Manchester Cathedral has lead a delegation of civic, education and city leaders to sign a friendship accord between Portugal and Manchester.
Dean of Manchester Rogers Govender and Manchester’s Lord Mayor Donna Ludford visited Mayor of Portugal’s Castelo Branco region, President Leopoldo Rodrigues, to sign a friendship agreement between the two regions on March 20.
The document pledges to build on links between Castelo Branco and Manchester to enrich each region’s culture, education and scientific research.
This historic pledge between the two regions also marks the 650th anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty signed at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral in 1373 which established “perpetual friendships, unions and alliances” between the UK and Portugal.
Dean of Manchester Rogers Govender said: “Part of our mission at Manchester Cathedral is to build relationships between nations.
“The Cathedral has a long relationship with the region of Castelo Branco and we are proud to officially extend what we know will be a long and fruitful partnership with the wider Manchester city region.”
A formal ceremony will take place at the Cineteatro in Castelo Branco on March 20, where Lord Mayor Councillor Ludford and Castelo Branco Mayor President Rodrigues will exchange gifts from each region and sign the official Memorandum of Understanding.
The document pledges that “both cities hereby express their sincere desire to develop friendly and cooperative relations which build on the relationship between Castelo Branco and Manchester Cathedral.”
Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Donna Ludford said: "It's an honour to be able to represent Manchester and further extend a hand of friendship to Castelo Branco. Portugal is one of the United Kingdom's oldest and closest allies and I am proud to represent Manchester as we cement even deeper ties.
"Now more than ever it is important that we live and work in solidarity with one another in a world that risks becoming more divided. Manchester has a long history in making bonds across the world, and through this delegation we will continue in this proud tradition."
The delegation will also include representatives from Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Art. The Manchester Cathedral choir who will perform at venues across the region during the six-day visit, in particular at the celebrations for the annual Castelo Branco Day which also falls on March 20.
In 2017, Manchester Cathedral worked with Portuguese artist Cristina Rodrigues to create a bespoke series of seven embroidered altar frontals for the Cathedral entitled, The Kingdom of Heaven. The altar frontals were then completed in Castelo Branco, a region famous for its textiles, and it was here the relationship began. Mayor Rodrigues also visited Manchester Cathedral in October 2022 to meet with the city’s local government and universities to explore links between the regions.