Suffolk church takes unusual step of renaming itself in honour of patron saint
PUBLISHED: 17:31 05 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:40 05 November 2019
A church is set to be renamed to commemorate a legendary Suffolk figure on the 1150th anniversary of his death.
The name of St Peter and St Paul's Church in Hoxne will be altered to include St Edmund, the patron saint of Suffolk, who is widely believed to have died in the village.
The former king of East Anglia, St Edmund died in battle with the Vikings, with many art pieces depicting him being tied to a tree before being shot with arrows.
He was killed for refusing to renounce his Christian faith.
As part of a series of celebrations recognising the patron saint of East Anglia's life, the church will be changing their name to the 'Church of St Peter and St Paul with St Edmund' on November 20th - exactly 1150 years after his death.
Churchwarden Wilf White said: "There's going to be a real celebration of East Anglia's patron saint at the church."
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Mr White added that he believes there is a "real claim" for St Edmund to be recognised as patron saint of England alongside St George.
The celebrations will begin with a blessing by the Bishop of Dunwich, the Right Reverend Dr Mike Harrison, in a service held at the church at 7pm on Wednesday, 20th November.
It is expected that during this blessing the name of the church will be formally changed.
A new wooden screen, originally created in Victorian times, will also be unveiled at the church to form the entrance to a new chapel during this ceremony.
The church is also hosting a concert from 7pm on Saturday, 23rd November, with readings of Abbo of Fleury's eyewitness account of St Edmund's death to be read out.
The Opus Anglicanum choir and Radio 4's Zeb Soanes, who originates from Lowestoft, will also be performing medieval music at the concert.
Mr White said: "This will be a wonderful week of celebration, and everyone is welcome to join us. My fellow churchwarden, Guy McGregor, and I are delighted to see our lovely screen restored and we have ambitious plans for our church going forward."