Funeral pall honours Titanic dead
A handcrafted funeral pall has been dedicated at a special service marking the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic.
St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast was packed with well-wishers who remembered the 1,500 dead.
The Church of Ireland ceremony also featured elements of the original memorial service in the days after the disaster.
Dean of Belfast the Rev John Mann recalled the tragic events of 100 years ago. "The tales of heroism and self-sacrifice of self-preservation and social advantage have been frequently rehearsed in these recent weeks, but for us today it is in the separation of fact from fiction, from movie to reality is what is required if we are to remember in sincerity and commemorate in the true spirit of acknowledgement of both the nobility of humanity and its inner frailties," he said.
The pall was commissioned by St Anne's as a permanent reminder of the loss of life and of the Christian hope of resurrection.
Made of merino wool felt, it is backed with Irish linen and dyed an indigo blue, evoking an image of the midnight sea in which the Titanic finally came to rest.
The memorial has been made by Helen O'Hare and Wilma Kirkpatrick, textile artists at the University of Ulster. The 12ft X 8ft pall was the gift of the Friends of St Anne's Cathedral.
A large central cross is fashioned from many of tiny crosses and hundreds more of these crosses, in different sizes and shapes, each individually stitched in silk, rayon, metallic and cotton threads, fall away towards the velvet rimmed edges of the pall, symbolic of lost lives sinking into the dark ocean.
The dean highlighted the development of the Titanic Quarter, a large district of new and refurbished arts centres, apartments, exhibition spaces and entertainment outlets, and said it symbolised the sense of purpose in the descendants of those who built the Titanic.
He added: "What comes to the fore today is where the nobility and frailty of the people of Belfast lie in 2012, not 1912, nobilities and frailties that are exposed in social interaction and political debate and have been exacerbated through the current recession, as we look for vision from our politicians and community and church leaders to see this region and city through difficult times."