Tuesday 30 November 2010

St. Andrew’s Day and snow

Our Orthodox Church commemorates the blessed memory of St. Andrew today. According to the Greek culture St. Andrew is “an angel of winter”; the weather from today becomes stronger and colder.

We welcomed the snow today in Harrow, but we are conscious of the difficulties that it brings, especially in our case, when we are trying hard to complete as soon as possible our sacred project.

But, when I got up to the highest point of our Facade this afternoon I found there a joyful Adrian (one of our Romanian workers) who said to me that this weather brings Christmas closer!

Monday 29 November 2010

Photo of the week - 59

The Facade and the Bell Tower was the main interest last week. The weather hasn't been very helpful, as the temperatures are below freezing.

Friday 26 November 2010

Our Vicarage

By climbing up on the roof of the new Church, as well as on the Bell Tower we have the chance of getting an interesting view of all the buildings around the newly built place of worship.

One of the buildings that has a great significance for our Community is our Vicarage, where Fr. Anastasios and his family live.

The Vicarage was built by the local Anglican Parish of St. Mary - Kenton in 1932. It was opened by HRH Princess Marie Louise and was blessed on 26th April 1933.

HRH Princess Marie Louise, C.I., G.B.E., V.A., was born on 12th August 1872 and died on 8th December 1956. She was grand-daughter of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and daughter of Princess Helen - Augusta - Victoria (1846-1923).

Thursday 25 November 2010

Progress on the Facade

The bricklaying is continuing on the Facade of our new Church.

Red bricks, yellow bricks, white stone, brown windows are covering slowly - slowly the grey cement.

Apparently this whole process is being developing like an interesting game of colours!

Wednesday 24 November 2010

On the top of the scaffolding

Climbing up is always an interesting experience.

Climbing on the scaffolding that is in the interior of our newly built Church gives you the chance of getting up on the heavens (the Dome symbolizes the heavens in our Holy Tradition).

The plastering has progressed greatly on the higher parts of the interior.

Around the ring of the Dome a decorative element of plaster is now fixed.

The windows all around the Dome have now been fixed.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Action around the Church

Today is another very busy day, full of action, with many workers all around the Church.

Plastering, bricklaying, fixing of stone, coppering and many other important works take place at our new place of worship.

We really cannot wait until the time comes when we shall officially enter the Church for the first Service.

Today I received a letter by a friend of mine form West Wales asking me whether I would invite him at that first Service.

It seems like there is a great interest on our project which makes us very proud and privileged as well as very conscious of the importance of our work.

Monday 22 November 2010

Sunday 21 November 2010

The Mayor of Morphou in our Church

Today we had the honour of welcoming in our Community Mr. Charalambos Pittas, Mayor of the City of Morphou (Cyprus), occupied by the Turks since 1974. The Mayor was accompanied by members of his Council.

We had at our Church a Memorial Service for those who gave their lives for Faith and Homeland, especially for those who originated from Morphou. Then we dedicated prayers to those citizens of Morphou who are still Missing since the invasion of the Turkish army into Cyprus, in the summer of 1974.

The Mayor spoke inspirationally about all those who sacrificed their lives for their Homeland. He also spoke about the pain of many people, brought by the barbaric Turkish invasion and occupation of almost half of the island of Cyprus. At the end he offered soil from the occupied Morphou to the President of our Community Mr. Pantelis Demosthenous, as well as an icon of St. Mamas, who is the Patron Saint of Morphou, to the Parish Priest Fr. Anastasios D. Salapatas. These treasures will be kept by our Church as important valuables, always reminding to us and to the new generations of our occupied land, which we hope, with the help of God, to be liberated soon.

Saturday 20 November 2010

Sanctuary apse

The semi dome on the central Sanctuary apse has now been coppered.

A close picture shows the excellent quality of the work done there.

Friday 19 November 2010

Facade bricklayed

Rich sunshine today in our area. The time has now come for the facade to get bricklayed.

An English proverb says that “the eyes are the window to the soul”, while a similar Greek proverb goes “the face is the mirror of the soul”.

In any case the face is extremely important; not just the face of a person but of a building as well. It definitely tells you something (if not a lot) about the essence and the character of that place.

And if a building is a place of worship then you would expect the face (or facade) to tell you at least something of the faith that is professed by the people worshiping there. In time this will become very obvious.

Thursday 18 November 2010

A Greeting from the Project Manager

My name is Trevor Dean and I am a Senior Project Manager with Ibex Interiors, part of the Doyle PLC Group. I took over from Andy Hogan at the end of March 2010 to complete the external and internal finishes of the St. Panteleimon Greek Orthodox Church.

From the outset, this may have seemed like a straight forward task to simply wrap the concrete shell with brickwork and cover the roofs with copper and clay tiles. It has however been anything but straightforward.

