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On a very small side street near Kings Road is a modern yet older looking Catholic Church with a very long name.
It was opened in 1895 — although not consecrated until 1905, as the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, presumably to differentiate it from the slightly holy redeemer and the not at all holy redeemer. What is it with churches and long names?
The name got even longer though, as following the Catholic canonization of Sir Thomas More, it added his sainthood to the church as well. The decision was apt as far as this church is concerned as it’s the closest Catholic church to the More’s family home just a couple of streets away.
The church was designed by Edward Goldie in what has variously been described as the Wren style, Italian baroque and Renaissance classical — and it looks curiously Georgian in places as well.
Above the door are the coat of arms of Sir Thomas More in black on white surrounded by gold.
Inside can be definitely described as having a muted green palate, and lacking stained glass windows it almost looks puritan, other than for the fact that the walls are lined with icons and prayer niches. The church was damaged during WW2, when a bomb hit it killing 19 people who were sheltering in the basement, and refurbished again in the 1970s.
There’s a rather large stained glass window at the back of the church above the entrance, which was added in 1991 and is quite simple in design, and oddly looks more impressive from the outside.
A series of very modern Stations of the Cross line the church and were added in 2000. It’s an unusual church, both being very simple in design, but also rich with Catholic imagery.
Near the door is the Papal Armorial of Pope Benedict XVI. I presume they haven’t quite got around to replacing it with the shield for the current Pope Francis, even though he took office in 6 years ago.
This article first appeared on www.ianvisits.co.uk
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