Thursday, January 23, 2014

Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity and the Annunciation, Oxford

1972 saw the completion of the Orthodox Church in Oxford, located in the garden of the Houses of St. Gregory and St. Macrina, given in perpetuity for free by the House to the local Orthodox community. Despite not being a large church, it maintains its simplicity. The octagonal shape, proposed by Militza Zernov, shows a unique architectural beauty within this University City. 

The Church is shared on an equal basis by the Greek Orthodox Community of the Holy Trinity (under the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain) and the Russian Community of the Annunciation (under the Exarchate of Western Europe – Deanery of Great Britain). “It is a witness to the vitality of Orthodoxy in the West, to the possibility of inter-Orthodox collaboration and to the life-giving potentialities of the meeting between Orthodoxy and the Western Christian traditions”[1]. It was, thus, considered to be a pan-Orthodox church. 

The cooperation of the two communities (Greek and Russian) into one church building could not have been realised without the help of the House of St. Gregory and St. Macrina. On the other hand, Nicolas Zernov saw this new church building as a new venture, where the English language could be promoted and used during the Orthodox services.

[1] Allchin, A.M., “Editorial Notes”, Sobornost, Series 6: Number 7, Summer 1973, p. 445

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