricted hospitality to pilgrims and those who came for help and advice. They were to be of learning, offering their knowledge and their skills in the service of the wider community. These same Benedictine principles continue to shape our life and work together today and the future of the Cathedral’s ministry and mission. An extract from the Rule of St Benedict is read each day at Evensong. The Benedictine Principles inform our Mission Statement: Norwich Cathedral is a Christian presence at the heart of Norfolk 

  • A place where all are welcome
  • A place to share learning
  • A place to grow in holiness
  • A place to serve others


Worship at Norwich Cathedral is in the catholic tradition of the Church of England. The Chapter values the Daily Office and daily celebrations of Holy Communion which were maintained at home during the strict COVID 19 lockdown and in the Cathedral as soon as possible afterwards. Chapter colleagues value the time spent praying together at the Daily Offices and are regularly joined by the Bishop of Norwich for Morning Prayer. The Cathedral uses both Common Worship and the Book of Common Prayer. The Cathedral Choir is central to worship, with 20 boy choristers (educated at Norwich School), 24 girl choristers drawn from local schools and colleges, six Lay Clerks, six Choral Scholars and a children’s choir.

The Cathedral and Diocese

The Diocese of Norwich, with a population of approximately 920,000, covers most of Norfolk and the Waveney district of Suffolk. It has a strong relational culture, fostered through the archdeacons and bishops knowing their clergy and parishes, and being known by them. There is a sense of diocesan family and, whilst dispersed, a strong sense of our bonds of friendship. The Cathedral is held with much affection in our hearts. Norwich is home to the Julian Shrine. In addition to the Anglican cathedral there is a Roman Catholic cathedral. The Diocese has partnership links with the Diocese of Lulea (Sweden) and the Province of Papua New Guinea. Norwich has two universities, the University of East Anglia and the Norwich University of the Arts, together with an extensive Research Park.

The Cathedral is the Bishop’s Church and the principal base for his mission and ministry. Every day throughout the year, prayers are offered in the Cathedral for our Bishop and for each Parish in the Diocese, its clergy, office holders and parishioners. The Cathedral hosts a number of Diocesan services such as ordinations, licensing ceremonies and confirmations as well as other major events. The Cathedral seeks to offer generous hospitality to the Diocese. A very successful clergy conference was held in the Cathedral, and this format will be repeated in years to come. The Bishop regularly uses the Cathedral for his Teaching Mornings. The Dean and Chapter welcome and guide Deanery Pilgrimages to the Cathedral, and members of Chapter make it a point to attend the licensing of clergy out in the parishes. As would be expected, the Cathedral enjoys a good and positive relationship with the Bishop of Norwich. The Dean is a member of the Bishop’s senior staff and Chapter recognises the importance of this role and the key relationship which has to exist between the Bishop and Dean. On behalf of the Bishop, the Dean carries out Ministry Development Reviews within the Archdeaconry of Norwich.

The Diocesan Vision is to be Transformed by Christ: prayerful, pastoral and prophetic. We join in Christ’s mission, conscious of the five marks of mission of the Anglican Communion, through responding to God and the world.

We will prayerfully proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom, rooting ourselves in Scripture and the sacraments. We will wait upon God in stillness, contemplation and intercession. Our corporate prayer, an ongoing conversation with God, will embrace traditional, fresh expressions, online and evolving models of being Church.

We will pastorally model the ministry of the whole people of God after Jesus the good shepherd. We will respond with loving service to the needs of the communities where we live and work, and teach, baptise and nurture new believers.

We will prophetically speak out and act, with the fire of the Holy Spirit, challenging injustice, confronting violence, and working for peace and reconciliation. We will seek to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Being open to all of this will enable God in Jesus to accomplish far more than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3.20). If we allow the Holy Spirit to breathe God’s divine life into our human plans, much more will be made of them, for God can bring abundance from scarcity. We are called to be faithful, as God is always faithful to us. By prayerfully placing the life of the diocese where our sails can best catch the wind of the Holy Spirit, God will take us where God wills.

The Cathedral and Outreach

Norwich Cathedral also regularly hosts and welcomes civic, city and county services; with these relationships continuing to be nourished. The Dean hosts a monthly breakfast group which brings together key decision makers from local business and commerce, the legal profession, local government, the emergency services, health, social services and education. The Chapter recognises the important role of this group in the Cathedral reaching out into the local community. In 2015, the Dean and Chapter launched its five-year rolling Strategic Plan which is reviewed annually at the Chapter’s Residential and sets down the Dean and Chapter’s aims and aspirations. The introduction in the latest version gives a clear focus for our work. In this rolling five-year strategic vision, we pledge ourselves to continue to make the very best use of our gifts and facilities to enhance the experience of visitors and pilgrims, in the following ways:

  • Enabling adults and children who come through our doors to discover the richness of the Gospel and its relevance to our daily lives
  • Providing imaginative space for music, theatre and the celebration of the arts, business and science
  • Drawing people to a place where they can exchange ideas in an atmosphere of safety, openness and mutual respect
  • Engaging with the Diocesan Vision, “Transformed by Christ through being Prayerful, Pastoral and Prophetic”
  • Living by our core values, which align with that vision”
  • The three full-time Residentiary Canons hold responsibility for a core strand of Learning, Worship and Hospitality with budgets and departments structured accordingly

Social Responsibility

As a natural part of the living out of our faith, social and environmental responsibility is at the heart of the life of the Cathedral Community. Meeting people at their point of need, supporting those who also support them and caring for God’s creation is also integral to our witness and outreach. In doing this, we seek to work in partnership with organisations across our city and county. Our three current priorities are:

  • The Climate Emergency: With A Rocha UK, the Cathedral is committed to being an eco-friendly church. We currently have our Bronze Award and are actively working towards our Silver Award. With the wider Church of England, the Cathedral is working towards being net zero by 2030 and is investigating the installation of solar panels
  • Homelessness: The Cathedral community supports two Hope into Action houses, helping individuals move out of homelessness. We also have a close relationship with St Martin’s Housing Trust which started in the garage of the Deanery over 50 years ago
  • Mental Wellbeing: We also seek to support those struggling with poor mental health with our day chaplains trained as Mental Health Community Champions and others as Mental Health First Aiders
  • Chapter has formed a new Social and Environmental Responsibility Committee to strengthen the Cathedral’s engagement with these issues. The Cathedral is also now a Living Wage Foundation employer Talkative Tuesday about COP26 at Norwich Cathedral, 2021. Picture: Bill Smith Projects In recent years, the Chapter has hosted two high profile events.