St Paul’s Cathedral has been here for over 1,400 years. It has been built and rebuilt five times, and always its main purpose has been as a
place of worship and prayer.
St Paul's, with its world-famous dome, is an iconic feature of the London skyline. Step inside and you can enjoy the Cathedral's awe-inspiring
interior, and uncover fascinating stories about its history.
Learning & Faith
Lifelong learning is a core part of the our work, delivered through a variety of events by St Paul's Institute, and the
Cathedral's Adult Learning and Schools & Family Learning departments.
History & Collections
For more than 1,400 years, a Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood at the highest point in the City. The present Cathedral is the
masterpiece of Britain's most famous architect Sir Christopher Wren.
Behind the scenes, the cost of caring for St Paul's and continuing to deliver our central ministry and work is enormous and the generosity of
our supporters is critical.
Widely considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful buildings and a powerful symbol of the splendour of London, St Paul’s Cathedral is a
breathtaking events venue.
Order of the British Empire marks centenary in the presence of HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
24 May 2017
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire celebrated its centenary in a service of dedication at St Paul’s attended by Her
Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.
The service on Wednesday 24 May 2017 was attended by 2,000 people from across the UK and Commonwealth who are holders of the Order awards, the
GBE, KBE, CBE, OBE, MBE and British Empire Medal.
The Queen, who is the Sovereign of the Order and Prince Philip, who is the Grand Master, were met by the Lord Mayor of
London and greeted by the Dean of St Paul's, the Cathedral Chapter and Officials of the Order.
In his Bidding Prayer, the Very Reverend David Ison, Dean of St Paul's, thanked God for the lives of members of the Order, "for the adventure
and courage, idealism and diligence, contributed to the life of our world." Following the attack in Manchester, he prayed "we commend to God's love
those who suffer at the hands of others in Manchester and elsewhere."
In his sermon, in which he looked at the work of the Order and its award holders, the Dean said: "Jesus Christ reminds us that honour is due,
not to those who think highly of themselves, but to those who think highly of other."
Hymns included Ye holy angels bright and Guide me, O thou great Redeemer, and the Cathedral Choir sang a number of anthems
including Lo! God is here! with words written by Methodist founder John Wesley, who with his brother Charles is celebrated throughout the
Anglican Church on 24 May each year.
The Order of the British Empire
Instituted by King George V in 1917 initially to recognise the considerable civilian contribution to the war effort during the First World War, the
Order of the British Empire was a pioneering honour, being the first five-class Order for national distribution and the first to admit women to
membership. Until then no woman had been eligible for an award, although an exception was made for Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern
In 1918 the Order was separated into military and civil divisions and these awards have continued to this day. Announced twice a year, on the
Queen's birthday and at New Year, these five classes honour all people in society, from lollipop ladies to sports stars; musicians to charity
In increasing order of seniority, the awards are:
MBE Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire OBE Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire CBE Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire KBE/DBE Knight/Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire GBE Knight or Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
The association with St Paul's stems from the Cathedral's long consideration, by many, to be the Nation's Church and a place of great state
occasions, including state funerals and memorial services. It therefore was a natural location to be the spiritual home of the Order of the British
On 20 May 1960, The Queen and Prince Philip came to St Paul's as the Bishop of London, Henry Campbell, dedicated the newly created Chapel of the
Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (commonly known as the OBE Chapel) at the east end of the crypt of St Paul's.
The Order's chapel is also known as St Faith’s Chapel. The original St Faith's was a parish church attached to the old Cathedral destroyed in the
Great Fire of London. During the rebuilding of St Paul's, this chapel was dedicated to St Faith close to the foundations of the former church and
offered parishioners their own place of worship in the building.
Today, the OBE Chapel is one of the busiest spaces within the Cathedral. Every week, the Chapel is used for educational work, including the OBE
Organ Outreach Programme, which introduces organ music to thousands of children, thanks to the generous support of the Order. One of the privileges
of receiving an award within the Order is to marry (holders and children of holders) or be baptised (holders, children and grandchildren of
holders) within the Chapel and these special services are held on nearly every weekend of the year.