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.
On This Day 1960: The OBE Chapel is dedicated in the presence of The Queen
20 May 2015
The British honours system is notoriously complicated, with numerous medals and gongs given to civilians
and those in the military for their service to the nation.
But amongst the plethora of awards sits those which are best-known within the UK and around the world - the five chivalric titles which fall
within the Most Excellent 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 nursing.
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:
Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Knight/Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Knight or Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
The Queen is the Sovereign of the Order with Prince Philip as Grand Master. The Bishop of London is the Order's Prelate and the serving Dean of
St Paul's acts as the Order's Dean.
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 Empire.
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.