WESTMINSTER Abbey is planning a candlelit vigil of prayer, to
take place on 4 August next year, to mark the centenary of the
start of the First World War.
A statement from Westminster Abbey, issued last week, said:
"During the evening of silence, prayers, readings, and music at the
Abbey, the congregation will see the light of candles disappear one
by one, until a final remaining candle is extinguished at 11
"The process of extinguishing the light of the candles is
intended to echo the words of Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign
Secretary, who said, at the outbreak of the Great War: 'The lamps
are going out all over Europe. We shall not seem them lit again in
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd John Hall, said: "Our aim
is that the vigil will introduce a note of solemn reflection on the
failure of diplomacy coupled with an element of penitence. We have
been involved in extensive discussions not only with the Government
but with others. We sincerely hope that the ambassadors of all
countries involved in the First World War - including Germany,
Austria and Turkey - will be with us at the vigil next August."
Westminster Abbey contains the Grave of the Unknown Warrior,
which holds an unidentified British soldier killed during the First
World War, and the Padre's Flag, a Union flag that the Revd David
Railton, an army chaplain, draped over make-shift altars on the
battlefields of the Great War.
The Abbey said that it hoped that cathedrals and parish churches
would hold their own services to mark the centenary of the start of
the First World War, and replicate its idea of a candlelit vigil.
It said that it was in discussions with the BBC about broadcasting
the service live.
The Abbey will host a national service to mark the centenary of
the Armistice on 11 November 2018.