WINCHESTER Cathedral has reopened its doors following what is likely to be its longest closure in history.

As of Tuesday, people have been able to pray there after 12 weeks of lockdown.

The Dean of Winchester, Very Rev Catherine Ogle, said: “We were longing to see the cathedral open again and to offer a warm, safe welcome to everyone who wants to come inside. In times of uncertainty and anxiety the cathedral offers a much needed safe, sacred space.

“We all have a unique experience of lockdown. The cathedral space can hold every emotion that we carry and is a perfect place for both prayer and reflection.”

This is the beginning of its reopening plans. It will be fully open to visitors again when the Government guidelines change.

Although the building has been closed since March 23, services have still been held. This has varied from daily video reflections from clergy and members of the community, to online services through the Zoom app.

These services, which have been watched by people from as far as New Zealand and Ohio, will continue.

The Dean added: “The Great West Window is a sign of hope in the ability of our community to rebuild and heal. After the desecration of the Civil War the current window was created from fragments of glass. We are resilient and can rebuild after the most terrible suffering, with the support of one another.”