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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, blessed Athenagoras Kokkinakis, in the presence of several Priests of London. The Head of the Church at that time was the blessed Archimandrite Nikiforos Kykkotis and the President of the Church Board was Kyriakos Mouskas.

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In 1967, the Monk Heracles Aristotelous came from Cyprus to London, 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 Archimandrite Leontios Aristotelous became the Priest in Charge. 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.

The then leaders of the community started searching for a new Church building due to the intra-city movements of the Greek and Greek-Cypriot expatriates that caused the Church to start losing part of its congregation, and because the building of the Church developed structural problems. Finally, they found a derelict Anglican Church in North London, in Wightman Rd, dedicated to St Peter the Apostle. After longterm negotiations,  the Church came into the possession of the Greek Orthodox Community of St John the Baptist, led by Archbishop Athenagoras II. In particular, it was the intention of the first agreement to purchase the freehold of the Church Vicarage at £30,000 and leasehold the Church itself at £1,000 per year on a 21-year contract.

 

Due to many structural and mechanical problems, there was an immediate need for financial resources for repairs. 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. Others, with their own work, offered equally to this effort, which resulted in the Opening of the new Church on 5th October 1980 by the then Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, blessed Methodios Fouyias.

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

On 23rd June 1985, the official opening of the Church was conducted by the then Archbishop Methodios. At the Grand Opening Ceremony, more than 20 protagonists of the Church were decorated with the Keys to the Church. 

Eleftherios Foulidis carried out the Iconography of the Church and many portable icons. The project took more than 18 years to complete and constitutes an important feature of the interior decoration of the Church. 

In 1999, the then Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, blessed Gregorios appointed the then Treasurer of the Committee Mr George Kallis as the new President. In 2012 Archbishop Gregorios appointed the then member of the Committee Mr Andreas Ioannou as the new President.

The Grand Patron of the Church, Sophocles Papanicolaou passed away on 9th June 1990. The Founder of St John the Baptist, Archimandrite Leontios Aristotelous, passed away on 5th December 2001. Both men are inextricably linked to the Church and for this reason, memorials are conducted every year in their memory.

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