Leo the cat has just had its moment. In front of the whole Internet. As the Very Rev. Dr. Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury, was recording a routine Morning Prayer, Leo simply “walked into him”.
Even though the Anglican priest handled it like a pro and continued with the speech, Leo completely stole the show. Recognizing the comedy in the situation, Canterbury Cathedral shared the clip of the funny moment on its official Twitter account. As everyone was enjoying every second of it, someone made it into a GIF and shared it on Reddit where it really took off, generating nearly 70K upvotes. The comments on the two platforms really elevate the recording, making it an instant Internet classic.
As the Very Rev. Dr. Robert Willis was recording a routine Morning Prayer, Leo the cat simply “walked into him”
“Leo is one of four cats at the Deanery, the others being his mother Lilly and Uncles Monkey and Tiger,” Nathan Crouch, the Head of Marketing and Communications at Canterbury Cathedral told Bored Panda. “Each of them is very different in character but Leo is undoubtedly the comedian, as could be seen from that clip – and many others besides! He has been enjoying making the daily broadcasts since March and whilst he would be happy to be in everyone, we have tried to include the others to prevent them from getting jealous.”
“With over 20,000 visitors to the Deanery and its gardens each year – and over 1.5m to the cathedral – he is used to being on the show and, having been born in the Deanery and growing up here, he is therefore very used to company and is a very friendly and happy little cat. Though alert and vigilant he is not the brightest of the four (something which has often resulted in his getting stuck up trees or into scrapes of one kind or another) but is very sweet-natured generally and is undoubtedly spoilt rotten!”
This is just one of the many memorable minutes in the rich Canterbury Cathedral history. Founded in 597, it is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England.
And it’s absolutely gorgeous, too. The cathedral was completely rebuilt between 1070 and 1077, and the east end was greatly enlarged at the beginning of the 12th century, and largely rebuilt in the Gothic style following a fire in 1174, with significant eastward extensions to accommodate the flow of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Thomas Becket, the archbishop who was murdered in the cathedral in 1170.
Recognizing the comedy in the situation, Canterbury Cathedral shared the funny moment on its official Twitter account
— Canterbury Cathedral (@No1Cathedral) May 23, 2020
Crouch said that Leo is a cat of split personality, sometimes wanting to be alone and often going off around the 28 acres of gardens and ruins of the precincts that surround the cathedral and chasing the many birds and hedgehogs and myriad other wild animals that he shares the space with and sometimes wanting lots attention. “Like his mother, they love to socialise with the many pilgrims and visitors and takes his role as an ambassador very seriously or in calmer times he finds a cosy place in the house or sunny spot in the garden to sleep.”
“As the ‘baby’ of the family Leo is rather spoilt by everyone and he has the rather brattish behaviour that he inherited from his mother – the one true diva of the precincts!! But he also inherited the extremely sweet nature of his late father, Otto, who had been a stray who ended up moving into the Deanery with the rest of the menagerie and being very much cherished until he tragically passed away a couple of years ago. Being the relative youngster of the quartet he enjoys playing tricks on and winding up his older relatives but is always ultimately forgiven by everyone as he is such an incredible comic!”
Recently, the Cathedral’s clergy have been sharing a lot of content online, including a 5-part video series on the 14th-century English anchoress and mystic Julian of Norwich, and the Dean of Canterbury’s readings of classic tales Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes by Robert Louis Stevenson, and The Voyage of Saint Brendan, Journey to the Promised Land, one of the most famous and enduring stories of Western Christendom. For more information on these and other videos, fire up their website or YouTube channel.
Unfortunately, however, the pandemic hasn’t been kind to the Cathedral. Since it does not receive any funding from the Church, the Crown, or the Government, during the coronavirus outbreak it has no income from visitors, its shop, nor the Cathedral Lodge hotel and conference centre. Even when the lockdown in the UK ends, the financial pressures on the Cathedral are likely to persist for some time. So if you can, please consider donating to the holy place, where worship and pilgrimage has been part of daily life for over 1,400 years.
And the comments are priceless
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