It could be six months before the fate of the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Christchurch is known and it could be up to five years before services resume there. Parishioners from the Cathedral are now worshipping at St Mary’s pro-Cathedral, Manchester Street.
Having served the St Mary’s parish since 1885, the Marist Fathers will leave St Mary’s at the end of January 2012.
Cathedral management board Chairman Lance Ryan says the earthquake caused over $30 million worth of damage.
The Cathedral is in a precarious state, and the main dome and the north tower could potentially collapse further should a sizeable aftershock occur. These sections of the Cathedral are therefore a falling hazard, and until stabilised will continue to prevent the adjacent Cathedral College from reopening.
Ryan says the dome could fall at any moment and engineers cannot get inside until it’s removed. Approval to remove the dome is expected in the next few days. Structural engineers are waiting on approval from Christchurch City Council before the dome can be removed.