A MAN has been arrested after two people were assaulted in York
Minster on Sunday at the start of the sung eucharist for members of
the General Synod.
The congregation heard shouting and the sounds of a struggle as
the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, other clergy, Synod
officials, and choir began their procession at the start of the
The service itself went ahead without a delay, but the
Archbishop of Canterbury struggled to make himself heard for the
first few minutes as shouting continued from the rear of the
Church officials later said that a man had attacked a cathedral
steward after being asked to wait until the procession had passed
before entering the cathedral. A member of the Archbishop of York's
staff, Dave Smith, intervened, and he too was attacked. Mr Smith
managed to tackle the attacker to the ground and then sat on him
until officers from the Minster's in-house constabulary and the
North Yorkshire Police arrived. A man was arrested on suspicion of
assault; before being bound by his arms and feet and carried to a
waiting police van.
Both the steward and Mr Smith received first aid from paramedics
at the Minster before returning for the rest of the service. During
the sharing of the Peace, Archbishop Welby went to the Minster
entrance to speak with those who had been involved in the
Arun Arora, director of communications for the Archbishops'
Council, said: "The incident was not linked to a protest, but was a
case of a disturbed individual."
During his sermon, the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu,
joked about his recent stay in hospital for prostate cancer
treatment. The hospital chaplain tried to visit Dr Sentamu, but was
told by nurses that he would need the Archbishop's permission,
especially as he was listed as "John Sentamu - religion
It transpired that hospital staff had listed him in this way to
protect his identity, but Dr Sentamu said: "I chuckled to myself.
Had I died during the operation, heaven would have responded,
'Return to Sender: Religion Unknown.'"
He said: "As we look to the east to declare our faith, so I
believe that the sun is always rising on the Church, and in
particular, on the Church of England. And I believe that there will
be joy in the morning for the Church, because I believe that the
Church is always rising, too: it is rising in the power of the
resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, rising to answer
the call of Christ together, to make him visible, to prepare his
way and proclaim God's kingdom."