The Parish Church of St Helier a Church of England church in the parish of St Helier. It is the island’s civic church, with services such as that following the Assize d’Heritage, which marks the start of the legal year, the one following the annual session of the Ecclesiastical Court, and it is used for services related to the swearing-in of new Lieutenant Governors. It is also the Pro-Cathedral – the seat of the Bishop of Winchester in the Channel Islands.
The present church was begun in the 11th century, but all that now remains of that structure are the window arches. The church was extended in the 12th century, but most of that building has also gone. Most of the church is dated after 1820, and a major renovation began in 2007. The church has a rich history. In 1646 the future Charles II and James II took refuge in Jersey during the Civil War and used to worship here.
Helier was a Belgian saint who lived as a hermit for some ten years on an islet in St Aubin’s Bay, about three-quarters of a mile off the south coast of Jersey. In AD 555 he was martyred by Saxon pirates, beheaded by their leader who feared his men would be converted by Helier’s preaching. In consequence, Helier soon came to be venerated by the Islanders, and eventually was adopted as the Patron Saint of both Jersey and its capital.
To this day the church holds four services on a Sunday, together with a short Communion service on a Tuesday, catering for a local population.
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