Leigh Hatts  

Holy Family replaces Becket

Holy Family by Kenneth Hughes in Southwark Cathedral churchyard next to Borough Market

Today would normally be the Feast of St Thomas of Canterbury because on 29 December 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in his cathedral.

Next year is the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom when, thanks to 2020 being leap year, the day will be a Tuesday and much highlighted.

But this year 29 December is a Sunday so Holy Family Sunday takes precedence.

You will also find it referred to as the First Sunday of Christmas in many Anglican churches including Southwark Cathedral where there is a Holy Family sculpture.

Canterbury Cathedral observes St Thomas today with a special evensong and vespers.

Both Canterbury Cathedral and Southwark Cathedral are part of the Becket2020 programme of special events.