Archives: Jerusalem-Cathedral Damaged, Fr. Klein Safe (1948)

Arab Legion fighters take aim in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, May 1948 | Life Magazine via Wikipedia

From the July 4, 1948, issue of The Living Church

In a recent report to London, the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt. Rev. Weston H. Stewart, said that the American chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Walter C. Klein, has escaped injury, though his apartment has been fired upon twice. The bishop reports in detail on damage done by shelling to St. George’s Cathedral. This includes: the wooden roof of the nave which is wrecked. Some carved bosses from the choir and sanctuary roof have fallen, but they are undamaged and can be replaced. The pulpit has been completely demolished.

About 20 of the stained-glass windows have been partially or completely wrecked, among them the great West window, and smaller windows of St. Michael’s Chapel. All the plain glass is gone.

Archbishop Frederick Temple’s litany desk is damaged, but still usable. Choir stalls, but not canons’ stalls, and Glastonbury chairs, damaged or destroyed. Damage to stonework, and much damage to plaster, in the nave and the central crossing. Two brass lions at the foot of the lectern are badly damaged. There are holes in the marble flooring, and a lock was wrenched off the vestry door.

Concluding, the bishop wrote:

In general, the nave is a wreck, and the crossing and transept are damaged, but the choir and sanctuary are little the worse except for dust and dirt. We rigged up a temporary church in my drawing room for today, and shall continue to use it for some days, but as we had been using only the choir for the last month, I think, when we have got it cleaned up, we can return to it. Except for their windows both St. Michael’s and St. John’s Chapels are virtually undamaged.

In the weeks around the May 18, 1948, declaration of the State of Israel, Jews and Arab troops battled in the streets for control of Jerusalem, the beginning of what Israelis call the War of Independence. Intense street fighting broke out near St. George’s Cathedral on May 16, and the area was the scene of sporadic clashes until a temporary truce was declared on June 11. The eventual ceasefire line, which divides Jerusalem into Israeli and Palestinian zones passes about 300 yards west of the cathedral. The Rev. Walter Klein, then a regular correspondent of The Living Church, would go on to serve as dean of Nashotah House and the fourth Bishop of Northern Indiana.


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