Published in The New York Times, July 31, 1898
A GREEK CHURCH IN OLD LONDON
From Notes and Queries.
In 1676 one Joseph Georgeirenes, Archbishop of Samos, came to London to obtain assistance in publishing a book of devotions for the use of the Orthodox community. He found his compatriots at the west end of London without a church, and on his application Compton, Bishop of London, gave him a piece of ground in Soho Fields on which to build one. The Bishop’s name, by the way, is still preserved in that of the adjacent Compton Street, as also, in Frith Street, is the name of one Mr. Frith, who acted for his Lordship in the matter. Georgeirenes succeeded in collecting some 1,500 pounds, and the church was ultimately built. It was dedicated to St. Mary the virgin, and over its door was placed a stone incised inscription, which exists, in excellent preservation, to this day. It is in rather fantastic modern Greek characters, impossible to reproduce in type, and has been translated as follows:
“In the year of Salvation 1677, this temple was erected for the nation of the Greeks – the most serene Charles II, being King, and the Royal (lit. born in the purple) Prince Lord James being the commander of the forces, the Right Rev. Lord Henry Compton being Bishop – at the expense of the above and other Bishops and nobles, and with the concurrence of our Humility of Samos, Joseph Georgeirenes, a native of the island of Melos.”
To view a copy of the actual article go to
The New York Times - Archive 1851 - 1980