Vespers of the Consecration at St. Nicholas Church at WTC

BOSTON – His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel, Geron of Chalcedon officiated at the consecration vespers of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center. Present were other members of the Patriarchal delegation – including Metropolitan Prodromos of Rethymnon – Archbishop Elpidophoros, the Abbot of the Monastery of Xenophontos of Mount Athos, hierarchs of the Archdiocese, clergy and laymen participating in the Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and representatives of ecclesiastical organizations.

Metropolitan Emmanuel in his homily said among other things: “It is an especial honor and a distinct pleasure to return to the United States and to the Saint Nicholas National Shrine, representing the Mother Church of Constantinople and the sacred person of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, for the Consecration of this Holy Temple of God.”

His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel, Geron of Chalcedon, incenses a piece of the holy relic of St. Nicholas. (Photo by GOA/Dimitrios Panagos)

Speaking about the consecration he said that, “consecration is an old honored custom, and a good one. And it is also proper to honor new churches through consecration. Indeed, Consecration is an old and venerable tradition, coming to us from the Old Testament, as witnessed in the Prophetic Readings tonight. Even the Great and Wise Solomon wondered aloud whether all his preparations and adornments for the Temple in Jerusalem were enough. He was astonished and said: ‘But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain You. How much less this temple I have built!’ But we know the answer to his question. God does dwell among us. I am reminded of it every time I hear my own name: ‘Emmanuel’, which means ‘God with us’. As it says in the Gospel of John: ‘And the Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us….’”

Metropolitan Emmanuel also said that, ‘the relic of Saint Nicholas himself, brought here personally by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew last November for the Thyranixia, will be placed within the Altar Table. The Holy Anointing of the Church, with the same Chrism that comes from Constantinople and anoints our Faithful at their Baptisms, will anoint the walls, the holy vessels, and the icons. By these sacred actions, the ‘Shekinah’ – the ‘Glory of the Lord’, will inhabit this Temple forevermore, intimated every night by its signature glow. Let us therefore embrace the Consecration as a true ‘εγκαίνια’, which literally means ‘Renewal’ and ‘Restoration’. For the rebuilding of Saint Nicholas has been a true restoration of what was lost on the tragic day of 9/11. And yet, it is more. It is a renewal through the promise of ministry and presence here at the epicenter of world history, at the start of the Third Christian Millennium.”]

Archbishop Elpidophoros welcomed Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon with a kiss of peace at St. Nicholas. (Photo by GOA/Dimitrios Panagos)





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