Hundreds of people gathered in London’s Russian Orthodox cathedral on Sunday to witness the consecration of the building, conducted by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.
As many as 1000 people, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, attended the historic service at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God and All Saints in Knightsbridge.
The service followed a major refurbishment of the cathedral and also commemorated the 300th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church’s arrival in the British Isles.
During the service Patriarch Kirill prayed for “all the Saints who shone forth in the British land” and dedicated the Orthodox hymn Many Years to Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom and Russia.
The Patriarch was also due to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace, prompting some concern from Russia-watchers given the Patriarch’s ties with President Vladimir Putin.
Labour MP John Woodcock told the Daily Mail that it was “very troubling” for someone so closely associated with the current Russian government to be welcomed to Buckingham Palace at a time when Russia is supporting a “murderous Syrian regime”.
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