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HISTORY


 

The Greek Orthodox Community of St. John the Baptist was originally housed in St Clements Anglican Church in Caledonian Road, Barnsbury, London N7. The Holy Church has received the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain following the consent of the Anglican Church. On Saturday 11th June, 1966 the first Vespers and on Sunday 12th June 1966 the first Divine Liturgy and Blessing of the Water was officiated by the then Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, the blessed Athenagoras Kokkinakis, in the presence of several Priests of London. The Head of the Church then was the blessed Archimandrite Nikiforos Kykkotis and President of the Church Board was Kyriakos Mouskas.

 

In 1967, he came from Cyprus to London, the Monk Heracles Aristotelous, where he was promoted to the rank of Archimandrite by Archbishop Athenagoras, and was renamed Leontios. That year, Archimandrite Nikiforos was transferred to All Saints and the position of Parish Priest of the Church became Archimandrite Leontios Aristotelous. In 1977, Kyriakos Mouskas moved to Athens, and the then Secretary and Treasurer of Community, Charalambos Kyriakides was appointed by Archbishop Athenagoras as the new President of the Board.

Because of town movement of emigrants, the Holy Church started losing part of the congregation, and in addition, problems in the building of the Church, the then leaders of the community started searching for a new church building. Finally, they found a derelict Anglican Church in North London, in Wightman Rd, which was dedicated to the Apostle Peter.

 

After a series of negotiations, the purchase of the Holy Church by the Greek Orthodox Community of St. John the Baptist, led by the then Archbishop Athenagoras II. In particular, it was the intention of the first agreement to purchase the freehold of the Church Presbytery at £ 30,000 and leasehold the Church itself of £ 1,000 per year in a 21-year contract.

 

Due to many structural and mechanical problems there was an immediate need for financial resources for their rehabilitation. Generous expatriates, including N. Hadjipateras, C. Hadjipateras, H. Karamanlis, K. Mouskas, S. Polemis, M. Hatziioannou, offered large sums of money to cover the needs of the Church, and others with their own work, offered equally to this work, that reached the Opening of the new Church on October 5, 1980 by the then Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain the blessed Methodios Fouyias.

 

At that time, Sophocles Papanicolaou undertook entirely the sponsorship and financial assistance to the Church in every possible level. In particular, he renovated the interior of the Church, he paid in advance the total amount of rent for 21 years, in total £ 21,000, and ultimately, in 1981 with a generous offer of £ 80,000 he bought the building of the Holy Church and soon after, along with leading Greek expatriates, such as Minos Kolokotronis, Vassilis Tsakiroglou and Leonidas Pateras, they collected the sum of £ 40,000, a sum that purchased the adjacent Hall.

On June 23, 1985 there was conducted the official opening of the Holy Church by the then Archbishop Methodios. At the Grand Opening Ceremony there were decorated more than 20 protagonists of the church with the title of the Key Openers.

The Iconography of the Holy Church and many portable icons, were painted by the painter Eleftherios Foulidis and the work lasted for more than 18 years and constitute an important feature of the interior decoration of the Church.

In 1999, His Eminence Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain Gregorios, appoint the then Treasurer of the Committee Mr George Kallis as new president, and in 2012 appoint the then member of the Committee Mr Andreas Ioannou who performs his duties successfully to this day.

The Grand Patron of the Church, Sophocles Papanicolaou, died on June 9, 1990, and for many years the Founder and Head of the Church, Archimandrite Leontios Aristotelous on 5 December 2001. Both men have been identified with the history of the Holy Church and for this reason Memorials are conducted every year in memory for the rest of their souls.

 

 

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