Virtual Cathedral

24th April 2020

Virtual 3D tours, MP4 Music Competitions and of course, online worship and services: The latest digital output from our clever cathedrals.

New digital resources announced as cathedrals get more and more creative during lockdown

Cathedrals are growing their digital resources and seeking more and more creative ways to engage with their visitors, their communities and their congregations.

This week York Minster announced a new online resource that gives visitors the chance to explore the hidden stories of its Great East Window, Lichfield Cathedral launched a virtual 3D tour for people to visit the cathedral from the comfort of their own homes, and St Edmundsbury Cathedral launched virtual music competitions for young musicians.

Stained Glass Navigator at York Minster
York Minster launched the Stained Glass Navigator this week which uses photos taken during the 10 year restoration of its Great East Window for people to explore the whole window online for the first time, view the detail of its intricately painted 600-year old glass, and learn more about its stories. The Navigator will also feature new views of the St Cuthbert Window – the cathedral’s next major stained glass conservation project due to start in 2021.

The Great East Window was created between 1405 and 1408 by a team of artists and craftsmen led by master-glazier and glass-painter John Thornton, and depicts the beginning and end of all things in the Bible, from Genesis to the last book of Revelation.

Virtual Cathedral York Minster

The Stained Glass Navigator has been created by York Glaziers Trust, Britain’s specialist stained glass conservation studio, with support from the Chapter of York and the York Minster Fund.

The new navigator tool offers visitors a unique insight into the details of the two windows’ stained glass and their stories, creating views which would be physically impossible for people to see even if they were standing inside the cathedral,” explains Sarah Brown, Director of York Glaziers Trust.

“The photography has been taken by conservators during our work to care for the Minster’s treasure trove of stained glass, allowing us to share with the public the amazing artwork and stories in a completely new way.

Visit the website here >

Virtual Music competitions at St Edmundsbury Cathedral

The Music department at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, has risen to the challenge of the current situation and launched virtual competitions for young musicians, open to anyone aged 22 and under.

One is for organists and the second for pianists and asks them to upload video recitals in MP4 format. In both cases, there are 3 categories from Beginners (up to Grade 5) to Advanced and an array of excellent prizes including organ lessons with renowned organist David Briggs as well as music vouchers.

With current lockdown restrictions, the cathedral acknowledges rehearsal spaces might be limited and limiting – so have extended the deadlines for entries to 16 May for the piano and 6 June for the organ competition.

They have also launched a new music composition competition aimed at GCSE and A level music students. The compositions will be judged by a team of professional musicians and the winning entries will be invited to perform in the 2021 Lunchtime Recital series at the Cathedral.

The deadline for composition submissions is 23 May.

We want to give young musicians every opportunity to continue to make and create music even in these challenging times,’ said Acting Director of Music, Richard Cook.

Anyone interested in finding out more please contact Richard Cook on

Visitors invited to take a virtual tour of Lichfield Cathedral

A 3D virtual tour of Lichfield Cathedral gives visitors the chance to explore every nook and cranny of the cathedral from the comfort of their own homes.

Lichfield-based company, UK Surveyors have digitally mapped the internal and external areas of the Cathedral from multiple angles to create a fully interactive 3D tour which will take visitors all around the medieval three spired building, enable them to visit key places of interest, walk down the aisles, look at some of the cathedral’s treasures, hear a piece of organ music, listen to an excerpt of Choral Evensong, and find a space to pray or light a candle.

The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield said:

“These last few weeks have been challenging, as we’ve learnt to live, worship and socialise in a different way. Like many of our regular visitors and worshippers, I have missed taking a walk around the Cathedral and soaking up the atmosphere of this sacred site. I am delighted that we are able to offer a virtual tour so that people can access the majesty of the Cathedral and the services we have to offer to the wider community.”

You can access the 3D Virtual Tour of Lichfield Cathedral on their website. It also gives details of its online worship.

Our doors may be closed to save lives and help protect the NHS, but our commitment to serving and holding our nation in prayer continues.

All our cathedrals are providing daily worship – many are live streaming, or recording and uploading onto their YouTube channels or using Zoom.

Please visit their individual websites to find out how you can join them for worship and prayer.