There has been over 90 pre-formed brick arches and 1900 pieces of stone work to be designed, manufactured, lifted and cut to fit. This is now progressing well on all elevations and the beautiful design that is on paper, is now becoming a reality on the ground.

The copper roof covering to the main dome looks spectacular from the ground and I am sure will be even more impressive from above.

Like all new buildings progress on the inside is governed by the water tightness of the structure on the outside. The church is no exception and as the roof construction is currently in its last stages of completion, the final internal finishes are being applied.

I have entertained regular visits from the numerous members of the committee throughout the construction, and on every occasion I have been impressed with their relentless passion and dedication to the cause.

I trust they will not be disappointed with this great achievement and will enjoy visiting this church with friends and family, for many years to come.

As Andy said last year, it is not every day that you have the opportunity to be involved in such an iconic project that means so much to so many people, and It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be associated with it.

Best Wishes

Trevor Dean

Wednesday 17 November 2010

All kinds of works

Amazing! So many different specialists are working today at our new Church.

Bricklayers are working on the facade. Others are up there on the Bell Tower, where the Holy Cross has now been fixed.

Copperlayers are working at the back of the Church, putting copper on the central Sanctuary apse. Plasterers and electricians are inside the Church doing their own work.

A really busy workmanship beehive!

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Dinner & Dance

Last Sunday 14th November 2010 our Community organised a very successful Dinner and Dance at Plaza Hotel Wembley.

This function was well attended by about 300 people. Among the VIPs we had the following officials: the Mayor of Brent Cllr. Harbhajan Singh with his wife, the MP for Brent North Rt. Hon. Barry Gardiner, the MEP for London Rt. Hon. Marina Yiannakoudakis (of Greek Cypriot origin), the Mayor of Harrow Cllr. Asad Omar, the Consul General of Greece Mr. Makis Pantzopoulos, the Consul General of Cyprus Mr. Georgios Georgiou, Mr. Savvas Pavlides of the Cyprus Educational Mission, the Vice-Chairman of the Council for Greeks Abroad Mr. Nikos Skinitis, Mr. Stefanos Stefanou of John Doyle Plc, as well as many members and friends of our Community.

The President of our Community Mr. Pantelis Demesthenous offered a welcome speech and informed our guests about the progress of our sacred project of erecting a new Church.

The Consul General of Cyprus Mr. Georgios Georgiou gave an outline of the developments on the Cyprus problem. Other VIPs offered their kind greetings.

The Parish Priest Fr. Anastasios D. Salapatas conveyed the blessings of His Eminence Gregorios, Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain and talked about the spiritual importance of building a new Church and in particular during these difficult (from a financial point of view) times.

The Greek band AETOS (EAGLE) offered its services free of charge.

The Dancing group of our St. Panteleimon Hellenic College, led by its teacher Andri Paraskeva, presented traditional Greek dances.

The event was very successful. The total amount collected on the evening in support of our great project was £56.000 (The Cyprus Government had offered €15.000).

Monday 15 November 2010

Photo of the week - 57

The Dome has now been completed and the Holy Cross is on the top. Other works are continuing as programmed.

Saturday 13 November 2010

Domes in dialogue

As we’ve reported before the main Dome has now been fully completed and was also crowned with the Holy Cross.

The scaffolding from around the Dome has now been removed and that area is very safe.

The smaller dome which is on the Bell Tower has also been completed.

Thus the specialists thought of bringing the two domes into... dialogue, by taking pictures of each one of them while standing on the other. Clever!!!

Friday 12 November 2010

The Holy Cross

The main Dome was properly crowned today by our Holy and life saving Cross.

The Sacred Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is the most important symbol for all Christians around the world.

Wherever a Christian there the great symbol of our faith as well.

It accompanies all Christians in their spiritual endeavours, as well as in all their Christian places, the places of worship included.

Thursday 11 November 2010

Close look

The coppering of the main Dome has been fully completed.

Our specialists have moved to the other domes of our new place of worship.

Before they left the central Dome they took a couple of pictures from close range to show the detail of their excellent work.

Wednesday 10 November 2010

The Kingsbury side

Today much emphasis was given to the Kingsbury side of the new Church.

Our specialist workers worked there in order to finalise the three-fold window.

Bricks, of different colours, stone and wood, together with imagination, were used at that part.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Photo of the week - 56

External work is moving towards the front of the Church this week; Bell Tower, Facade etc.

Friday 5 November 2010

Church Office covered

The Office attached to our new Church has now been covered.

It is a little room to the right of the entrance.

This will be used by the Priest and the various Committees of the Community.

The main electricity board of the Church will be fixed on a wall in this room.

Windows are in place. Soon we will put the doors as well.