Kentish Town Road London NW1 9QA
Services

Seven times a day I praise You for Your righteous ordinances
Psalm 118:164

 

REGULAR SERVICES

Saturday Vespers (evening prayer)
5.00pm - 6.00pm

Sunday and Major Feast Days
Matins (morning prayers) 9am
Divine Liturgy (Eucharist) 10.30am - 12.30pm

Other weekday feasts and saints' days
Matins and Divine Liturgy
9.am - 11.15am

Supplicatory Canon (Paraklisis) 
Supplicatory canons to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Andrew the Apostle are sung alternately one evening a week.

We also celebrate the Divine Liturgy in English one Saturday a month, 9.30am - 11am.

Please consult our calendar for more details.

 

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 ABOUT THE DIFFERENT TYPE OF SERVICES

The daily offices

The Christian Church has since its beginning kept a daily cycle of seven services. These are: Vespers (sunset), Compline (before sleep), the Midnight Office, Matins & the 1st Hour (sunrise), the 3rd Hour (9am), the 6th Hour (Noon), and the 9th Hour (3pm). The fixed texts of these services are found in the Horologion, or Book of Hours, and consist primarily of the Psalms of David. 

The services are typically combined so as to create three daily times of prayer - Evening (9th Hour, Vespers and Compline), Morning (Midnight Office, Matins and the 1st Hour), and Noon (3rd Hour and 6th Hour) - in accordance with the Psalm which says, Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice (54:17).

Each of the daily offices have a particular theme - the 9th Hour, for example, is the time at which our Lord died on the Cross, and this is therefore the theme of that particular service - and thereby help us to connect our daily lives to the Life of Christ.

The Divine Liturgy

This is the most important of all the services of the Church. While the daily offices concern the sanctification of earthly time, the Divine Liturgy allows us to experience eternity. It is a manifestation of the Kingdom of God, where we encounter Christ, first through the proclamation of the Word (the Bible), and then through our reception of His Body and Blood in the Divine Eucharist (Holy Communion).

The other sacraments (mysteries)

For more information about the services of Baptism and Marriage, Funerals, Hagiasmos, Evchelaion, etc. please see the Sacraments section of the website.

Funerals and the blessing of the waters are generally not counted as sacraments, but have been included in that section of this website for the sake of convenience.

Occasional services and blessings

Christianity is a way of life (indeed, 'the Way' was its original name) and no part of everyday life should go untouched by the grace of God. The Church therefore has a number of services and prayers for various occasions, such as the birth and naming of a child, the purchase of a new car, the success of a medical operation, safe travels, etc. This are done as and when needed / requested.

Paraklisis

A Supplicatory Canon (Paraklisis) is a sung service directed at the Blessed Virgin Mary or one of the Saints where we ask for their help and prayers to God on our behalf. At various points in the service, we, together with the saint, turn to God in supplication and pray by name for all the people present and those whose names they have submitted for commemoration.

Memorial services (Mnemosyna)

These are a series of hymns and prayers asking God to grant forgiveness and peace to the souls of our departed brothers and sisters in Christ. At our Cathedral, memorial services are usually held at the end of Vespers on Saturday evening and at the end of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning. 

Festal services

At certain times of the year, the daily offices change considerably to bring to life and highlight the importance of a particular event on the Church calendar. This is particularly true of Holy Week and Easter, where the services of Matins and Vespers include things such as the reenactments of Christ's crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Thus, Good Friday Matins (held on Thursday night) is typically just referred to as the Service of the Passion or Crucifixion.

 

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I attend even if I'm not Orthodox?

Yes. Anyone is most welcome to attend our services. Participation in the Sacraments, however, is reserved for those Christians who are members of the Orthodox Church in good standing.

Which language is used in services?

Our regular services are celebrated in their original Greek (as opposed to the modern day form of Greek spoken in Greece and Cyprus), although some English is also used for the reading of the Gospel, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer in order to ensure the participation of the entire congregation. Our Archdiocese has published an excellent bi-lingual edition of the Divine Liturgy, which we highly recommend for those who wish to follow along.

Our monthly English Liturgy is conducted solely in English.

The language used for other services, such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals, will depend on who is in attendance and what their stated preferences are.

Why do you light candles as you come in?

As well as illuminating the church and creating a prayerful atmosphere, the candle burning to give light to those around it is also a beautiful symbol of Christ, who came into the world to enlighten it, and gave Himself up as a sacrifice in order to do so.

The candle also symbolises our presence in the church, and the presence of those for whom we pray. After lighting a candle upon entering the church, we place it next to all the other lit candles, showing that we are not isolated individuals, but parts of a larger whole, something much greater than just ourselves.

Why do you use incense?

Incense is a symbol of worship and prayer. The smoke rising up to heaven symbolises our prayer rising up to heaven. At various points in the services, the priest or deacon will move around the church censing the congregation, symbolically 'collecting' their individual prayers before returning to the altar and offering them up to God. Since incense is offered up to God alone, the censing of people or icons of saints are a way of recognising and acknowledging the image of God in each human being.

Incense also indicates the presence of God, and we therefore cense the church at certain points in the Divine Liturgy to indicate that the Word of God is among His people - before the start of the Liturgy, before the Gospel Reading, before the bread and wine are placed upon the holy altar, etc.

Why is bread distributed at the end of the Liturgy?

The bread given out at the end of the Liturgy is called antidoron (lit. "instead of the Gifts"). It is blessed, but not consecrated, during the Divine Liturgy and given to those who, for whatever reason, are unable to partake of Holy Communion. People will typically take some antidoron home with them and have a piece every day after their morning prayers together with some holy water.