Archbishop makes VJ Day call to work for justice, truth and freedom
Archbishop John calls for us to pledge ourselves to justice, truth and freedom from tyranny as we mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Japan Day.
In his address at the Wales National Service of Thanksgiving for VJ Day service at Llandaff Cathedral, Archbishop John pays particular tribute to the prisoners of war held by the Japanese who showed “extraordinary spirit” in appalling conditions.
These prisoners included Welshman Penry Markham Rees, who described his experience in a poem, quoted by the Archbishop. Rees survived and later became the Archbishop’s headmaster at Bassaleg Grammar School – “a man whom I was privileged to know, and someone whom I hugely admired”.
Archbishop John says, “Facing down darkness and abandonment, enduring brutality and suffering even to the point of death, and revealing the noble hope and truth of a new life, is a pattern Christians recognise in the example of Jesus Christ, who never yielded to the powers of darkness and evil that opposed him.”
He adds, “He and I hope they, would wish us, in our time, to continue to work for and call for a world where brutality and ignorance lie in the dust, defeated by the noble quest for justice and truth, and for freedom from tyranny in any shape or form.
“This day, may each one of us willingly pledge ourselves to such a noble quest.”
The National Service of Thanksgiving is organised by the Welsh Government and was pre-recorded at Llandaff Cathedral, under strict COVID regulations with no congregation present. Also taking part are the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, the Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan, Morfudd Meredith, and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies.
Representatives of Wales’ faith communities lead the prayers, and members of the Armed Forces and the Royal British Legion lay wreathes and bare standards. An act of re-dedication is led by Canon Mark Preece, Canon Precentor of Llandaff Cathedral.
You can watch the service here.