After many years of prayer and planning, a dream came true for hundreds of Orthodox Christians here as the recently constructed Saint Seraphim Cathedral was consecrated on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21, 2001.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, presided at the consecration, assisted by His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South; His Eminence, Archbishop Herman of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania; His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate; and His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco and the West. Also participating were Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, NY, and nearly 50 priests and deacons.
The consecration began on Friday evening with the celebration of Vespers in the new cathedral, which is patterned after classic churches typically found in central and northern Russia. After Vespers over 350 hierarchs, clergy and laity attended a festive banquet in the adjacent hall. During the banquet, Metropolitan Theodosius, Archbishop Dmitri, Mr. Milos Konjevich, Treasurer of the Diocese of the South and a cathedral parishioner, the Very Rev. Alexander Fecanin, Rector of Saint Symeon the New Theologian Mission, Birmingham, AL and others addressed the gathering.
On Saturday morning, the hierarchs concelebrated the Divine Liturgy, which began with the construction and consecration of the cathedral’s new altar table. The hierarchs led the clergy and hundreds of faithful in the traditional procession around the church with the relics that were later sealed into the altar table. During the Rite of Consecration, the interior walls of the cathedral also were anointed.
In his homily, Metropolitan Theodosius drew parallels between the consecration of a new church and the renewal of the People of God, who are called to become “living temples.”
“The Church is more than edifice of brick, stone, metal, wood and glass,” Metropolitan Theodosius said. “It is even more than a gathering of like-minded souls and individuals. Saint Seraphim of Sarov, to whom this new temple is dedicated, also reminds us of this. In his Spiritual Instructions, Saint Seraphim uses scriptural imagery when he states, ‘Woever possesses true faith is a cornerstone in the temple of God, chosen for the work of God the Father, raised up by the power of Jesus Christ with the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.’”
“When we prayed to God to ‘renew this Temple,’ we were also praying for a renewal of the ‘living Temple’ that makes up this community - the men and women, the children, all of you who have been baptized into Christ,” Metropolitan Theodosius continued, quoting one of the prayers from the Rite of Consecration. “You are the Temple made of living stones! And you live by virtue of Christ’s power, of Christ’s life, of Christ’s saving death and glorious resurrection from the dead.”
Metropolitan Theodosius also commended Archbishop Dmitri, the cathedral parishioners, and the faithful of the Diocese of the South for the many sacrifices they made to erect the new cathedral.
During the Divine Liturgy, Kevin Smith and Deacon Mark Hodal, both from the Diocese of the South, were ordained to the diaconate and priesthood respectively. Mr. Milos Konjevich was presented with the Order of Saint Innocent, Bronze Class and a Synodal Citation for his years of service on the OCA Pension Board and to the Diocese of the South and the cathedral parish, while Nicholas Paraskevas, the cathedral’s choir director, was presented with a Synodal Citation.
The Liturgy was followed by a luncheon in the cathedral hall.