The presence of Greeks in Bristol, a significant port of the UK, goes back to the 19th century.
Greek Orthodox community
Greek mariners and businessmen settled in Bristol and the surrounding area, forming a small community.
During and after World War II many Greeks and mainly Cypriots came to the UK, searching for a better future because of the economical and political situations in their countries. They started establishing their own businesses, like cafes, restaurants etc.
As the Greek community was growing, the need of a place for worship became essential. The lack of a Greek Orthodox church in the area forced them at the beginning to travel to Cardiff, a hard and time consuming trip.
Eventually they started using Anglican churches, like St James and St Barnabas. St Simon's church was first used in 1958 and finally was purchased by the Greek community.
In 1958 the arrival of Archimandrite Eirinaios Athanasiades as a permanent reverend as well as the foundation of the Greek school by Marika Mathew, established the community in the area.
In 1979 the Greek Community of Bristol was registered as a charitable trust in the name of the Greek Orthodox Community of Bristol.
In 1999 "The Hellenic" Greek Community Hall was built where they could meet and use it for various events, celebrations etc. It has a capacity for more than 200 people.
The establishment of the Cypriot Consulate in Bristol for the West of England and Wales has been very significant for the community development.
According to a rough estimation, about 500 families were living in Bristol. The crisis of the last years in Greece lead more Greeks, searching for a better life, to come and settle in Bristol as well as a number of students.
Greek Orthodox church, St Peter and St Paul
St Peter and St Paul, previously named St Simon's church, is the Greek Orthodox church in Bristol. It is situated in Lower Ashley Road, Easton. The church is part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain.
The St Simon's church was constructed in 1847 on the designs of S.J.Hicks and S.B Gabriel. Pope & Bindon did some alterations to the building in 1876.
The church consists of a nave and north aisle, and chancel with a small south vestry and a north chapel. The tower stands at the outer north-east corner of the aisle and has a spire, once 121 feet high, which in recent years had its top truncated and a silvered ball and cross built on the remains of the spire.
Over the years the area around has changed greatly and many of the streets and houses fell victim to the new roads of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
St Simon's church was closed for a long time before this happened and the Church Of England eventually sold it to the Greek community. In 1963 the church was renamed to Apostles St Peter and Paul and in 1978 was purchased by the Greek Orthodox church.
The Greek Orthodox church preserved most of the original features of the church and enhanced it through the years with new fittings according to the Greek tradition and ritual. Religious paintings, iconography and iconostasis has made the church an interesting place to visit and became more of a landmark than before.
To the west a new Community hall has been added and to the south is a pleasant garden.
Services take place every Sunday morning from 09.45am onwards.
After the service, every time, tea and cakes are offered to everyone in presence
Additional services are held during Christmas and Easter period. Details are announced in advance.
The "Hellenic", Greek Community Hall is the Community Centre, a fully licensed self catering place with a capacity for 200 seats for community events and celebrations. It is also available for hire for weddings, christenings, birthdays, parties etc.