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Consecration held for Greek church April 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.

As part of their church’s 100th anniversary, parishioners at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral gathered this weekend to consecrate the Panagia Chapel.

“The chapel is actually 21 years old, but its consecration never took place,” said the Rev. Christopher H. Stamas, the church’s pastor. At a service on Saturday, the chapel was washed and emptied except for relics of the saints, which were brought in and placed on an empty altar table.

“The time has come for the chapel to be officially consecrated, which is a very symbolic ceremony,” said Metropolitan Methodios, bishop of Boston, who led the ceremony. “In essence you are not consecrating bricks and walls, you are consecrating the parishioners of the community. It’s like a re-baptism and a manifesto of our unity with faith.”

The four-hour ceremony included readings, music and rituals. “It’s a very special time for the cathedral and for the members of the church,” Stamas said. “Consecrating a chapel is something you do only once, since the relics of the saints will never be moved again.”

In honor of the church’s 100th anniversary, the chapel was completely renovated. “It’s a beautiful space, filled with Byzantine style mosaics and stained glass windows. Most of our baptisms, weekday services and even some weddings are performed there,” Stamas said.

St. George’s was founded in 1907 on Auburn Street in Springfield. The church moved to its current location at Memorial Square in 1940. In addition to the consecration, the church will hold several other celebrations in honor of the 100th anniversary including a Greek festival in September.

“Basically, it’s about reaffirming the mission of providing the gospel to those who need it and to celebrate the very rich history we’ve had here in Springfield,” Stamas said.

The celebration will culminate when Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States, will be on hand to celebrate vespers and the divine liturgy on November 17 and November 18.

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