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Opening of the legal year

Image of Justice statue

Religious services to mark the opening of the legal year stem from centuries old tradition. The custom of celebrating at the opening of the judicial year originated on the Continent. The first recorded instance was at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1245. Melbourne continues this tradition with a number of services held to mark the event.

Multi-Faith Service

The State's first Multi-Faith Operning of the Legal Year was held at Government House on 2 February 2015, hosted by Victorian Governor Alex Chernov. The event was supported by the Victorian Council of Churches, the Islamic Council of VIctoria, the Buddhist Council of Victoria, the Hindu Community Council of Victoria, and by lay and Rabbinical representatives of the Jewish legal community.

The Multi-Faith Service will be held at Government House on Monday 30 January 2017.

Red Mass

A Red Mass is celebrated annually in the Catholic Church for judges, attorneys, law school professors, students and government officials. Originating in Europe during the Middle Ages, the Red Mass is so-called from the red vestments traditionally worn in symbolism of the tongues of fire (the Holy Spirit) that descended on the Apostles at Pentecost.

Red Mass will be held at St Patrick's Cathedral at 9am on Monday 30 January 2017.

For more information on these and other services to mark the opening of the legal year, visit the Victorian Bar website.