The choir’s history can be traced back to 1848 when
a four-part polyphonic choir was established at the
Greek Chapel in the City of London.
The following year the choir moved to the newly
consecrated Church of St. Saviour in London Wall.
Towards the end of the 1870’s it was deemed
necessary for a new Church
to be built near to where most of the Greek
So in 1879 with the
completion of the new Church of the Divine Wisdom
(St. Sophia) in Bayswater, West London, the choir
moved to its present home.
Between 1908 and 1920 the choir flourished under the
directorship of the composer and conductor Napoleon
Lambelet (1864-1932), who composed a setting of the
A second very successful period was under the
directorship of Ernest Moss who directed the choir
between 1940 and 1969.
During this period, especially during the Second
World War years, the choir gave many concerts and
participated in special services in aid of the Greek
In recent years the choir has appeared on television
and has sung at various Orthodox churches within the
United Kingdom from Glasgow to Southampton, and also
in the Republic of Ireland.
The choir has also visited mainland Europe, notably
Paris and Prague.
As well as the works on its present recording, the
choir’s liturgical repertoire primarily consists of
the setting of the Divine Liturgy by Themistocles
Polycrates in an arrangement for mixed choir by its
A four-part arrangement of a section of the Divine
Liturgy, in the minor mode by Ioannis Sakellarides
is also sometimes used.
As well as the Cherubic Hymn by Themistocles
Polycrates, contained on the present recording,
other Cherubic Hymns in the choir’s repertoire are
by Lomakin, Arkhangelsky, Bortniansky, Tchaikovsky
The Choir has recorded a CD with many excellent
To purchase the CD, please contact the Choir
Director, Mr Costas Manoras, at:
Costas Manoras was born and educated in London and
has directed the choir of the Greek Cathedral of St.
Sophia since 1983.
He has set and arranged many liturgical hymns in a
manner that aims at reinforcing the strength and
retaining the character and spiritual quality of the
original Byzantine melodies.
He has also re-set the Divine Liturgy of
Themistocles Polycrates for mixed choir (soprano,
alto, tenor, bass), the original having been
composed for four male voice parts, and has also
re-arranged many liturgical hymns by Ioannis
Sakellarides, also for mixed choir, retaining
Sakellarides’s original clear melodic line.
He maintains a busy schedule teaching, arranging,
performing and directing..