St Joe’s offers St Paul’s a place to pray

Monsignor John Harrison (left), of the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin, and Dean of Dunedin’s St Paul...
Monsignor John Harrison (left), of the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin, and Dean of Dunedin’s St Paul’s Cathedral Dr Tony Curtis will be sharing the space at St Joseph’s Cathedral tomorrow. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
The dean has been overwhelmed by the level of support following a fire at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral earlier in the week, including from Dunedin’s Catholics.

The Very Rev Dr Tony Curtis was amazed by the level of support he had received since the fire that required eight fire appliances at its peak, early on Tuesday.

"We’ve had messages of support from all over the world, it’s been wonderful."

The church had accepted an offer from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dunedin to use St Joseph’s Cathedral for a service tomorrow afternoon.

"We like to work together closely anyway, we’re all good friends and it’s a really lovely gesture.

"It’s actually my daughter’s confirmation service so to be able to still have that, just up the road, is very special."

About 100 people were expected to attend, but limits on numbers and social distancing would be enforced.

Dr Curtis said the cathedral was determined to rise out of the ashes.

Fire crews fight the fire at St Paul’s Cathedral on Tuesday morning. PHOTO: 
Fire crews fight the fire at St Paul’s Cathedral on Tuesday morning. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY

The ceiling and roof of the building were fire-damaged, and the crypt and part of the church were extensively water damaged.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand fire risk management officer Scott Lanauze yesterday confirmed the cause was an unspecified electrical event.

The exact nature of the fault was being investigated, but he encouraged people to get regular electrical safety checks in their homes and other buildings.

"Hats off to the [fire] crews. They nipped it in the bud very quickly."

The cost of the damage was still being assessed by insurers; however, Dr Curtis said the crypt had suffered extensive water damage and the roof above the altar would likely need replacing.

"What the fire hasn’t got, water has.

"We’ll probably try to close off the far end and put a tent over it, then gradually deconstruct the roof and put a new one on."

The organ was also partly water damaged, and much of the building’s electrics were no longer usable.

The Dunedin City Council and Heritage New Zealand had expressed interest in assisting the cathedral.

"There is good news with it, we’re going to look at utilising this to do some earthquake strengthening, and make it [the crypt] more accessible and an area for the local community."

He was hopeful a service would be able to be held at the cathedral next Sunday.

"Out of the ashes we will come back with even more to offer the city."



Anglo Catholic. The only difference, the number of sacraments.

Well done. Lots of love there.







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