Labyrinths New Zealand

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Labyrinth in the Nelson Cathedral


Christ Church Cathedral, Nelson, is the principal church of the Diocese of Nelson. The official seat of the Bishop of Nelson is found here in the sanctuary. An ancient word for this seat is cathedra hence the description of the building as a cathedral.

The labyrinth is located on the floor in the eastern transept and is made of painted concrete.

"The cathedral is a spiritual centre for Nelson city and the diocese. It is wonderful to reflect upon the impact visiting the cathedral has upon many of our visitors and the way in which God speaks to so many people through their visit. Tourists are, in many ways, modern-day pilgrims. The introduction of a permanent labyrinth at Nelson Cathedral is one recent development which aims at engaging pilgrims of all sorts, whether as a visitor or as a regular."

"Located on the floor in the eastern transept, we believe this labyrinth will be a wonderful and engaging addition to our ministry and missional life as Nelson's Cathedral, refreshing lives and transforming faith at the heart of our community."

"There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. You can use the labyrinth in any way that meets your need. Today people walk the labyrinth slowly as an aid to contemplative prayer and reflection, as a spiritual exercise, or even as a form of pilgrimage."

"Labyrinths have recently experienced something of a revival. Partly, this is due to the way in which the labyrinth engages so profoundly with many peoples more overt expression of
spiritual exploration and life-journey, a characteristic feature of 'post-modernity'. Labyrinths have become an ancient and a modern classic of cathedrals and are currently being used world-wide as a way to quiet the mind, find balance, and encourage mediation, insight and celebration. they are open to all people as a non-demoninational, cross-cultural tool of wellbeing."

"Over the centuries labyrinths have been a feature of many cathedrals. One of the best remaining examples dates from the Middle Ages and is found in Chartres Cathedral, France. The Middle Ages was a time of pilgrimage, but because many could not make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, (considered at the time to be the centre of the world and symbolising Kingdom of Heaven), they would instead make pilgrimages to cathedrals like Canterbury, Santiago de Compostella, and to Chartres."

Nelson Cathedral labyrinth-2

"As a result of this, the labyrinth at Chartres came to be called "Le Chemin de Jerusalem" or 'the road to Jerusalem".me to be called "Le Chemin de Jerusalem" or 'the road to Jerusalem". When pilgrims arrived at Chartres they would complete their pilgrimage by walking the labyrinth, slowly retracing their steps before finally rejoining the 'outside world'. Labyrinths were also used for repentance."

"As with a pilgrimage, walking the labyrinth was a questing: a searching journey with the hope of becoming closer to God. When used for repentance, the pilgrims would walk on their knees."

With thanks to Jan Blythe for the original material.

Getting there ...

Physical Address:

Christ Church Cathedral
Anglican Church of Aotearoa
Trafalgar Square
South Island
New Zealand

Availability: when the
cathedral is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm each day.

Phone: +64 3 548 1008


More on the cathedral ...

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