Our Religion

We are Christians!   

Followers of the Lord Jesus Christ -

      the incarnate God who is 100% divine

      and 100% human.

But what sort of Christians?

We are    Orthodox       but not Jewish,

              Catholic         but not Roman,

              Evangelical    but not Protestant.

        By the way, these three words are all Greek:

          ορθόδοξος   (ortho-doxos)      = of true glory, right worship

          καθολικός    (kath-olikos)        = for the whole, universal

          ευαγγελικός (ev-angelikos)      = proclaiming good news - the Gospel.


We are the direct descendants of the church of the Apostles - in fact we are the church of the Apostles.

Jesus said he would build his Church - his community of followers (Matthew 16:18).A building is something visible, physical, substantial, and it has a continuity in history: similarly the people of God, the Christian Church, is visible, physical, substantial, and it has      an unbroken historical continuity with Orthodox Christians in all ages and places, from the Apostles till today.

The Christian Faith came to Britain in Roman times.

The first bishop in Britain was St Aristoboulos, brother of St Barnabas and a follower of St Paul. He came from Cyprus, and in our congregation today we have families with roots in Cyprus.

Christianity was established in this country by the 4th century.

ln 314 three British bishops went to the Council of Arles; and amongst the Roman remains in Richborough Castle near Sandwich are the foundations of an early Christian church – an Orthodox church.

The Roman city of Carlisle had a thriving Greek community, so the Greek language was being spoken in this country hundreds of years before the English language came into being, or the Anglo-Saxon peoples ever reached these shores.

After the fall of the Roman Empire in the early 5th century, pagans from northern Europe invaded southern Britain, and Christians were murdered or driven west. Christianity was re-established by the mission sent by the Pope of Rome in 597: this was led by St Augustine, who became the first archbishop of Canterbury.

The seventh archbishop was St Theodore - a Greek from Tarsus. He arrived here in 669.

The first convent in England was founded in Folkestone in the 7th century by St Eanswythe, the daughter of King Eadbald of Kent. Her relics are preserved in the Anglican parish church.


The Church of England was part of the one Church, and therefore fully Orthodox, until the 11th century.

Its Patriarch was the Bishop of Rome - but in 1054 the Pope declared independence from the other Orthodox Patriarchs, and the Church of England and the Church of Rome were separated from the Orthodox churches of the East.

It would be many centuries before there were again Orthodox Christians in Britain.

A number of Greeks came to live and work here from the 15th to 17th centuries, and the first Greek church was built in London’s Soho district in 1677, on what is still called Greek Street.

Many more Greeks came to Britain in the 19th century and the church of the Holy Wisdom (St Sophia) in Bayswater was built in 1878-9. ln 1922 it became the Cathedral of the Metropolis of Thyateira and Great Britain.

(Thyateira was an ancient church referred to in Revelation ch. 3.)

There are now at least 23 Greek congregations in London, and 70 in other parts of England.

More and more English people are being attracted to the Orthodox Church and are joining it.

A good number of our priests are English by background.

Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia (Timothy Ware 1934-2022) was ordained a bishop in 1982, and he was

the first Englishman to become an Orthodox bishop since the 11th century.

People from Greece and Cyprus began settling in the Maidstone and Medway area in the 1960s, and our community was established in 1989. We were invited to use the Anglican parish church in the village of Boxley – and for this we are most grateful.

The Orthodox Church in England is certainly not merely a Greek club, nor just a chaplaincy for Greek speaking people.

In the Creed we say we believe in “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church”.  ‘Catholic’ means universal – we are here for everybody.

We seek to worship Almighty God, and to proclaim the Christian Faith, to preach the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ to all who will hear, regardless of their background or where they are from.

We use both Greek and English in our services, and we hear the New Testament read in the language in which it was first written!

Our bishop is His Eminence Nikitas (Lioulias), Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, who serves under Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch.

The priest currently serving the community is Father David Gilchrist.

He can be contacted on 07792 016418, or at  djgilx@btinternet.com

Our community is named in honour of the Annunciation to the Mother of God.


We read in the first chapter of  St Luke’s Gospel that the angel Gabriel was sent to announce to Mary that she would be the mother of the promised Messiah: the Saviour.

Mary said, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord: let it be to me according to your word.”

(Luke 1:38)