Oxford's cathedral at Christ Church is the college chapel as well as the cathedral church for the diocese. The beautiful building is home to a vibrant community with a rich worshipping tradition and a world famous cathedral choir. The cathedral is visited by thousands of people each year, who pray, worship or simply enjoy the stillness it inspires.
On this site stood the convent church where Oxford's patron saint Frideswide was buried in the 8th century. Around her shrine in the 9th and 10th centuries, a group of priests lived a communal life, and in the 12th century, the monastery became the Augustinian priory of St Frideswide. By the 13th century, it was a major place of pilgrimage.
When Cardinal Wolsey began the building of his college here, the western end of the building was removed to make space for Tom Quad, and the remainder was used as the temporary chapel for the new college. Wolsey's plan to replace it with a larger chapel on the north side of Tom Quad would have caused its demolition, but when he fell from power the building of the new chapel stopped.
Today we are grateful that the building has survived and that it is used to the glory of God. To find out more, visit the cathedral's own website.
A number of people in the diocese are Christ Church honorary lay ecumenical and emeriti canons. These are people who have given distinguished service and serve as ambassadors for the cathedral in their parish, life or ministry.
In November 2022, the Archdeacon of Oxford took on the role of Interim Sub Dean at Christ Church in addition to his responsibilities as Archdeacon. In March 2023, the King approved the appointment of Rev Canon Professor Sarah Foot PhD, FRHistS, FSA as Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. Professor Foot is the first woman to be chosen for the role in Christ Church’s almost 500-year-long history. She was installed as Dean of Christ Church on Saturday 8 July 2023.
Visiting the Cathedral
Members of the Church of England who live in the Diocese of Oxford are welcome to come to their Cathedral to pray whenever they wish. The Parishioner Pass lets you enter the Cathedral (via Tom Gate) to pray and look around the building. If you would like to visit the College or the Great Hall you will need to buy a ticket (chch.ox.ac.uk/ visit-us). Adults need a pass each. Under 18s will be admitted if they are accompanying a passholder.
To apply for a Parishioner Pass go to chch.ox.ac.uk/yourcathedral. Alternatively please complete the form in issue 7 of Pathways magazine and post it to the cathedral.
Worship at the Cathedral
The daily offering of worship to God is at the heart of Christ Church Cathedral. Everyone is welcome, whether for a single service or more regularly. Note that services begin five minutes later than ‘normal’ time, because the Cathedral keeps the old ‘Oxford Time’ (i.e. five minutes west of Greenwich). This means 6pm Oxford Time is 6.05pm GMT or BST
Some of the services are livestreamed. For more information, including livestream links and the cathedral music list, see chch.ox.ac.uk/cathedral.
- 8am Holy Communion (1662)
- 10am Said Matins (1662)
- 11am Choral Eucharist (CW)
- 6pm Choral Evensong (1662)
- 7.10am Morning Prayer (CW)
- 7.30am Holy Communion (CW)
- 1pm Holy Communion (Wednesdays only) (1662)
- 6pm Evening Prayer or Choral Evensong (1662)
Christ Church Cathedral School visits