COI Gazette – 21st August 2015

New interactive technology ‘integrates past and present’ in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin

Pictured at the launch of Discovery Space in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, are (from left) Canon Horace McKinley, Orla Carroll, Paschal Donohoe TD and Andrew Smith. (Photo: Lynn Glanville)

Pictured at the launch of Discovery Space in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, are (from left) Canon Horace McKinley, Orla Carroll, Paschal Donohoe TD and Andrew Smith. (Photo: Lynn Glanville)

St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, is using the latest interactive technology to open a window to the past. Visitors to the cathedral will now be able to have a high-tech insight into the building’s 800-year history following the recent launch of a new ‘Discovery Space’ interpretative centre.

Located in the cathedral’s south transept, the centre was officially opened by the Republic’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD.

Discovery Space includes

a large, touch-screen table highlighting the cathedral’s history; iPads featuring the cathedral’s app; an area for doing brass rubbings; a large jigsaw of one of the cathedral’s stained glass windows; an audio-visual unit; and a reference library. All the modern technology is housed in recycled, 19th century carved oak pews.

The 55-inch, touch-screen table allows users to explore the cathedral’s history and interior, including its monuments, characters and stained glass windows, as well as hidden areas of the building.

The audio-visual area includes videos, with facilities for presentations to be made to small groups.



John Cosin was one of a group of leading churchmen – collectively known to historians as the ‘Carolines’ (associated with the reigns of King Charles I and King Charles II) – whose commitment to the faith and order of the Church of England and the monarchy aroused much hostility from those opposed to both and who came into their own at the time of the Restoration (1660).

They were strong upholders of government of the Church by bishops (episcopacy), as distinct from those who desired a Presbyterian or Independent (congregational) form of Church order. They were also committed to the form of worship to be found in The Book of Common Prayer, the classic (‘1662’) version of which was essentially their work.

Cosin was born in Norwich and educated at Norwich Grammar School and Caius College, Cambridge, where he was a Scholar and afterwards a Fellow. Going quickly up the ladder of ecclesiastical promotion, he became more generally known when he published his Collection of Private Devotions, said to have been prepared by command of King Charles I for the use of Queen Henrietta’s maids of honour, the contents of which were criticised by spokesmen for the Puritan party, including William Prynne.

Cosin became Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge, and, in 1640, Vice-Chancellor of the University and then Dean of Peterborough. However, he was
attacked in the Long Parliament and his adherence to the King in the Civil War led to his deprivation of the Mastership and his departure to Paris, where he remained in exile during the period of the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell.

After Cromwell’s death, when King Charles II was restored to the throne, Cosin was made Bishop of Durham. Keenly interested in liturgical study, his proposals for a revision of the Prayer Book were copied into the Durham Book, together with those of Matthew Wren, and tabled for consideration, some of the most beautiful Collects in their traditional form in our present Prayer Book being the outcome of his work. The version of Veni Creator Spiritus (Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire), which is still sung at the ordination of priests and consecration of bishops, is his.

Cosin took a leading role at the Savoy Conference (1661), which attempted to reach agreement with Presbyterian churchmen, and did his best to win them over, but without success, and when they refused to use the Prayer Book and to submit to reordination, they were deprived. His death in 1672 marked the end of an era.

This editorial is one in a series of occasional reflections on figures in Church history, following a chronological sequence as they appear.

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