A 1,000-year-old church in the heart of the City of London has reopened following an 18 month-long restoration, becoming the first Grade I listed church in London to go fully carbon neutral.

St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe has undergone extensive renovation since closing at Christmas 2021. The refurbishment has seen the installation of six air source heat pumps, new roof insulation, specialist energy-efficient LED lighting, an equal access ramp, as well as the complete refurbishment of the toilets, kitchen and parish room.

A celebratory choral evensong to mark its reopening was held on Wednesday 26th July, attended by the Bishop of Fulham, Jonathan Baker, the Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally, and the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, Archbishop Angaelos. The City of London’s Livery Companies, local businesses and residents were also in attendance.

In addition to serving Anglican worshipers, St Andrew’s will become the London headquarters for the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London as part of a church-sharing arrangement, continuing a proud and enduring partnership between the Orthodox Church of Egypt, now also present here in United Kingdom for the past five decades, and the Diocese of London.

The refurbishment of St Andrew’s was made possible through the generous donations of the Laing Family Trusts, City of London Community Infrastructure Levy fund, livery companies, members of the Castle Baynard ward club, and the City Churches Grants Committee.

Rector of St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe and Archdeacon of London, the Ven. Luke Miller, commented:

“St Andrew’s is a church which has assumed many guises – first mentioned around 1170, the original church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by the inimitable Sir Christopher Wren. Sadly gutted for a second time during the Blitz, it was renovated again in 1961 but in recent years had become unfit for purpose, with the electrical system about to be condemned putting the church at risk of closure. It’s been a true privilege to oversee the third regeneration of an irreplaceable part of the City’s rich tapestry, and I am so excited to see worshipers welcomed through St Andrew’s doors once more.”

Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, said:

“When we first embarked on this partnership, it was never expected to reach the scale which it has. Having the two-thousand year old Church of Egypt now finding a home in a thousand year old iconic church in the heart of London speaks of the breadth of the Church in our current era. Our vision is that this not only becomes a place of worship for the Coptic Orthodox Community, but a space through which it serves London in all its breadth and diversity.”

Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally, added:

“It is wonderful to see St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe reopened, and I would like to pay tribute to the tireless dedication of all involved in the restoration of the building, including Archdeacon Luke and project manager Bob Wilson.

“As stewards of God’s creation, we have a fundamental responsibility to act sustainably and protect the world we live in. I am thrilled that St Andrew’s is leading the way in showing us an example by which we should all strive to follow.”