London Oratory

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London Oratory
Brompton oratory2.jpg
The Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is home to the London Oratory
Monastery information
Other namesBrompton Oratory
OrderOratory of Saint Philip Neri
Dedicated toImmaculate Heart of Mary
Controlled churchesBrompton Oratory
Founder(s)Fr. Frederick Faber
PriorJulian Large
ArchbishopVincent Nichols
Coordinates51°29′50″N 0°10′12″W / 51.49722°N 0.17000°W / 51.49722; -0.17000Coordinates: 51°29′50″N 0°10′12″W / 51.49722°N 0.17000°W / 51.49722; -0.17000

The London Oratory is a Catholic community of priests living under the rule of life established by its founder, Saint Philip Neri (1515-1595). It is housed in an Oratory House, next to the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Brompton Oratory) in the Brompton Road, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW7.

There are four other Oratories in the UK, the Birmingham Oratory, the Manchester Oratory, the Oxford Oratory and the York Oratory.


The London Oratory was founded in 1849, the year after John Henry Cardinal Newman established the Birmingham Oratory, when Newman sent Frederick Faber and some companions, including Thomas Francis Knox, to start an Oratory in London. The original premises (a former whisky store) were in King William Street (now William IV Street), near Charing Cross. In 1854 the community moved to its present Brompton Road site, adjacent to the Victoria and Albert Museum. An Oratory House was built in 1854, followed by a large temporary church. The church was replaced in 1884 by the present neo-baroque building, designed by Herbert Gribble. Until the opening of Westminster Cathedral in 1903, the London Oratory was the venue for all great Catholic occasions in London, including the funeral of Cardinal Manning in 1892.

Together with their Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the community of the Oratorian Fathers is often popularly, though incorrectly, referred to as the 'Brompton Oratory'.

Oratorian Fathers[edit]

The Oratorian Fathers are a congregation of secular priests living a community life together, bound together not by vows, but by the internal bond of charity and by the external bonds of a common life and rule, dominated by prayer and ministry to their city. There are several masses offered each day and private masses are available by arrangement, as are weddings and funerals. Confessions are also heard daily and priests are always available for counsel and advice. The London Oratory, which is currently served by three choirs, is famous in particular for the solemn celebration of the Roman liturgy, especially in Latin, and for its preservation of the traditional place of music in the liturgy.

Popular culture[edit]

The singer/songwriter Nick Cave wrote a lovesong called "Brompton Oratory", set outside and inside the London Oratory, which is included in the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' album The Boatman's Call.


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