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Vital cash boost for Orthodox cathedral

PUBLISHED: 14:40 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:51 07 September 2010

Jeremy Kuper A GREEK Orthodox cathedral in Camden Town has received a cash boost for essential repairs. All Saints Church in Camden Street has been awarded £114,000 by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The money will be used for restoration

Jeremy Kuper

A GREEK Orthodox cathedral in Camden Town has received a cash boost for essential repairs.

All Saints Church in Camden Street has been awarded £114,000 by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The money will be used for restoration work to the leaking roof. The Portland stone facade of the building will also be repaired, as over time layers of paint have covered the original stonework. Repairs will also be made to the tower.

"We will try to make the church the best in Camden," said priest Father Zafirakos, who met with the funding bodies last Thursday to receive the cheque.

"I received a letter from English Heritage three days before Christmas - it was a lovely Christmas present."

The cathedral was built in 1822 by architect William Inwood and his son Henry William, who drew on classical Greek architecture for inspiration.

First used by the Church of England, the building suffered some damage in air raids during the Second World War.

It was leased to the Greek community in 1948 at a time when most of the Cypriot community was concentrated around Camden, becoming only the second Greek Orthodox church in the capital.

The Greek Orthodox community eventually bought the building in the 1970s, shortly after the arrival of the current priest Father Zafirakos.

He has a regular congregation of around 200 worshippers and now that the money is in place its future as a place of worship is more secure.

"We are delighted that English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund have been able to help us, especially as this year marks our 60th anniversary," said the priest.

"This church is not only a beautiful treasure, but also a living focal point for London's Greek Cypriot community."

The cash grant comes as part of a £15million investment program in places of worship by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund. In London nine churches will benefit by £976,000 for repairs.

Wesley Kerr, London Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund committee, said: "It is wonderful that the Heritage Lottery Fund is able to support a church like this.

"The key thing is if we can preserve a building like this it is terrific. The building is iconic, it is an architectural gem with great architectural features and one of the finest buildings in Camden. Without funding this astonishing legacy would disappear."

Holborn and St Pancras MP Frank Dobson, who is chairman of the all-party Parliamentary group on historic churches and chapels, added: "These grants are going to buildings which are part of everyone's heritage, not just the heritage of those who worship in them. They also often serve as major centres of local life."

editorial@hamhigh.co.uk


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