Christians come from every part of the world to visit and worship in Jerusalem, both the sacred site of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the birthplace of the Church. These pilgrims, as well as people of other faiths, are all welcome to visit St. George’s Cathedral. This consecrated space is a gathering place for Sunday and daily worship, Christian fellowship and reflection, and personal prayer and devotion. As an international pilgrimage center, St. George’s allows Christians and others from around the world to encounter God and their neighbor in a holy setting, helping to promote peace and reconciliation among people everywhere, starting from Jerusalem.
The Cathedral’s dedication to St. George the Martyr is doubly significant. Widely revered throughout the Middle East, St. George is buried in the town of Lod, close to Jaffa (now part of Tel Aviv), near the end of the 3rd century AD. He is also the patron saint of England – hence the link with the Cathedral’s initial founding as missionary center under the Archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual head of the Church of England.
Now as the Mother Church of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, St. George’s serves as a pilgrimage center for the Worldwide Anglican Communion, which consists of 85 million Anglicans located in forty-one geographical provinces that span the globe. Among these is the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, of which the Diocese of Jerusalem is a part, along with the Diocese of Cyprus & the Gulf and the Diocese of Iran. The Cathedral is also the seat of the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Most Reverend Hosam, who oversees more than two dozen congregations and over thirty institutions scattered across the five countries or territories that form the Diocese of Jerusalem: Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. While Archbishop Hosam has retained his position as the Dean of the Cathedral, he is assisted by the Reverend Canon Dr. Donald D. Binder, Chaplain to the Archbishop and Pastor to the English-Speaking Congregation; the Reverend Wadie Far, Pastor to the Arabic-Speaking Congregation; and the Very Reverend Canon Richard Sewell, Dean of St. George’s College.
History of Construction
St George’s Cathedral, 1930s
St. George’s was built in two phases in the neo-Gothic style. The first phase included the nave, built during the episcopacy of the fourth bishop, George Francis Popham Blyth, and was consecrated on St. Luke’s Day, 1898 by the Rt. Rev. John Wadsworth of Salisbury. The second phase, including the crossing, choir, chapels and sanctuary, was consecrated in 1910 by the Rt. Rev. Arthur Foley Winnington-Ingram, Bishop of London.
Several additional features have been added since then, notably the organ which was installed in 1984. It was built by the Rieger Company of Austria which specialized in constructing organs requiring minimal servicing in places with wide variations in temperature and humidity.
The Cathedral Congregations
The Cathedral is home to two congregations: an indigenous community of Arabic-speaking Christians, and a mostly expatriate, English-speaking one. Both will cheerfully welcome you to join in their Sunday and daily worship services, as well as their other events and activities. The times of these, along with those of the weekly worship services, are posted on this website and on the bulletin board outside the Cathedral doors. Generally, during pandemic times, Sunday morning worship consists of a bi-lingual service of Holy Communion at 9:30 am am (Arabic & English) and 11:15 am (English) in the main body of the Cathedral, and daily services of Holy Communion at 7 am in the St. Michael & All Angels Chapel (English).
The larger cathedral close also includes not only St. George’s, but also a Pilgrim Guest House, the residences of the Archbishop and other cathedral clergy, the cathedral and diocesan offices, and St. George’s College, which runs short-term residential courses throughout the year.