This Community was established in 1944, when a small number of Greek families that had settled in Scotland, were seeking to establish and re-affirm their national identity and culture. In the early years, the needs of the Community were served by various Scottish Churches, such as St. Peter's in Hyndland and St. Matthews in Bath Street.
On 11 June 1953, the Community moved to its own Church at Grafton Street, in a building bought and donated to the Community by Mr (and later Sir) Reo Stakis. The first Priest was the Metropolitan of Chalkydon, Meliton Chatzis, while the First Priest in Charge was the Presbyter Christodoulos Aronis, who conducted the first Divine Liturgy on Sunday 1st November 1953. Since then, the following Priests in Charge have served our Community:
In 1963, however, a new donation by Sir Reo Stakis made possible the purchase of the building occupied today in Dundonald Road at the Dowanhill area of Glasgow's West End. The Church was consecrated the same year by the then Archbishop of Thyateira and Gt. Britain Mr Athenagoras (Kokkinakis) and the Lord Provost and City Council were present at the ceremony, together with other civic and ecclesiastical dignitaries.
On 24 May 1970, the then Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria Nicholas VI, who was attending the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, visited St. Luke's and conducted the Divine Liturgy. To mark the occasion, He elevated St. Luke's to Cathedral status with the blessings and best wishes of His All-Holiness the Oecumenical Patriarch Mr Athenagoras A'. An appropriate marble plaque, inscribed with gold letters, at the right hand side of the entrance hall commemorates this most memorable dayl.
Another visit by the spiritual leader of the world orthodox churches took place on Sunday 7 July 1996, when that day's Divine Liturgy was conducted by His All-Holiness the Oecumenical Patriarch Mr. Vatholomaeos I, who had come to Scotland to receive an Honorary Doctorate by the Department of Practical Theology of Edinburgh University.
Left to right
Mr Takis Stakis, Fr Themistocles Hadjiioannou, Mr Nicholas Ioannides, His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios, Mr Andreas Koumis, His All-Holiness the Oecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaeos I, Mr Epameinondas Pitticas Gen. Secretary of the Community, the Great Benefactor Sir Reo Stakis, Mr Kyriakos Savva, the Chairman of the Community Mr Andreas Georgiou, the Honorary Consul for Greece Mrs Irene Cavoura and the Ekdikos of the Patriarchate Mr Fivos Scholarios.
The Cathedral today
The church of St. Luke is divided into three parts, the Narthex, the Nave and the Sanctuary or Holy of Holies. In the Narthex, Christians meet the officers of the community's Governing Council, light their candles and kiss the icons of Christ, the Mother of God, St. Luke and St. Andrew. In the Nave we have the pews, the pulpit to the left, and the Bishop's throne and the Cantor's seats and stands to the right. The Nave is separated from the Sanctuary by means of an Iconostasi.
These three parts and the liturgical ceremonies that are conducted between them help the worshipers to enter the spiritual realities of the eternal Gospel of Christianity. So do the icons, some of which (those on the icon screen) date from the foundation of the community and were painted by its first Priest. Apart from the prayer life and upbringing of Greeks in Scotland, St. Luke's serves as an important meeting place for Greek Orthodox and other Orthodox students and scientists who come to study or work in Scotland.
Special functions have been undertaken from time to time to meet the needs of the visitors or to promote intercultural exchange between Greeks and Scots. The regular Divine Service of St. Luke's is on Sundays, from 10.30 a.m to 1.00 p.m. At the end of the Service, members of the congregation have the opportunity to meet in the church hall and catch-up on the week's events, over refreshments and cakes provided by the Ladies of the Christian Fellowship.
During session 2016/2017 some 65 pupils and 35 adults are enrolled in its classes, served by four teachers, one of whom is appointed by the Greek Educational Mission (EEA) to serve at the Glasgow and Edinburgh Schools. The School operates every Thursday evening and all day Saturday. The Gen. Secretary/Administrator of the Governing Council acts as Director for all external matters relating to the School operations (examinations, recognitions etc.), while overall responsibility for the affairs of the School rests with a 5-member part-elected by the parents and part-appointed by Governing Council. In addition to the Greek language, pupils and students are taught history, geography and elements of religious history and education, together with cultural activities such as traditional dances.
The Governing Council is elected every 2 years from the active members of the community, to be found among the 150 or so families of the total 220 residing in the Greater Glasgow area. Furthermore, there are a further 70 families or so of Russian, Serbian and Romanian descent. The Governing Council is responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the Cathedral and the community as a whole, the overseeing of the School, for the promotion of harmonious relations with other Churches in Scotland and for the promotion of the community in local and national events, such as Doors Open day, an annual event that gives the opportunity to more than 750 visitors to visit and admire the building.
During the lifetime of this community, the following served as members of successive Governing Councils; they appear in alphabetical order (as per their surname spelling in Greek) and the names of those who served as Chairs are shown in bold.
The work of the Governing Council is supported by the Christian Fellowship, a support group comprising ladies of the community, who provide support services to the poor and ill, students and anyone at the diaspora, applying the principles and teaching of philanthropy and Christian love.