Cross of Nails Will Strengthen Peace Link for Cities

Coventry Evening Telegraph (England), February 11, 2005 | Go to article overview

Cross of Nails Will Strengthen Peace Link for Cities


Byline: By BARBARA GOULDEN barbara.goulden@mrn.co.uk

A LEADING Coventry churchman will be taking part in a symbolic ceremony in Dresden this weekend.

The Dean of Coventry, the Very Rev John Irvine, along with the cathedral's former international director, Canon Paul Oestreicher, has been invited to address memorial meetings in the German city, which is twinned with Coventry.

The pair are travelling to Dresden, in the former East Germany, where the dean will formally present a cross of nails to members of the congregation at the Frauenkirche church.

The baroque church - bombed with the rest of the city in the last major air raid of the Second World War - has been rebuilt in its original style.

Sixty years after the end of the war, the message from the dean and the canon will be that the time has come to draw a line under old resentments and move forward in peace.

By handing over a cross of nails, symbol of the huge medieval nails which fell from the burning roof of Coventry Cathedral in 1940, the dean will be officially linking the rebuilt Dresden church with communities working for peace all over the world.

Canon Oestreicher, now aged 73, was born in Germany and as the son of a Jewish father still remembers having to hide from the Gestapo as a child.

He later accepted the Christian faith and as well as being international director of peace and reconciliation in Coventry, he is also an ex-chairman of Amnesty International in Britain and vice-present of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

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