When the present Cathedral was newly completed, John Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter from 1327 to 1369, inserted into the Christmas liturgy a special ceremony. In ‘this most holy night’ of Christmas Eve two chroisters with lighted tapers emerge from behind the high altar and, with the rest of the choir, announce the birth of our saviour, first in the Quire, then in the Nave.
Our modern service begins with this ancient ceremony, its words taken from the Ordinale Exoniensis of 1369, set to music by Thomas Armstrong (Organist of Exeter Cathedral from 1928 to 1933). The Good News of the Nativity of Jesus Christ is then proclaimed more fully in readings of scripture, hymns and carols, and in the great procession to the High Altar via the Christmas Tree and the Christmas Crib.
Tickets are not being issued for the 2018 service. Doors open at 16.30