The Anglican Church of St Thomas is a unique place of worship. Currently it is the only dedicated space for Anglican worship on the island of Crete. It consists of two main structures
A beautiful stone chapel dedicated to St. Thomas, and which is used for small services.The chapel was officially dedicated by Bishop Geoffrey Rowell, Third Bishop in Europe, in 2008.
Next to it is an area covered by canvas and known as “The Tabernacle”. The Tabernacle is named after the moveable structure built by Moses and Aaron while the people of Israel travelled from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Sometimes called the Tent of Meeting, it contained the Ark of the Covenant, and before which sacrifices were made.
Our Tabernacle is our principal worship space. It is built around an old threshing floor (αλώνι,“aloni”) which is surrounded by a low stone wall. The seating consists of simple patiochairs, allowing for a flexibility in set up and orientation of the worship space.
In the winter the side panels are lowered, making it a cosy enclosed area. Through these clear panels we can still see the beautiful White Mountains beyond.
In the summer the sides are rolled up,enabling us to hear the cicadas, birds, sheep and goats all joining us in worship!
The Church of St Thomas is for all Christians of whatever background. Our doors are open to everyone who wishes to come and share in our worship. As the congregation is part of The Diocesein Europe in The Church of England, we follow the orders of worship found in Common Worship
(modern language services) and, occasionally, The Book of Common Prayer (last revised in 1662,and using the Tudor-era language from the 1550s).
We are part of The Anglican Church in Greece,which has been recognized by an act of the Hellenic Legislature. For historical reasonscongregations in The Diocese in Europe are called chaplaincies, not parishes, and so our priest is
not a “rector” or a “vicar”, but a “chaplain”.
Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday, accompanied by hymns. We also meet on the major feasts and Holy Days of the year.
On Tuesday mornings the clergy (chaplain and curate) gather to say Morning Prayer in the chapel and all are welcome to join them.
We typically have about twenty-five people in worship each Sunday, although that can swell to eighty on special occasions. Our congregation is made up of a core group who live here year-round, and who are mostly expatriate UK citizens from England. We also have regular attendees from Ireland, Scotland, Canada, the United States, Norway (and sometimes even from Greece)! These are supplemented by a large number of people who live here part-time - for anything from one to ten months.
We are especially privileged to have visitors come and share in our worship, especially in the summer months.
Our clergy are very happy to officiate at baptisms, the blessing of marriages, and at the sadder times such as funerals.
The clergy regularly visit people in their homes and can be found in various cafés having coffee with members – please consider extending an invitation! As well if anyone is sick and would appreciate a visit, please contact them.
We have good relations with the Orthodox Church of Crete, and are grateful for the welcome we have received from the Greek people of this island. Christianity has an almost two-thousand year history here, and the Apostle Paul himself preached here. We also have excellent relations with the Roman Catholic Church in Crete, the German-language Protestant congregations, and various other Protestant churches.
As a part of the Cretan community we are keen to support our local community projects. We give a proportion of our money to support these local charities which care for the homeless, the disabled and very poor families, and the elderly. Our Cretan community welcomes us by sharing together and supporting each other.
We look forward to you joining us.