Christ Church Cathedral traces its origins to the Vikings who se led here during the tenth century. Although the first se lers were pagan, they were gradually Chris anised as they integrated with their Irish neighbours. Saint Olaf’s church was built nearby, possibly as early as the 990s, and a church dedicated to the Holy Trinity was built on this site around the year 1050. Although this cathedral’s proper name remains The Cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, it is known as Christ Church - a term of Scandinavian origin meaning ‘head church’ or ‘cathedral’. In 1096, Waterford became a diocese when Malchus, a Benedic ne monk formerly associated with Winchester Abbey, was consecrated in Canterbury by St Anslem. Malchus was one of Ireland’s first bishops, and Christ Church became the cathedral of the new city diocese of Waterford.
The Cathedral Today
Christ Church Cathedral is today, as it has been for nearly 1000 years, a focal point of Christian community in Waterford. Our community is made up of people from different Christian backgrounds, Protestant and Roman Catholic, and a number of nationalities - Irish, Nigerian, English, Hungarian, French, German, Tinerfeño, and American. We are a cathedral of the Church of Ireland (Anglican), and welcome people of all faiths and none to explore the history of this special place, worship with us, and enjoy quiet moments of reflection.
This space is unusual to find in an Irish cathedral. The nave and chancel, located past the archway and organ where your tour began, is the sacred space of the cathedral where services are held.
Nave and Chancel
The nave is the middle or body of a church, extending from the transepts to the principal entrances or nave can be a hub of a wheel while chancel is the space around the altar in a church, often enclosed, for use by the clergy and the choir in medieval cathedrals the chancel was usually enclosed or blocked off from the nave by an altar screen.