94 Cranbury Road, Reading, RG30 2TA
(Within the Anglican church of St Mark and All Saints)
We would like to welcome you to the web site of our community. Our church is dedicated to Prophet Elias, an Old Testament prophet of exceptional significance for the Jewish and for the Christian tradition. Likewise, we find ourselves here as a tree with its roots in the East, yet whose fruits grow in the West. While our community was founded by Greek, Cypriot and Arab Orthodox Christians who made the UK their home, we welcome Orthodox Christians from all ethnic traditions, and we wish to be part of the cultural, spiritual and religious life of the UK.
We welcome newcomers and inquirers, people who are looking for a spiritual home, as well as people who are curious about the Orthodox Church. If you have any questions please speak to our priest or to the officers of the church.
We welcome you especially to participate in, or observe our worship life. This is perhaps the greatest contribution of the Orthodox tradition to the world: it is possible to find good and honourable people in every religious tradition, even among atheists; and it is possible to find people who do good works and help their fellow human being in every tradition; and it is possible to find people who love God in every religious tradition; and it is possible to find people who love Jesus Christ in every Christian tradition. Yet, we believe that the liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church (that defines and is defined by our doctrinal tradition) has no equal. Despite our poverty and our sinfulness, we try to address God in Jesus Christ, through the mediation of the Holy Spirit, in a worship of praise and love.
You are welcome to join us or to get to know us
The history of our church & community goes back to 1977 when Mr. Kosmas Joseph approached the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain with the aim of establishing a Greek Orthodox Church in Reading. The Archbishop requested the supporting signatures of 20-30 families in the area in order to give his blessings for the Church to be established. Mr. Joseph acquired the signatures and support from the Greek and Cypriot families in Reading, Maidenhead, Marlow, Slough, Windsor and Wokingham, the Archbishop gave his blessings and the first steps were taken for the creation of the Church.
The name of Saint Elias the Prophet was suggested by Bishop Christophoros of Tilemisou, and the first Holy Liturgy was celebrated on the 17th July 1977. In 1982 Prophet Elias church moved into St Bart's church on London Road in Reading, and in 2015 into our current building (within the Anglican church of St Mark and All Saints), on Cranbury Road, Reading.
In September 2020 and for the first time in 43 years, God blessed us with a resident priest (Rev Dr Andreas Andreopoulos).
A Protestant Christian once asked, “Is the Orthodox Church a high church?” The response he got was: “The highest!” One of the things that strike a non-Orthodox on first attending an Orthodox service is the splendour of Orthodox worship. An Orthodox Church is normally covered in icons and frescoes, the clergy are adorned often in elaborate vestments and the faithful light candles as part of their prayer, if you can see it all through the clouds of incense!
At an Orthodox service, all the human senses are used. Our gaze is drawn by the sight of the icons, our hearing is drawn to the chanting and readings (no instruments are used in Orthodox services, and even the readings are often read in a style of plain chant), we smell the incense which rises up to heaven with our prayers, we taste the bread and wine which is the Body and Blood of Christ, the Eucharist, which is the prime act of Orthodox worship and the centre of Orthodox life and practice: Christ becomes truly present for us, now in the form of bread and wine, and in eating and drinking His Body and Blood we become one with Christ and with one another, since we all eat and drink of the same Body and Blood.
'' There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus'' (Galatians 3:28)
Our community welcomes people from ALL nationalities, ethnic groups, social backgrounds and ages, as we're all even in the eyes of God. Our interests as a community start with our faith, and expand across food, drink, music & all things bright and beautiful. As a community we try and raise money to run our church, and hopefully one day, with a blessing of the Lord, to buy our own church building. In order to do that, we organise a number of activities such as a Greek Sunday school for kids, festive parties, gastronomic experiences, bazaars etc.
Rev Dr Andreas Andreopoulos was born in Greece and studied in Greece, Canada, the USA and the UK. For many years, he was teaching at the Department of Theology, Religion and Philosophy, University of Winchester. Fr Andreas has published several books and articles on Orthodox theology, iconography and the thought of the Fathers of the Church. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2013, and given the office of Pneumatikos (Spiritual Father Confessor) the following year.
The Church Committee is responsible for the operation and improvement of our Church, scheduling and operation of events and services, and also provides support for our community.
Church Committee Officers
Mr. John Irvine, Mrs. Chrysa Theochari, Mrs. Sonia Khuri, Dr. Stella Keramida, Mrs. Katerina Skoulatou, Mrs. Fotini Vergottis, Mr. Nicholas Manousos