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.
Many of you will know that The Tempest begins with a storm and a shipwreck and takes us to an island, often in literature and myth a place of human
testing, a place of magical but dangerous dislocation of the soul. The production in Edinburgh was performed in local people’s houses and flats.
You offered your home and the six actors turned up like strolling players and began the play without any to do. It took place in semi-darkness with
improvised lighting from torches, bicycle lamps, candles and fairy lights. At the end the actors evaporated into the night like shy spirits without
even taking a bow.
It was a stark reminder that theatre is an experience you have, not a place that you go. Chris Goode believed
that people’s homes are simply the best place to perform a play that is all about changing perceptions, altered states and geographical confusions
allowing him and the cast to take the audience on a journey in which the familiar became disconcertingly unfamiliar.
So in an Edinburgh flat a bedroom doorway became Caliban’s lair and Ferdinand was found undertaking Prospero’s tasks, better known as washing up in
the kitchen. Miranda and Prospero’s murmured conversation heard just a foot away was Shakespeare spoken in your living room, not declaimed on a
It was if you were eavesdropping and at the end in pitch black, stunned for a few seconds, the audience came to as if they were awaking from a
dream - to find the actors gone. And at every performance, somewhere in your home, the actors had left behind a small paper boat, on the
mantelpiece or by the bed, or resting by the window. A small reminder that it hadn’t all been a dream, it had happened and under your own roof.
Early Christians spoke of Jesus as Word, walking into the land of our homes, visiting us for a short time and in that time
subverting us, our priorities and selfish comforts, our so called “common” sense and deep and destructive prejudices. He was making the familiar
strange again. In that short time, re-picturing God for us, re-defining the boundaries of love, if there are such things. This man walks in and
creates a storm of the human spirit blasting complacency where it has become oppressive to yourself or others, and creating a calm where struggling
lives need assurance and peace.
In many ways this life in our earth-home was a tempest of yes, changing perceptions, altered states and talk of a kingdom far off
that feels strangely like home. He brought an energy, a hope, a new way of being that defrosted the heart: if only you had the ears to hear, he
said, if only you could tune in, tune in your lives to this brave new world of God.
A few years later in that story, we find, not a small paper boat, but a small wooden one on choppy seas with Paul and some friends, a boat with
early disciples of Jesus, carrying his message to other places, other homes. It had not been a magical illusion for them, it was reality and their
boats set out with the precious treasure of their witness with similar danger to refugees in our own time. It was risky but it was a message that
could save us from ourselves, so they set off.
For them, like theatre, church was not a place to go - there weren’t any built yet - church was an experience of
change, a way of translating the life and holy storm of this man into ordinary day to day life and relationships, not alone but together, with
baptism forging a sort of new family, water was now thicker than blood.
Peter, a stormy man himself in so many ways, as we just heard preached again and again that this Jesus story hadn’t ended though, hadn’t come and
gone and left us in the dark but in fact, the Jesus movement had only just begun and now was to be continued – continued in you, if you think its
important enough that is.
The paper boat is left on your mantelpiece. Is it all just a dream? Or do you have the ears to hear, spoken to you as close as it gets -