A service has been held to deconsecrate ChristChurch Cathedral so demolition work can be done that will make the earthquake-damaged landmark safe.
About 300 people, many of whom have been part of the congregation for decades, attended the service in Cathedral Square on Wednesday morning.[image:3671:third:right]
Church officials say part of the cathedral will have to be brought down at an estimated cost of about $4 million.
Dean Peter Beck says the area will be a building site for some time and deconsecration removes any sensitivites there may be as the work goes on.
Dean Beck told those present it was a sad day but also another step towards the city's recovery.
Some of those who were at the service say they found it very moving and while they were sad to see the building go, they were honoured to be able to say goodbye.
Ahead of the service, former city missioner Canon David Morrell said he would not be attending.
He says he fears the deconsecration may be misconstrued by Christchurch people as the church abandoning the building.
He says if further damage is found, the deconsecration may make it easier for the church to pursue further demolition, which he says would be a tragedy.