A MESSAGE of hope for the North East was given during the first speech by the new Bishop of Durham.
Hundreds turned out to witness the inauguration of the Right Reverend Justin Welby at Durham Cathedral on Saturday.
Previously the Dean of Liverpool, Bishop Welby has now become the fourth most senior Bishop in the Church of England.
As part of the traditional ceremonial role, he knocked on the door of Durham Cathedral three times before entering.
After being announced as Bishop of Durham to much applause, he said in his sermon that Christians had a role to play during the tough economic climate and it was a time of “opportunity”.
“We now have a task, a calling from God to rekindle the Christian faith in the North East,” he said.
He also spoke of how the current financial situation in the world could inspire a “spiritual revival” among the public.
“The experience of the financial collapse is not something new to this area,” he said.
“We have every reason to be confident in the gospel in this times.
“This is a moment of opportunity because so many idols have fallen, as well as idols of institutions.
“This is the area that made the steel and mined the coal and built the ships and regeneration is needed above all in this region.
“This is a region that created great companies too.”
Bishop Welby was also presented with a sword which, according to ancient legend, was used in medieval times to slay a dragon.
The father-of-five, who is married to Caroline, is now set to take part in a series of prayer meetings around the area, as part of his Prayer for the People campaign.
Children from schools across the region, including Sunderland, took part in the ceremony.