Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain is the body responsible for the Greek Orthodox Church in Great Britain, and is headquartered in London. The Archdiocese is currently headed by His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain.
The first recorded organised Greek Orthodox community in Great Britain was established in 1670, by a group of 100 Greek refugees from Mani. The authorities granted permission to build a church in 1677, to the Archbishop of Samos, who had originally travelled to London to have one of his books published. The church was confiscated in 1684 and handed over to Huguenot refugees from France—much to the fury of the Greek archbishop, who wrote a furious pamphlet which critisised this move.
During the next 150 years, the community had to worship in the Imperial Russian Embassy. Finally, in 1837, an autonomous community was set up in Finsbury Park in London. The first new church was built in 1850, on London Street in the City. In 1877, the Church of the Holy Wisdom was constructed in London, in order to cope with the growing influx of Orthodox immigrants to the United Kingdom. By the outbreak of the First World War, there were large Orthodox communities in London, Manchester, Cardiff and Liverpool, each focused on its own church.
The issue of how these significant communities were to be governed was not resolved until 1922, when the Ecumenical Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis created the Diocese of Thyateira—named after the famous See of Thyateira in Asia Minor. Based in London, this diocese had jurisdiction over all Western Europe.
The Second World War and its aftermath saw a large expansion amongst the Orthodox Communities of Europe, necessitating the establishment of new dioceses in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland.
Today, there are over 100 Orthodox Communities in the United Kingdom. The Archdiocese comes under the overall authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, who in turn has authority over 6 bishops and hundreds of priests and deacons. As is traditional within the Orthodox Church, the bishops have a considerable degree of autonomy within the Archdiocese.
- His Eminence Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain from the Orthodox Research Institute