UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Trail 2: Ukrainian Churches

Site of the first Ukrainian Catholic Church

In Saffron Hill today there is no trace of the church of St.Theodore of Canterbury, where Ukrainian Greek Catholics worshipped from 1948 until 1967, when they acquired the present Cathedral in Duke Street. As well as religious services, the Ukrainian Saturday School was held here.

The church was a small one and, on important feasts, when more people attended, services were held at the nearby Italian Church of St Peter of all Nations in Clerkenwell Road, or in Westminster Cathedral.

Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family


The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Cathedral in Duke Street, Mayfair, also serves as the parish church for London. Ukrainians from all over London attend the Sunday and weekday services, and upwards of a thousand worshippers come at Easter and Christmas. Services are held in Ukrainian, according to the Byzantine rite, and the cathedral choir often sings the Mass. Religious festivals are celebrated according to the Julian calendar (13 days later than in the western tradition).

After the Sunday services teas are served in the Cathedral hall. The building also occasionally hosts concerts of Ukrainian sacred, folk and classical music. It serves as the venue for the London concert of the annual tour of the Boyan ensemble of Kyiv.

The building was originally the Congregationalist Kings Weighhouse Chapel. The Ukrainians acquired it in 1967 and adapted it for Byzantine rite services, installing an iconostasis designed by Wasyl Borecky.

On display in the Cathedral (on the wall in the north-east corner), is a sculpture of the Holy Family with St John the Baptist, salvaged from the now demolished church in Saffron Hill.

Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Cathedral and Parish Church


The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Acton also serves as the Cathedral for the United Kingdom. Ukrainians have worshipped here since 1977. Services are held here, in Ukrainian, on Sundays and feastdays. The building also houses a Sunday school for children from the age of 5, with a curriculum including Ukrainian language, culture, music and catechism.

Before the Ukrainians acquired the church, services were held in several locations. For example, in 1959 a room in a house in Creffield Road, Ealing Common, was registered as a chapel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church.

Ukrainian graves at Gunnersbury Cemetery

There are Ukrainians buried in cemeteries all over London.



Danylo SkoropadskyHala MazurenkoVolodymyr Korostovetz

Danylo Skoropadsky (1904-1957), son of the ‘last Hetman of Ukraine’ Pavlo Skoropadsky, is buried in Hampstead Cemetery. The artist and poet Hala Mazurenko (1901-2000) rests in Highgate, the eminent doctor Petro Szumowski (1902-1966) in North Sheen and the writer and politician Volodymyr Korostovetz (1888-1953) in Kensal Green.



Wasyl Ilchuk

 The greatest concentration of Ukrainian burials, however, can be found in Gunnersbury Cemetery in Acton, with a whole generation of the early London Ukrainian community resting here. Prominent individuals buried here include Oleksander Malynowskyj (1888-1957), Papal Prelate and Vicar General for Ukrainian Catholics in Great Britain, the ethnographer Vadym Shcherbakiwskyj (1876-1957), the teacher and Orthodox priest Wasyl Ilchuk (1895-1951) and the icon painter Alexandra Korostovets (1896-1976). Many others who belonged to the London community from the Second World War are also buried here.