Thursday, February 24, 2011

Christchurch Cathedral Destroyed In Earthquake

The spire of Christchurch Cathedral was completely destroyed by the 6.3-magnitude earthquake which struck on 22 February.

The destruction of Christ Church Cathedral has taken away a symbol of hope in the quake-hit city of Christchurch, a New Zealander with the Anglican Church in Melbourne says. About 50 people attended a special service at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne on Thursday to pray for the victims and all those affected by Tuesday's earthquake in Christchurch.

The city's landmark Anglican cathedral survived September's earthquake but was largely destroyed in the 6.3-magnitude quake. Ken Spackman, general manager of business services at the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, said the cathedral had become a symbol of hope and strength for the Christchurch community after the September quake.

"Seeing the images of the cathedral devastated and people being unsure of what was happening, even with the cathedral itself, whether there were people inside, just really broke my heart in terms of that symbol being gone," Mr Spackman said. Mr Spackman, a New Zealander, said he had not been able to contact about six support staff from the Christchurch diocese who worked in and around the cathedral building.

The cathedral's dean Peter Beck has said all nine cathedral staff were safe, but there were visitors inside the building when it collapsed. Police on Thursday said up to 22 people were presumed to have died in the cathedral.