St Paul's Dean Graeme Knowles resigns over protests

The Right Rev Graeme Knowles Dean Knowles said his position had become untenable

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The dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London has resigned, saying his position had become untenable.

The Rt Rev Graeme Knowles said the past fortnight had been a testing time.

It follows weeks of protests outside the cathedral by anti-capitalist protesters, which led to the building being closed for several days.

The news comes as the City of London authorities prepare to order protesters outside St Paul's to remove their tents and equipment within 48 hours.

The City of London Corporation said it was going to issue a legal notice on Tuesday to try to clear the protest camp.

It has insisted that the protesters themselves are not being asked to leave the area.

'Fresh approach'

A spokesperson said if the protesters did not comply the case would go to court.

Dean Knowles, who had occupied the most senior decision-making position at the cathedral, said he was stepping down "with great sadness".

In a statement, he said: "It has become increasingly clear to me that, as criticism of the cathedral has mounted in the press, media and in public opinion, my position as dean of St Paul's was becoming untenable.

"In order to give the opportunity for a fresh approach to the complex and vital questions facing St Paul's, I have thought it best to stand down as dean, to allow new leadership to be exercised."

One protester said: "I don't feel that I caused the resignation, that was the dean's decision"

It follows last week's resignation of Dr Giles Fraser, who had been sympathetic to the activists.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said he was sad to hear the news of Dean Knowles' resignation.

"The events of the last couple of weeks have shown very clearly how decisions made in good faith by good people under unusual pressure can have utterly unforeseen and unwelcome consequences, and the clergy of St Paul's deserve our understanding in these circumstances," he said.

He added that the wider issues raised by the protesters "remain very much on the table".

Dr Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, said he was sad to hear the dean's decision, adding that he had "acted honourably in a very difficult situation".

'Transparent dialogue'

In a statement responding to the resignation, Occupy London described the management of St Paul's Cathedral as "deeply divided" over its response to the protests.

"But our cause has never been directed at the staff of the cathedral," the statement added.

The statement went on to urge an "open and transparent dialogue" involving all parties.

Lucy, an Occupy London protester, said no-one was pleased by the resignation.

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres paid tribute to the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles

"I don't feel that I caused the resignation, that was the dean's decision," she said.

"What we want to do is to work in the spirit of co-operation and in unity with the church... This is a historic opportunity for the church to throw itself behind this protest and say we need change."

Last week the corporation's Planning and Transportation Committee voted to go ahead with proceedings to remove the encampment on the grounds that it constituted an unreasonable use of the highway.

Ronan McNern, a supporter of the Occupy London Stock Exchange protest, said it would be up to the general assembly of the protesters as to how they responded to the legal notice.

He said: "Every time that the occupiers have been challenged, they have remained calm. We have a just cause and there is absolutely no reason why we would be intimidated. We trust in the people."

Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe told BBC London's Eddie Nestor that the law is "not very clear cut" but he insisted that people did not have the right to commit crime.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 504.

    #482 but they are the far left Ian. Like I keep saying, its not a spontaneous welling up of 300 disgruntled citizens. No. Its the SWP Communists, Rev Left and a few anarchists under the umbrella of the "occupy" movement.

    I have put this on hys many times and its never been challenged by anyone. Its all over various websites eg Rev Left, but the BBC never ever mention this. I bet if it was bnp...

  • rate this

    Comment number 503.

    The prostestors have made thier point and it is now past time for them to return to thier jobs and families and cease being a public nuisance . Did I say "jobs and families" ? I wonder ?!
    For certain I have not the money , the time or the time to camp out living rough in the City .

  • rate this

    Comment number 502.

    455 Zalimbeker What planet are you on - never mind in which country. Freedom fighters - freedom from what? Freedom from getting a worthwhile job?

  • rate this

    Comment number 501.

    478. Ex Tory Voter
    "But they do speak for me, my family and everyone I know.... 'everyone', particularly when used in any political context ..., is always in fact misused and the meaning suitably adjusted."

    I was replying to a post which complained about people criticising the protestors when "they support your beliefs". Now, are you criticising the protestors? If not then your point is invalid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 500.

