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Photo: Anne Mofid

“Father, Forgive” - these two words which I discovered at the ruins of Coventry Cathedral in 1973 changed the course of my life.

This is the story I must tell: A Story of Suffering and Hope

It is 42 years since I first visited Coventry Cathedral. It had a profound impact on me, hugely influencing and inspiring me to be who I am and what I now do.

It was, if I remember rightly, on an early morning in November 1973. A few months earlier, I had met a wonderful girl from Coventry in Oxford, where we were living and studying, a girl who later became my dear wife, Annie. In July 1974 we were married at the old, historical Saint Osburg’s in Coventry.

In November 1973 Annie had invited me to her home town of Coventry, so that she could introduce me to her parents. It was a memorable occasion for me, leading to a long and loving relationship between us, which I cherish dearly.

We visited the cathedral. I can recall it was a cold grey day. I was only 21 years old, and had arrived in England, only a couple of years earlier from Iran, as a student to further my studies. I did not know anything about Coventry, its bombed and destroyed Cathedral, its industrial heritage, and moreover, I did not know much about Christianity, except what I had heard about Jesus and Mary, which in Iran I knew as ”Hazrat-e Isa” and “Maryam-e Moghadas” (Prophet Jesus and Holy Mary).

To cut a long story short, Annie gave me a quick tour of the Cathedral, the old, destroyed one and then took me down the stairs to the new one.

For sure, I didn't understand every word Annie was telling me. Indeed, I suspect I was lost at times but, as I recall, I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing.

Later on, in my search to learn more about what I had seen in Coventry Cathedral on that November day, I discovered:

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