One of the most impressive buildings to be found in the London district of Bayswater in the City of Westminster, St Sophia’s Cathedral is a property with a rich and vibrant history and a stunning appearance that impresses visitors to this day.
Consecrated the Church of the Holy Wisdom (Sophia) of God (St Sophia in the vernacular) by the Archbishop of Corfu in 1882, the cathedral was the third structure to bear such a name in the capital, with the Greek Orthodox community having outgrown previous premises at Finsbury Park and London Wall.
Home to Greek Orthodox worshippers from across the Paddington, Bayswater and Notting Hill areas, the cathedral has become a popular attraction in its own right as a result of its striking features and impressive architecture.
Built in the Byzantine Revival style and designed by architect John Oldrid Scott, the cathedral appears relatively modest from the outside, but when visitors enter they are simply blown away by the vibrant colours, painstakingly-crafted frescos, murals and mosaics, and glorious polychromatic marbles.
The building’s breathtaking interior is truly a sight to behold and was made possible through the fundraising of the Greek Orthodox community, as well as the patronage of several high-profile London merchants and financiers.
It is a building that also offers a rich heritage for visitors to explore, having been the seat of the Greek government in exile during World War II and bombed during the Blitz. It was subsequently repaired and restored to its former glory.
A museum commemorating the heritage of the cathedral and the role it has played within the local community over more than the last 140 years was opened in 2006.
Today, the cathedral is open daily to the public both for those who wish to head along and worship and for those who simply wish to experience the opulence and splendour of this architecturally striking and impressive building.