After World War II, a number of Serbs came to Britain, and accepted a 3-year agreement to work in agriculture, textiles or coal mining before they could settle permanently.
In 1954, the exiled Serbian Orthodox community bought and renovated the former Mount Carmel Methodist Chapel, Claremount, and this became the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity.
In 1963, a split emerged in the Serbian Orthodox community in England, and in USA, between those who believed that the Belgrade central hierarchy of the Church was too much influenced by the Communist government there, and others who believed that they must adhere to the official Church hierarchy in Belgrade, regardless of the political complexion of the Government there.
This dichotomy was exacerbated in 1964 when the Serbian Orthodox Bishop in USA was removed from office by Belgrade, and the groups formally spilt. After the split, those who recognised the authority of Belgrade remained at Simpson Street, but were much reduced in numbers.
In the early 1970s, that group moved to join a Serbian Church in Bradford and the Simpson Street site ceased to be a church.
The larger part of the Halifax Serbian community followed the anti-communist line and established their own separate Church with links to a body in the USA known collectively there as The Free Serbian Orthodox Church in Exile.
In 1965, the former Akroydon Wesleyan Methodist Church and Sunday School in Boothtown, were bought by this group. The main Church building was adapted for their style of worship with a new Social Centre created on the lower floor. In September 1965, the Church was opened by ex-King Peter of Yugoslavia and dedicated by the Serbian Orthodox bishop as the Church of St John the Baptist.
The Sunday School was then converted to be a home for the Priest, plus a large hall, and came into use on 11th April 1966.
The two parts of the Serbian Orthodox Church were re-united in 1990 after the fall of the Communist regime in Yugoslavia. This Church now enjoys cordial relationships with the Serbian Orthodox Church in Bradford to which the Simpson Street congregation had moved. The Priest here includes Serbian Orthodox families in Manchester, Sheffield, Lincolnshire, the North-East and Scotland within his remit.
Priests at the Church have included
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Page Ref: QQ_15
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