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The Parish Church

DSC_0003-2The need for our own place of worship comes naturally after a while, being also a test of commitment and maturity of the whole community. Beyond human reasons, the entireenterpriseof purchasing the church and the church hall was always under God’s care. Thus on 20 October 2011, the community, through the foundation of the parish (Saint Makarios The Great Ecclesiastical Trust), succeeded in buying the church from the Anglican Church, as well as the church hall and the land, and in July 2015 finished the urgent repairs to the church.

The present church was erected on the place of older churches, successively built from 1180, between 1417 and 1700 the churchwas rebuilt three times. After 1761, a new church was built in the Georgian style, lasting almost a century, which finally made way for the present one, finished in 1886 according to the project of the architects Chorley and Connon.

Thearchitecturalstyle of the church is Roman basilical with Victorian Gothic elementsbuilt of sandstone, with slate roof, with Gothic arches and columns inside. The nave is ample, with three aisles – a central one and twolateral ones–that demarcate the rows of benches into four distinct areas. On the wall of the altar there is a large stained glass window depicting Christ the Saviour on the Cross. On the left of the iconostasis (rood screen)there is an octagonal pulpit built out of the wood recovered from the old church (1761). The entire nave is tessellated with brown parquetry and cream-coloured, read and brown mosaic.Many marble and bronze commemorational plaques cover the walls of the nave and altar. The central roof is decorated with stone crosses at the East and West extremities, while the small slendersteeple of the bell tower reaches towards the skies through a metal cross. The church was declared a second degree heritage site, being registered and protected by English Heritage, a status which require the owners to provide special care to the maintenance of the church and limits the possibilities of permanent changes to it.

Under the careful coordination of Fr. Constantin Popescu, from 2011 to 2013 the church was revamped on the inside, being endowed with a Holy Table, iconostasis, icons and votive lights, the rooms adjacent to the Holy Altar being renovated and repurposed. The iconostasis (rood screen), harmonizing with the style of the building and with the extant furniture, was sculpted in oak in the workshop of Mr Tudorei Constantin of Grumazești, Neamț county (Romania), and was installed in 2013, on Good Friday.

The painting of the iconostasis, in Byzantine style with macedo-cretan influences, was done in 2013 in the painting workshop of the Bucium Monastery in Iași (Romania). The Holy Table was built according to Orthodox tradition, using the stone elements of the former Altar in Mirfield where services had been held for six years, from the establishment of the parish to its move here. The coverings of the Holy Table, the Holy Epitaphios and the dvera (curtains to the Altar doors) were embroidered in the tailoring workshop of the Clocociov Monastery in Olt county (Romania).

On the same land there is also a cemetery with over two hundred gravesin which rest those who lived in this region of Britain. To the north of the church there is a multifunctional church hallthat hosts cultural, educational and social activities of both the parish and the local British community.