Lights Out - 4th August 2014

Above is the single candle that I lit for a shared moment of reflection, marking the centenary of the First World War. To reflect on the occasion I tuned into the BBC2 broadcast of the Vigil Ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

Drawing upon Sir Edward Grey’s famous remark that “the lights are going out all over Europe”, Westminster Abbey will mark the centenary by moving from light into darkness, until one candle remains at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, which will be extinguished at 11.00pm to mark the moment of the declaration of war.

The Abbey Vigil will metaphorically “pause” in penitence on the moments leading up to the outbreak of the war and on those first months of conflict without rushing to conclusions or adopting particular narratives. The Service will not be a premature marking of armistice, but rather a particular commemoration of the centenary of the beginning of the war: remembering the effects of human frailty and failure, as well as the looming violence which characterised so much of that lengthy and devastating conflict.
The Abbey will be lit so that the light falls away from the East to the West until the Procession reaches the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, where a single light will remain. The congregation will be given hand-candles, which will be extinguished in blocks as the Vigil proceeds. In the structure which follows, there are four moments where light can be extinguished before the final, symbolic flame is put out at 11.00pm.

The order of service can be found here.

Photographs of the BBC2 footage of the vigil:

Westminster Abbey - First World War Vigil

Westminster Abbey - First World War Vigil

Westminster Abbey - First World War Vigil

Westminster Abbey - First World War Vigil

Westminster Abbey - First World War Vigil

Westminster Abbey - First World War Vigil

10 Comments CherryPie on Aug 5th 2014

10 Responses to “Westminster Abbey – First World War Vigil”

  1. Ayush says:

    great post. i like the candle in the first shot, the light and the colour

    • CherryPie says:

      Thank you, I took my time to get the poppies in just the right place so they caught the light from the candle and television. The only two sources of light in the room.

  2. ....peter:) says:

    your picture of the candle surrounded with poppies is beautiful Cherrie…
    the vigil itself is remarkable and the pictures in Westminster Abbey by the BBC2 are just wonderful….peter:)

    thanks for all of your comments yesterday:)

  3. Ginnie says:

    If I had known this was on, Cherry, I would have wanted to see it. We get BBC 1 and 2. Next time I’ll pay attention. I’m certain it was very moving.

  4. ubermouth says:

    Incredible pictures. I loved your own tribute. Westminster Abbey certainly is beautiful,isn’t it?

    • CherryPie says:

      Westminster Abbey is beautiful, but sadly photographs are no allowed on a personal visit. The audio guide is thrust upon you and all the atmosphere is lost. I can cope without taking photographs but I would much prefer a detailed guidebook to take me around. I look at the things I see and the guidebook tells me what they are. Audio guides tell you what to see…

  5. james higham says:

    Ah yes – wonderfully done, Cherie.