Saturday, 31 July 2010

Woodcarvers from Cyprus

Today we received two specialists who came all the way from Cyprus.

They came to see our new Church and measure the doors, in order to prepare the woodcarved doors, to be fixed in our new place of worship.

They are Costas Kaouranis, woodcarver, and Andreas Michael, carpenter, both very experienced artists in this kind of work.

Friday, 30 July 2010

"Sacred Geometry"

Natasha Ghani is a young Architect interested on Byzantine Architecture. She is studying at the moment for her Master’s degree at the University College London and has chosen to write her dissertation on our historic project. The title of her dissertation is: “Sacred Geometry of Byzantine Churches”.

A abstract of her research is the following:

The churches of the Byzantine period best encompass the architectural expression of heaven and earth signified through the use of the dome and the cube (both in plan and elevation). This report focuses on the geometry of these churches; geometry not only as evidence of symbolism, but also as a constructional method. It questions whether the architects and builders of the Byzantine style used geometry only for its theoretical and mystical connotations, or whether it was also used for practical purposes.
The main research questions are:
· How is the geometry of the church a meaningful part of its design?
· How is geometry within a church relevant – how do people use it?
· What is the significance of geometry in the context of a church’s location?
· What is the relationship between geometry as a theological idea and geometry as expressed in construction?
· How are Byzantine ideas reconstructed / translated into a more modern context?
· What are the respective roles of the patron, architect, builder, mason and artist in the design process, and what does geometry signify for each of them?
· How do the architect, builder and mason engage with geometry, and how is it translated through architectural materials?
The research will be carried out in relation to two Greek orthodox cathedrals in London. The first is the Saint Sophia Catheral on Moscow Road, Baywater, consecrated in 1882. This is one of London’s oldest surviving Greek cathedral. The second is Saint Panteleimon Church on Kenton Road, Harrow, which is currently under construction for the past 2 years and is to be consecrated in November 2010. This is the first Greek orthodox church to be constructed in over a 100 years.
· For St Sophia, the research will be carried out through the study of archival material (the preliminary design and working drawings by architect John Oldrid Scott are with the RIBA) and through the analysis of the site and building itself.
· For St. Panteleimon, the research will be carried out by interviews with:
1) The church minister who has been developing the idea of this church for the last 15 years: Father Anastasios Salapatas (he will give a first hand view of how this project came about, and the role of geometry in its conception)
2) The architects working on this project: Papa Architects. (they will be providing working drawings which will be analysed)
3) The interior design company: IBEX
4) The building contractor: John Doyle Construction
5) The construction workers / masons
6) The planning committee
7) The Greek Community (currently involved in accumulating funds for the project)
The above will be supplemented by regular visits to the site and building itself.

Thursday, 29 July 2010


Two banners are now hung from the roof of our new Church.

One on the facade, inviting 1000 Benefactors to contribute £1000 each, in order to pay for the construction of our new place of worship.

The other on the side, informing all passers by of the financial level of the Church Building Fund.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The pitch roof

Carpenters were working today on the roof of our new Church.

As we had written before they prepare the so-called pitch roof.

This is an important element of the structure of the Church, which will emphasize the traditional cross shape of the roof.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

St. Panteleimon Day

Today it is the Day of St. Panteleimon, Patron Saint of our Church and Community. In the morning we had in our Church an Episcopal Divine Liturgy. His Grace Bishop Athanasios of Tropaiou had presided over the Holy Service. After the Church Service members of our Community had prepared BBQ for the whole congregation.

St Panteleimon was a medical doctor and was born in A.D. 275 in Nicomedia, Asia Minor, of a pagan father and a Christian mother. From his father he derived a profound intellect; from his mother, spiritual awareness. Of handsome appearance and noble bearing, Panteleimon was an impressive figure while still a student of the Empire's most noted physician, Euphrosinos, a teacher who took pride in his pupil's remarkable skill and dedication. He had not been a physician long when his reputation as a healer drew him to the attention of Emperor Maximilian, who encouraged him by his personal sponsorship. This quickly led to Panteleimon's recognition as the foremost physician of the entire known world.

Panteleimon became a familiar figure among the people as he went from one patient to another while yet serving the emperor and his court. The demand for his services kept him working at a feverish pace, an exhausting obligation he never shirked.

In the course of his rounds he had been observed by the pious Christian Ermolaos, one who remained in constant hiding in fear of persecution by the state for his overt promotion of Christianity. Ermolaos managed to intercept Panteleimon, whose great skill he lauded but who he thought needed to be reminded "from the Most High cometh healing." After a series of meetings the physician came to know his true Christian destiny, and thereafter his professionalism, as a man of medicine was subordinated to his role as a healer in the name of the Greatest Healer of them all. His power of healing was not attributable to a physician's skill alone, but to divine intervention as well.

