London protesters force St. Paul’s to close

By on October 25, 2011

For the first time since World War II, St. Paul’s Cathedral closes doors to public.
Photo: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

On Friday, Oct. 21, historic St. Paul’s Cathedral in London closed its doors indefinitely for the first time since World War II.

What the Blitz did in the 1940s, Occupy the London Stock Exchange protestors, who set up camp almost two weeks ago near the cathedral and the exchange, have replicated more than six decades later.

“We have done this with a very heavy heart, but it is simply not possible to fulfill our day-to-day obligations to worshippers, visitors and pilgrims in current circumstances, ” said the Rt. Rev. Graeme Knowles, dean, in a statement. “The decision to close St. Paul’s Cathedral is unprecedented in modern times, and I have asked the registrar to implement emergency procedures whereby the building remains closed but fit for purpose until such a time that we can open safely.”

Cathedral and city officials are considering an injunction to force the anti-capitalist protesters out, citing the fire, health and safety risks posed by the some 200 tents and marquees. Church officials say it is costing St. Paul’s around £20,000 a day in lost visitor revenues.

The cathedral held one private holy communion for clergy in order to comply with an Anglican statute requiring all cathedrals to hold such  services each week. Some protesters held a guerilla evensong service outside the cathedral on Sunday evening

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