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LOCKDOWN PROMPTS HUNDREDS OF ONLINE WORSHIPPERS TO ATTEND SUNDAY SERVICES IN THE OLD ROYAL NAVAL COLLEGE CHAPEL image

LOCKDOWN PROMPTS HUNDREDS OF ONLINE WORSHIPPERS TO ATTEND SUNDAY SERVICES IN THE OLD ROYAL NAVAL COLLEGE CHAPEL

6th May 2021

Many are attracted by the Greenwich chapel’s use of the Book of Common Prayer for services

The chapel of the former Royal Naval College in Greenwich is the latest place of
worship to join the Prayer Book Society (PBS) as a corporate member.

Described as ‘a beautiful place to visit’ (open daily from 10 am to 5 pm), the chapel is
also an active place of worship with regular services.

Completed in 1751, the chapel of SS Peter and Paul used the Book of Common
Prayer (BCP) for services held when it was part of the training establishment, now
open to the public as a visitor attraction.

‘When the Royal Navy closed the college, those who wished to keep the chapel open
as a place of worship felt that continuing to use the BCP for services was most
appropriate,’ explains the chaplain to the Old Royal Naval College, the Rev Pat
Mann. ‘Now, having joined the PBS, we are grateful for the opportunity to deepen our
journey of faith in the company of others who have a love of the Prayer Book.’

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic around 120 worshippers attended the chapel on
Sundays but now it has an online congregation of several hundred worshippers of all
ages, reports Pat. Many are attracted by use of the BCP for services which include
Choral Eucharist, Choral Matins and Choral Evensong, she says.

‘Some who attend in person live within walking distance or a short drive away but
others may travel for some time to be with us,’ explains Pat. ‘People are drawn to us
by a combination of our liturgy, the standard of our music, the beauty of the building
and the warmth of our welcome.

‘For many of them, the BCP was the service they were brought up on and is now part
of their DNA.’

Historic note:
Although the chapel of SS Peter and Paul was completed in 1751, the interior was
gutted by fire in 1779. It reopened in 1789 and is said to be one of the finest
eighteenth century interiors in existence. The chapel is part of Sir Christopher Wren’s
twin domed riverside masterpiece – originally built as the Royal Hospital for Seamen
– and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Says Pat: ‘Our naval history is an important part of who we are. Our traditions include
marking Trafalgar Sunday each year with Choral Matins and the anniversary of the
lying-in-state of Admiral Lord Nelson with the Nelson Mass for our Eucharist that
day.’

Trafalgar Sunday commemorates the victory won by the Royal Navy, commanded by
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, over the combined French and Spanish fleets at the
Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805.

For more information about the chapel of the Old Royal Naval College in
Greenwich visit https://ornc.org/plan-a-visit/explore-whats-here/chapel-services/
For the Prayer Book Society visit www.pbs.org.uk

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