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A seasonal staple, the festival of lessons and carols has been celebrated at Anglican churches and cathedrals for well over 100 years. In addition to a lineup of noted local politicians offering readings, the highlight this year is a newly commissioned arrangement of the Ukrainian traditional “Carol of the Bells” by Polish Canadian composer Robert Busiakiewicz, sung by the Cathedral’s excellent choir. 

This Sunday afternoon’s service is modelled on the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols which originated in Truro Cathedral in 1880. The service with its current readings first took place at King’s College, Cambridge in December 1918, during the dark days immediately after the end of the First World War. More than a century later, it still brings light and hope into our often uncertain lives, as we await the turning of the year and the coming of the Messiah.


Tradition and innovation meet in this service. This Cathedral has for over a decade commissioned a brand-new carol for each year’s program. This year, it is the world premiere of “Carol of the Bells,” in a new setting by Toronto-based composer (and former King’s choral scholar) Robert Busiakiewicz. It seems an especially apt choice, since this traditional Ukrainian Christmas favourite was first heard in North America exactly 100 years ago, at a time when Ukrainians were fighting for freedom – just as they are today.

Over the years, we have invited people from different walks of public life to read the short lessons from the Bible that trace the arc of the Christmas story of Jesus birth in a humble stable in Bethlehem. This year, we’re pleased that elected representatives of our communities from the municipal and provincial levels are with us. This year’s readers are: 


Marie Térèse LittleMayor of Metchosin 

Maja TaitMayor of Sooke 

Sid TobiasMayor of View Royal 

Scott GoodmansonMayor of Langford 

Grace LoreMLA, Victoria-Beacon Hill 

Marianne AltoMayor of Victoria 

Doug KobayashiMayor of Colwood 

The Reverend Canon Ian Powell, Christ Church Cathedral

The Rev’d Ross BlissVicar, Christ Church Cathedral 


A variety of beautiful choral music has been selected by the cathedral’s Director of Music, Donald Hunt, who will also direct the Cathedral’s 30-voice choir. The organ will be played by Assistant Director of Music Mark McDonald. 

Lessons and Carols for Christmas
A service of readings and music

Sunday, December 18, 2022, 4.00 PM
In person and livestreamed online
(Rebroadcast on CHEK TV at 7.00 PM)

Please arrive in time to take your seat by 3.45pm. 

Admission: Free with a collection for the ministry of the Cathedral.