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.
Sermon preached on the Sunday before Lent (7 February 2016) by Revd Canon Tricia Hillas, Pastor
God knows us all by name, notes Canon Tricia - including people in a 'swarm'
This week Shakespeare’s Hamlet was performed on a makeshift stage to around 300 refugees and migrants in Calais. Approximately 6,000 refugees from
22 countries live in the camp known as the jungle The audience, sitting outside in bitterly cold weather, was made up of those who some, including
those at the highest rank of our political life, have described as “a bunch of migrants “and “a swarm of people”.
The Refugee Council said that the use of the term ‘Swarm’ was “extremely
disappointing ... irresponsible, dehumanising language to describe desperate men, women and children”.
History whispers warnings of what can happen when, in our minds, people cease to be people but become to us a ‘swarm’.
So who were some of the individuals in the audience for Hamlet in Calais?
‘One young men was a nurse forced to be a soldier in Eritrea, giving his name as Hector, he said
“I’ve read the play in a book but never seen it…it is good to see theatre, to see the English tradition…it is good to enjoy something…life here is
very bad. We are human beings – would you live here?”
Benjamin, a builder from Iran was watching Hamlet with interest, as he had seen it performed in his home country, in Farsi. “The language is very
beautiful” he said “this is very good”.
Is that you were expecting… people with a love of language and a curiosity about another culture. People who have read and who have seen Hamlet
performed. Are these the threat? The faceless, nameless swarm? Is this what we, what our politicians, were expecting to see…or are we not really
that interested in actually seeing the people upon whom we pronounce our judgements?
Known by Name
How different the word of God to Moses; ‘I know you…I know you by name’
Our reading from Exodus finds Moses mid prayer to God. And Moses is desperate.
Here’s an important thing of which to remind ourselves – who was Moses? None other than the leader of a community on the move, one made up of
women, men and children who had fled oppression and slavery, people in search of a home.
At the point our reading begins Moses has just said to God:
‘You told me to bring these people up - I’ve done that; but now we need to know that your presence will go with us; how else will we
And God replies, to this leader of a displaced, refugee community…”I know you by name”.
I see you.
There is a need in every human being to be seen…to be known.
If you are a woman, have you sat in a meeting or a lecture and heard your idea or comment ignored, but as soon as a man said a similar thing it’s
If you are someone with a disability do you know what it is like to have someone address your supporter first rather than you?
If you are someone with who identifies as LGBTI the strong likelihood is that you too know what it’s like to be excluded from some of the
And often when overlooked people speak up, it is they who are seen as the problem, as a friend said to me this week ‘I’m just dismissed as an
aggressive black woman.’
But God says…’I see you…I know you…by name.’
And what is more, I will tell you, MY name.
I know you…and want you to know me.
To be honest the thought of being known to God, by name, thrills, encourages and terrifies me. But to know God by name, especially by the name of
Jesus, speaks of intimacy and love.
Love which God has chosen to lavish upon us, children of God. And if that is true of us, how can it be anything other than true of
Hector, Benjamin and the other 5,998 or so people trapped in the Calais jungle. Known by name.
This Lent, which begins in just a few days, might we seek to develop the practices of looking and truly seeing; of hearing and actually listening,
of talking and genuinely speaking. Of pausing to recognise that God sees us too. That we and all God’s children might be seen, and truly known.
Let us pray:
O God who makes yourself known to humanity
You see us; we are not invisible to you; not over looked by you.
You see your children with love and compassion,
You see us as you have created us, gifted, fearfully and wonderfully made.
You know us, our longings, fears, loves and desires.
We are, because you give us life, because you sustain us with your love,
Because you know us, because you see us.
May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore, Amen.