70 years after the liberation of Bayeux, a service took place in the city cathedral. To commemorate the occasion the Villedieu-les-Poêles foundry forged a new bell.
World leaders attend Bayeux commemorations
Members of the British royal family attended the service on Friday 6th June 2014. HRH Charles, Prince of Wales blessed at dedicated the “Peace Bell” in front of a large congregation. He and the Duchess of Cornwall, and leaders from France, Britain, and Australia attended the ceremony. Those gathered included heads of state, serving troops, Normandy veterans, civilians and inter-religious leaders. Cathedral clergy blessed the new bell after the naming ceremony.
Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Peter Robinson of the Democratic Unionist Party, attended the service. He professed gratitude to those from Northern Ireland who played a part in the D-Day landings.
We must never forget the bravery, courage and sacrifice of those thousands of soldiers who fought and for the many who ultimately gave their lives for all of us. It is right that those veterans are central to today’s commemorations. Northern Ireland provided a staging platform for allied forces prior to the D-Day landings. We are all eternally grateful to the men and women of Northern Ireland who played their part in one of the most significant engagements in military history.
Peter Robinson – First Minister of Northern Ireland – 6th June 2014
The naming of the Bayeux Cathedral bell
The French have a tradition that a new bell has a godmother. The honour in Bayeux goes to Queen Elizabeth II. Nine heads of state from Allied nations make up the junior godmothers and godfathers.
The bell, now known as Thérèse-Bénédicte, takes its name from a German-Jewish philosopher. Thérèse-Bénédicte de-la-Croix was born Edith Stein in Germany. The Nazi SS arrested her in 1942 and sent her to her death at Auschwitz. Pope John Paul II canonised her in 1999.
I visited Bayeux Cathedral on 8th June 2014 for a public service. A lone piper played ‘Amazing Grace’ and the cathedral choir sang traditional hymns. This was an opportunity for members of the public to have a closer look at the new bell. On 10th June 2014, the cathedral raised the new
On 10th June 2014, the cathedral raised theThérèse-Bénédicte bell into the clock tower.