As his reputation grew, Panteleimon came to be known more as a man of God than of science, an acknowledgement that brought wrath and cruel action by the emperor. After being given the customary interrogation Panteleimon was offered the ultimate choice between Christ and the idols; his response was a reaffirmation of his Christianity. For the noble physician it was a two-edged sword: first because he was a fallen favourite whose betrayal was a personal rebuke to the emperor, and second because of the steadfastness of his loyalty to the Saviour.

Not all of the fiendish designs of Panteleimon's torture are known, but history tells us that this honourable doctor and noble Christian was, among other things, stretched across a rack and burned by candles. Following this ordeal he was cast first into a fiery pit and then into a den of beasts. When he survived, the pagans were convinced he had the protection of some kind of sorcery.

It was finally decided that since there could be no antidote for drowning, he would be cast into a deep river with a huge stone bound to his body. When the stone proved buoyant, the exasperated torturers fished him out of the water and placed him on the execution block where he was beheaded. It was said that not blood but milk flowed from the severed head of the martyr. St Panteleimon gave his life for Christ on 27 July 304 AD.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Photo of the week - 45

Various kinds of works have been done in our new Church since the last picture of the week, both outside and inside the building, including the bricklaying on the Bell Tower.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Annual Community BBQ

Today we celebrated officially our Patronal Festival.

Our Patron Saint is St. Panteleimon, the Great Martyr and Healer.

His actual Day is on the 27th July, but it is more convenient for our Parishioners to come on the nearest Sunday.

Thus, we organised the liturgical celebration, with our Archbishop Gregorios, of Thyateira and Great Britain, presiding over the Archiepiscopal Divine Liturgy.

Among the VIPs who attended the Service was the Consul General of Greece Mr. Makis Pantzopoulos, the Cultural Counsellor of the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus in the UK Dr Nicky Katsaouni, the Representative of the Council of Greeks Abroad Mr. Nikos Skinitis and many Presidents and members of Greek Organisations in London.

After the Holy Service the Community leaders had organised a big BBQ at our Community premises.

The Ladies of our Church had provided traditional Greek sweets.

We also had a Greek orchestra playing live Greek music.

Many people had gathered to celebrate and to renew their friendships.

Then we visited the new Church and we had the opportunity to show it to the officials and the people who came today to venerate our Patron Saint.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The Blessing of Linda Koupparis' Bridge

Today we had the honour of Blessing the new Bridge in Northolt (NW London) in memory of the late Linda Koupparis, beloved wife of our Community’s Architect Mr. Simos Koupparis.

We gathered at the Bridge at 4.00 pm and celebrated the Holy Service of Blessing of the Waters as well as a Memorial Service for Linda.

Mr. Koupparis, Linda’s sisters, many of her friends and neighbours, a local Member of Parliament, an ex-Mayor of the London Borough of Ealing, many local Councillors, the President of our Community and others had gathered there to attend the Service and honour Linda.

The plaque placed on the bridge read: “Dedicated to Mrs L. Koupparis for her perseverance and endeavours for a new rail bridge at Petts Hill, Northolt”.

Fr. Anastasios and others spoke about Linda and about the bridge, that magnificent product of the modern technology and architecture, which makes life easier for the local people and whoever uses it.

The people who spoke about Linda emphasized her dedication and courageous spirit when fighting for local social matters.

She was instrumental in getting many things done, in both her local area and beyond.

All people remember her vividly and prayed for the repose of her good soul near the throne of our Holy God!

Friday, 23 July 2010

St. Panteleimon Patronal Festival


Sunday 25th July 2010
9.00 am - 12.30 pm, Matins and Archiepiscopal Divine Liturgy
His Eminence, Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain will preside
From 12.30 pm we shall have in our Community premises




Monday 26th July 2010
7.00 pm - 8.30 pm GREAT FESTAL VESPERS
His Grace Bishop Chrysostomos of Kyanea will preside


Tuesday 27th July 2010
9.00 am - 12.30 pm, Matins and Episcopal Divine Liturgy
His Grace Bishop Athanasios of Tropaiou will preside



Thursday, 22 July 2010

Bell Tower & roof

Although there was a short rainfall this morning the work has continued as normal on our building site.

It is nice to see to Bell Tower having been almost fully bricklayed today.

Carpenters also are on the roof placing there the timber frame.

This will be placed on the barrel roof and will certainly give a completely different impression on it.

The pitch roof, with the traditional red tiles on it, will obviously emphasize the cross shape of the roof and of the whole structure.

Electricians are also on the roof today, placing tubes there.