Tuesday, September 8, 2015

St Mary’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Camberwell, South London

In the 1960s it was apparent that the Orthodox population in London was growing and spreading all around the British capital. Therefore, more and more Orthodox Churches were needed for the growing Orthodox population. By then, there were three Orthodox Churches in London; however, there was none in South London. Long distances and the overcrowding of the existing Orthodox Churches resulted in a group of people getting together in order to realise the birth of an Orthodox community and Church South of the River Thames.

Following the practice of many Orthodox Communities in the UK, the Committee formed for this project spoke to a number of Anglican churches. Eventually, Fr John Nichols, from Camberwell Green, allowed the Orthodox to celebrate in his church every Sunday and every festivity. The first Orthodox Liturgy in St Giles was celebrated on the 27th December 1962. In 1963 the first permanent priest was appointed, Archimandrite Christophoros K. Kommodatos.

With the assistance of Bishop Iakovos of Apameias and the committee, they were given the Catholic Apostolic Church, Camberwell New Road. By this point many icons were made, books for the priests and chanters were bought, together with all the necessary objects to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. The Church was given the name The All Holy Theotokos of Kukkou, celebrated on the 8th September, greatly venerated by the Greek Cypriot faithful.

The parish grew, having a Greek school, Sunday School, the Greek Orthodox Youth Association (G.O.Y.A.) whilst the Church obtained an Iconostasis and the walls were decorated with icons. Since then it has become one of the biggest Greek Orthodox parishes in London, being seen by the Orthodox faithful in South London as The Cathedral. 

1 comment:

  1. I was Baptised at this church in 1946, worshipped here every Sunday, and was received into the Catholic Apostolic Church in 1960 aged 14. I was 15 when our C.A. priest Christopher Heath died and was buried at Albury. Then not long after the church was shared with the Greek Orthodox church. I remember being amazed to see icons on the walls! From the age of 16 or 17 we worshipped instead at the C.A. church in Paddington. It has been very interesting to see what my church looks like today. Rosalind Jones.