THERE are two special reasons to visit Guildford Cathedral this month. 

Outside the building is a 27ft sculpture made from 100,000 knives and other blades confiscated by 43 police forces across the UK.

The artwork, called The Knife Angel, weighs 3.5 tons. It was conceived as a national monument against violence and aggression and a memorial to those whose lives have been affected by knife crime.

Originating from The British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry and created by sculptor Alfie Bradley, it has been on a tour of towns and cities as part of a national youth anti-violence initiative, raising awareness of the issues of knife crime and all forms of violence and aggression.

The Dean of Guildford, the Very Rev Dianna Gwilliams, said: “I am delighted that the national youth anti-violence tour has come to Surrey, with its centrepiece The Knife Angel on display at Guildford Cathedral. 

“We are working with many partners, guided by young people, to provide opportunities to learn more about the effects of aggression and violence among all sections of the community and to address some key concerns of young people in our county, for example, domestic violence, county lines, bullying and violence against girls and women.”

The Knife Angel is free to view outside the cathedral until Thursday 30 March.

Within the cathedral, is a new exhibition of 27 paintings by British painter and art-historian Iain McKillop for Lent – the period of six weeks (40 days not including Sundays) leading up to Easter. The free exhibition is titled Through Passion: Stations of the Cross. 

Jesus contemplates death. (Photo by Iain McKillop.)

Stations of the Cross is a Christian tradition in which a series of images is displayed depicting Jesus on the day of his crucifixion. Worshippers are invited to stop in turn at each image to say prayers and for reflection. 

This journey represents the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, a traditional processional route along several streets, symbolising the path Jesus walked to Mount Calvary, where he was crucified.

Likewise, in the cathedral exhibition, Iain invites us to travel with Jesus on his journey to his death and resurrection, and to pause at each image for contemplation. “It is not intended to be primarily a sad journey, although Jesus’s death was tragic,” he said.

“He knew that through his self-sacrifice he could achieve forgiveness, healing, cleansing, freedom, renewal, and peace for humanity by reuniting us with God.

“If we respond with empathy and grateful prayer, this may help us recognise the breadth of God’s love for us. Jesus’s self-giving showed how important we are to God.”

Iain has exhibited in cathedrals and churches throughout the UK including Guildford Cathedral in 2022. He is also an ordained Anglican minister.

The exhibition is available to view every day until Monday 10 April during the cathedral’s public opening hours: Monday to Saturday 8.30am to 4.30pm, Sunday 1.30pm to 3.30pm.