The History of Choral Evensong at St Paul's Cathedral

Today at the Cathedral View More
8:00am Morning Prayer
8:30am Doors open for sightseeing
8:30am Eucharist
12:30pm Eucharist
4:00pm Last entry for sightseeing
5:00pm Choral Evensong
5:30pm Cathedral closes

The History of Choral Evensong at St Paul's Cathedral

WheelPower Evensong
George Blonsky/WheelPower

From the early 1700s sung evening prayers were held at St Paul’ Cathedral at 3pm and took place in the choir. The first service to be held beneath the Dome was an evening service held on Advent Sunday, 28 November 1858.

Choral Evensong is a daily ritual, marking the moment as the day turns to evening. However throughout our history it has marked significant moments in history and celebrated incredible feats of human endeavour. 

Singer and American Civil Rights Activist Paul Robeson was invited to sing at Evensong on 12th October 1958. Robeson’s appearance raised funds for the Defence in the South African Treason Trials, in which 156 people, including Nelson Mandela, were accused of treason. The service was attended by around 4,000 people, with many standing at the back, and there were huge crowds outside the Cathedral.

We continue to mark poignant global and local events at Choral Evensong. In June 2018 WheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport, celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Stoke Mandeville Games and the birth of the Paralympic Movement at a special evensong. The service was preceded by a showcase of wheelchair sport in the Cathedral’s Courtyard.

When you attend Choral Evensong you are taking part in our rich history. Whoever you are and whatever you believe, you are welcome to join us.