    And the CLC will make a scourge of small cords, and drive them all out of the grounds of temple, with their fleeces and their placards, tip out their collections and overthrow their tents.
    And they shall say unto those gathered, "Take these things hence! Make not our temple a place of peaceful protest and a violation of H&S for this is truly an unreasonable use of the highway!"

    Hang on...

  • rate this

    Comment number 499.

    about time. The whole protest is a farce. I walked past the other day and and got handed a LSE leaflet supporting the "general strike" on 30th Nov and a Student march on 8th Nov. They claim to be the 99%, well they don't represent me or anybody i know. It is a self centric ego trip for people with nothing better to do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 498.

    Please don't refer to the protestors as anti capitalist - they are not. Capitalism is good, the abuse of it is not. The fury of the nation should be vented at those who are trying to take it all for themselves. Make no mistake, if it all goes belly up, they will not care, they do indeed love a recession. Do you still believe in democracy?

  • rate this

    Comment number 497.

    Why have these people chosen to damage the name of the Church of England when they could have made their camp outside parliament. They are using the Church as a scapegoat and I find the lack of honour to God deplorable. I strongly believe that many of the people there are not even Christians but they are using the Cathedral to their advantage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 496.

    I really wish the media would force the 'protestors' to clarify exactly what it is they want.Demanding that the world be made 'fairer', without of course defining what you mean by fair is, frankly, infantile.

    What the childish protestors need to understand is that if it wasn't for that 'great evil' capitalism, they wouldn't be living in tents; they'd be living in caves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 495.

    Who are the people on the Chapter? What are their ‘interest’ with city institutions and the worshipful companies and are the bodies ‘perversely’ influencing chapter decisions about the protesters? The Lord Mayor’s Show is on the 12th November so is the City worried about how their ‘little show of pomp and wealth’ will be overshadowed by the protestors message?

  • rate this

    Comment number 494.

    If these people want to protest what is occurring in the worlds economy then they should move their protest to the banks rather than occupy the most important religious building in the UK. The Dean should have never had to have resigned over this as this should not have happened in the first place. Either start protesting the right people (banks) or don't protest at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 493.

    I don't really understand why people have resigned. Has there been some huge row? As I see it, some protesters turned up with tents and camped outside the cathedral (for some obscure reason known only to them) and after a fairly peaceful time, somebody resigned. And then someone else. What was the row about?

  • rate this

    Comment number 492.

    It's not the fault the financial system that so many people who could not afford credit took it out.

    As consumers, we all have our share in the blame - not the bankers who have become a convenient scapegoat of the disaffected in our society.

    Time to work hard and add value to the economy: or would that be too much to ask?

  • rate this

    Comment number 491.

    why are these people not at work instead of just staging a sit in,i hope the social goes in and stops all there benfits

  • rate this

    Comment number 490.


    Why do these 'anti-capitalists' want to attack the Church of England? "

    They don't. Have you read anything about this other than the headlines?

  • rate this

    Comment number 489.

    This camp is an obstruction to worshippers visiting the temple. For the sake of public order and the physical well-being of these tent-dwellers it's best to keep Jesus well away......

  • rate this

    Comment number 488.

    It seems the protesters have chosen their current location based on the Church being a soft-target. Even though I support their cause I cannot support their current tactics. Please show some intelligence and move to somewhere with relevance to the cause.

  • rate this

    Comment number 487.

    The amount of energy that goes into moaning and whinging about the good fortune of other people is staggering.The bankers have got away with it, its pretty disgusting, we don't like it, there is nothing we can do about.Move on! You will all feel much happier if you channeled your energies into self help stuff rather than stoking your bitterness submitting whiny posts to these mass whinge sessions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 486.

    Matthew 21:12 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

    If the church staff no longer support those who value fairness over monetary greed, then they should not be in a position of power and should follow the Dean. End of.

  • rate this

    Comment number 485.

    Have they gone yet, so we can get on with properly holding the Bankers to account through legislation plus prepare for Rememberance.

    Take your rubbish with you please.


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