Sunday, June 23, 2013

Orthodoxy in London

As far as I could discover, there is no single resource for Orthodox churches by area in the UK like we have on the Assembly of Bishops website (see here) so I had to do a bit of investigative work to find a parish near me while I'm in London this week. The nearest church to me was St. George's Antiochian Cathedral just a few miles away. Services are held in a rather large stone building that looks to have formerly been an Anglican or Catholic parish by the original apse visible behind a very ornate iconostasis. The four people that chanted the service were quite adept especially the protopsaltis whose voice resonated off the walls even without the microphones at the kliros.

The vast majority of the service was in Arabic (the local English language parish is by all accounts St. Botolph's Church). They did about 95% of the service in that language with the marked exception of the anaphora and one of the Kneeling Vespers prayers, which I considered quite a kindness to us visitors. My children did rather well in the environment considering the language barrier, but 20 minutes into the kneeling prayers they looked at me for comfort having no idea what was going on or when it would end with their knees on rather ancient looking wooden flooring. After the service we headed off to a nearby Mexican restaurant (see here) to rest our legs and enjoy some much needed horchata and chilaquiles. Planning another trip update when we visit the Russian cathedral for a weekday service.


  1. I am envious. You need to post some photos from Ascot! Did you wear a claw hammer coat and top hat?

    1. Top hat and tails. My hat was by far the least interesting. I might have a picture of a woman in a huge hat resembling a strawberry.

  2. I had trouble as well trying to find a parish. A cousin of mine lives in Basingstoke west of London and as I was attempting to find an Orthodox Church, online, near him to visit, I happened upon St. Edward's monastery. Actual relics of Prince St. Edward and a wonderful brotherhood. If you can find a chapel nearer to Basingstoke than the monastery please let me know.

  3. The parish of St Botolph's is also Antiochian but the liturgy is in English. The priest is Fr Alexander Tefft, a Canadian and the parish make-up is multi-ethnic. They serve a splendid lunch after the liturgy. The parish shares the Anglican Church of St Botolph which is located close to Liverpool Street station. Well worth a visit. Details can be found on their website