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St Martin’s New Processional Cross

News St Martin – Talking Points

Monday 16 September 2013

On Sunday 15 September 2013, St Martin-in-the-Fields’ new processional cross by sculptor Brian Catling was dedicated in a special service.

The cross uses the humblest of material – two pieces of wood simply tied together, contorted in shape – to express the poverty and agony of the cross.  Its gilded gold finish reminds us that all our failures, suffering and shame will be redeemed in Christ’s final overcoming of pain and death.  A strip of cloth attached to the cross embodies the story of St Martin, who in sharing his cloak with a beggar, met and served Christ. 

The cross sits below the church’s East Window, at the altar, the place where the members of the church gather to break bread and through God’s love are reformed, both knowing the poverty of the cross and glimpsing its glory in their everyday lives.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a cross that does fuller justice to both the agony and the glory of Calvary.” Revd Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields

“The privilege of making the processional cross has been overwhelming, both in the excitement of the concept and the enduring nature of its meaning. But also in the anxiety of getting it right. It is difficult for an artist to explain this, but the many hours of wakeful night time dreaming, becomes the forging in the imagination of the meaning of the work. Design is not enough, I need the struggle and tension that only ever comes through deep feeling, prolonged thought, and the work of the hands.” Brian Catling, artist.

Brian Catling is a sculptor, artist and poet and is currently Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford. He was selected for this commission by the St Martin-in-the-Fields Arts Advisory Panel, chaired by Sir Nicholas Goodison, assisted by Modus Operandi Art Consultants and endorsed by the Parochial Church Council. 

We are very grateful for the generosity of The Jerusalem Cross and the estate of Margaret Clark in realising this commission.