Dear friends and parishioners,
In the early years of Christianity (and of course, still through the present day), many Christians were persecuted and killed for their faith in Christ. Forced to worship in secret, they met in catacombs, underground burial places, where they celebrated the Eucharist on the graves of the Martyred Saints. When the persecutions ended and the Church was allowed to exist openly, the tradition of celebrating the Eucharist over the graves of Martyrs continued as Holy Relics were placed in the Altar tables of consecrated churches. In this manner, we always remember that the Church is built on the faith and blood of the Holy Martyrs.
On the great day of our Church’s Consecration, His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah will carry a Paten holding a reliquary which contains the Holy Relics of the Martyred Saints Panteleimon, Kyrikos, and the Holy Fathers martyred at Daou Pentelis. He will lead us in procession around the Church three times, and then back into the Church. His Eminence will enter the sanctuary, uncover the Paten, and place the Holy Relics into a cavity in our marble altar.
His Eminence will pour Holy Chrism over the Relics to symbolize the union between our Lord and His Martyrs. Over the Holy Relics, he will pour a wax/mastic which contains the sweet-smelling spices used by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to anoint the Body of Christ for His burial. He will then apply a marble lid covering, and seal them permanently. The Holy Altar table thus represents the entombed Body of our Lord.
In Romans 6:8 we read: “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him….” This reading from the epistle to the Romans is read in the Baptism service, because when we are baptized, we die with Christ so that we may rise with Him. The Holy Relics of Martyred Saints remind us of, and connect us to, this great truth, and to Christ Himself. A Consecration is the “Baptism” of a Church, and in it each of us reaffirms our own Baptism, our own dying and living with Christ. Therefore, on the day of Consecration, the Church allows us to be “entombed” with our Lord through the interment of the names of our loved ones, past and present, living (Church Militant) and dead (Church Triumphant).
Thus, together with the reliquary containing the Holy Relics of the three martyred saints, His Eminence will place a scroll with the names of our loved ones, both those who are living and those who have fallen asleep. In this way, we and our loved ones are forever connected to the Saints, and to Christ, Who is “wondrous” among His Saints (Small Entrance, Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom).
Please submit names for inclusion in the scroll which will be read in the prayers at the Service of Consecration, and will then be sealed into our altar. Please include first name, baptismal name and last name, both of living people and of those who have fallen asleep. You may submit using the Names for Commemoration form on the church website. Please submit the excel form by email or use the pdf paper form (sending via U.S. mail or delivered in person after Sunday Divine Liturgy, either to the main office or to the “Consecration Table” in Mt. Tabor Hall.
Finally, please mark your calendars and make every effort to attend both the Great and Panegyrical Vespers of Friday, August 5, at 6:00 PM, when His Eminence, together with concelebrating clergy, will process with the Holy Relics of Saints Panteleimon, Kyrikos, and the Holy Fathers martyred at Daou Pentelis into the Church. They will deposit them on the Holy Altar Table where they will remain overnight in anticipation of the great Consecration the following day. On Saturday, August 6, Orthros will begin at 8:00 AM, to be immediately followed by the Service of Consecration and the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. Please plan to come early, both on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name…” (John 17:11)
In His Name, and with profound gratitude,
Father Vasileios Flegas
Complete these forms and return them to the Church Office.