Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Consecration of St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church in Denison, TX.
On August 25th we went up to St. Paul's to witness the consecration of their Church. The service was one of the most beautiful services I have ever seen. The consecration prayers with the step by step of putting the altar together by the Bishop and the priests, then the placing of Holy Relics into the altar, followed by a procession around the Church while the priest blesses, was all most profound and beautiful. The service was followed by the Divine Liturgy. It was all just perfect.
I was at the consecration of St. Seraphim in Dallas, but there were hundreds of people and I couldn't see and hear everything. At St. Paul's there were only about fifty people and the Church is relatively small, so I was able to enter more fully into this service. Even my kids were somewhat subdued at this service. It was a very long service, at least three hours, and all three of them watched and listened, with very few interruptions. They seemed to be aware of the Holiness of this service. I was amazed-and thankful.
All of the prayers I found to be beautiful, but I can't type them all here. So, I'll just share this one. If any of you want to read the whole service, I'd be happy to mail it to you.
This prayer is said after the procession around the Church and the blessing of the Church with holy water. The Bishop, priests and faithful are standing outside the front doors of the Church with The Holy Gospel, the cross, the icons and the Holy Relics. Before they enter into the church, the Bishop prays this prayer:
"O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who art blessed forever, who through the veil of His flesh hath renewed for us an entrance into the Church of the first-born, who are written in heaven, where is the abode of them that rejoice, and the voice of gladness: Do thou thyself; O Master who lovest mankind, look upon us, thy sinful and unworthy servants, celebrating the renewal of the honorable Temple of the holy Apostle Paul according to the pattern of the most-holy Church, that is, of our own body, which thou has vouchsafed us, by the all-praised Apostle Paul, to call thy Church and members of thy Christ; and do thou estblish it immovable unto the end of the age, and glorified in thee. And count us worthy that, without reproach, we may offer herein praises and doxologies unto thy glory, and unto the Holy Spirit, with understanding, and with all emotion; and that those who worship thee in the fear of thee may show themselves worthy of thy divine compassions; and that these prayers offered up by us and by all thy people unto thine ineffable deep compassion, may be acceptable unto thy goodness: Through the prayers of our holy, Most-pure Sovereign Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary."
The pictures are of the procession and the prayers outside the church. Katya and Thea sit on the steps listening to Vladyka pray.
What a blessing is was to be a part of that event!