St Sophia’s Cathedral is a cathedral tucked away in Bayswater. Here’s our guide to help you make the most out of your visit to this beautiful cathedral.
When it was built, St Sophia’s this Cathedral acted as a focal point for the Greek community that had arrived in London. Saturday and Sunday services still take place there and the Cathedral walls echo with the sounds of the Greek Polyphonic choir and Byzantine music.
St Sophia’s was commissioned in the 1800’s by a committee chaired by Emmanuel Mavrocordato (1830-1909), consisting of Constantinos A londis, Sophoclis Constantinidis, Petros P. Rodocanachi, Paraskevas Sechiaris and Demetrios S. Schilizzi (1839-1893) and Edwin Freshfield.
£50,000 was raised over the span of three years to help fund the building of the cathedral. This money stemmed from the Greek community, which included a number of prosperous merchants and financiers. The first Liturgy was celebrated on 1st June, 1879, after the first stone was laid by Eustratios Ralli. This cathedral was the third church to bear the name of St Sophia in England.
St Sophia became the cathedral of the Greek Nation during World War II, due to London becoming the seat of the Greek government in exile. The Cathedral was bombed during The Blitz, but fortunately repaired.
St Sophia’s design is of Byzantine Revival and was designed by the architect responsible for many significant British churches, John Oldrid Scott. Its subtle exterior contrasts with it elaborate, ornamentally decorated interior. The regal vibrancy that leaps from the Cathedral walls is completed with an iconostasis, painted by Ludwig Theirsch. The Neo-Byzantine style includes traditional Byzantine elements associated with Eastern and Orthodox Christian architecture. The interior is visually stunning, with its masterfully intricate design and colour palette of warm tone greens, yellows and blues; from floor to ceiling, this cathedral sings with vivacity.
You can find the cathedral at:
St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Moscow Road, Bayswater, London W2 4LQ