Nine Lessons and Carols

On Christmas Eve at 3.30pm, the Cathedral holds its ever-popular Service of Nine Lessons and Carols.

The Service of Nine Lessons and Carols has humble beginnings. It is adapted from an order drawn up by E. W. Benson, who later became the Archbishop of Canterbury, for a Christmas Eve service in a wooden shed which was being used as the cathedral in Truro in 1880. The format has been made famous since it was first used at King’s College, Cambridge, in 1918. The service then found the airwaves in 1928 and, with the exception of 1930, has been broadcast every year since.

The service tells the story of Christmas through a series of readings from the Bible. It begins with the Fall of Humanity and then the earliest promises of Redemption through Jesus the Messiah. It continues highlighting the hopes of the Old Testament prophets until the birth of Christ, as told in the Gospels. As the name of the service implies, the narrative is reinforced through the singing of carols and hymns.

It is recommended to arrive early for this service.