St Paul’s Cathedral is considering taking out an injunction to remove hundreds of anti-capitalist protesters occupying the churchyard.
The cathedral has been in talks about legal action with the City of London Corporation.
Around 300 protesters have gathered outside the cathedral in the last 10 days since the Occupy Wall Street demonstration went global.
They continue to defy requests by St Paul’s to leave voluntarily, despite their presence forcing the cathedral to close its doors to the public for the first time since World War II.
The cathedral, situated in London’s financial district, is estimated to be losing around £16,000 every day in lost tourism income – revenue that is vital to the upkeep of the building.
The cathedral reportedly turned away worshippers from services on Sunday.
A spokesman for the cathedral told the BBC: “A lot of independent traders are being affected and that whole part of London is not easily accessible.
“This is no longer just about St Paul’s and it is not something we can deal with on our own.”
Some protesters have reportedly vowed to remain camped outside the cathedral until after Christmas.
In a statement, Cathedral Dean the Rt Rev Graham Knowles said: “I am asking the protestors to recognise the huge issues facing us at this time and asking them to leave the vicinity of the building so that the Cathedral can re-open as soon as possible. Some will rightly say that the Church should be alongside those seeking equality and financial probity. We are. The debate about a more just society is at the heart of much of our work at St Paul’s. But today is about our ability, practically, to carry on our mission with free and open access to this public space and treasured place and I hope that the protestors will understand the issues we are facing, recognise that their voice has been legitimately heard, and withdraw peacefully.”
Hymns Ancient and Modern had been due to hold a service at St Paul’s in celebration of its 150th anniversary but has been forced to move the service to Southwark Cathedral.