Home Church & Religion Consecration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Celebrated in Port Jefferson,...

Consecration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Celebrated in Port Jefferson, N.Y. 

Photos: GOA/GANP/Dimitris Panagos

By Sophia A. Niarchos

OYSTER BAY, N.Y. – Fr. Elias (Lou) Nicholas was seven years old on May 8, 1972,  when his family’s parish, the Kimisis of the Theotokos (Assumption of the Virgin Mary) was first consecrated. On May 7, 2022, when the new, Byzantine-style church was consecrated with the relics of Sts. Haralambos, Panteleimon, and Barbara, by Archbishop Elpidophoros, he was its proistamenos, wearing the vestments of Fr. John Argyros, who served at the consecration of the first church building, to honor him. 

His Grace Apostolos of Medea, speaking at vespers Friday, May 6, when the relics were first brought to the altar, explained that the tradition of depositing the martyrs’ relics inside the altar was established from the first years of Christianity. He connected the words in the hymns that expressed the Apostle Thomas’ faith to the faith shown by the early martyrs and called upon his fellow Christians to consider how those who believed in and worshiped Christ’s Resurrection martyred for Him. 

“Millions of people became the food of lions in Rome and other cities of the Roman empire. They didn’t hesitate to express their belief: ‘I am a Christian. I believe in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ…, the only true God, the one who came to save man.’ And it isn’t only one, or two, or three, or ten. It is…the martyrs, who gave their soul and their body to the Body of the Church. And upon that Body of the Church, which is the martyric blood of all of those holy people, we perform the holy sacraments of the Church, the greatest one being…the Divine Liturgy where we commune the pure sacrament of the Savior Christ.”

His Grace congratulated Fr. Lou and Fr. Demetrios (Jim) Kalogridis, the latter who would be honored the following night at the consecration dinner banquet, and thanked area clergy who were in attendance.

On Saturday, along with all the rituals contained in the Service of the Consecration of a Church,* the martyrs’ relics were deposited into the altar table; and Archbishop Elpidophoros, accompanied by Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos and Bishop Apostolos of Medea, applied Holy Chrism to the church icons, including a scene of St. Haralambos’ life.

In his remarks to the faithful, His Eminence noted the appropriateness of celebrating the consecration during the Paschal season.

He emphasized and translated the words in Greek in the dome: “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Those who believe in me, even if they die, they shall live. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me shall never ever die. Do you believe in this?”

“…Indeed, on this day of the consecration of your church, where we bury the bones, the relics of martyrs inside the holy table much as the Lord was buried in the grave of the rich man in the garden, the Lord asks each…of us, ‘Do you believe this?… Do you believe that life is worth living not only for the experience of this world but as a preparation for the next? If so, then this consecration today must be much more for you than the anointing of the holy table…and all the other liturgical actions we performed….” He called on the stewards of the church to make the consecration that of their families, their goods, their careers, their lives, their hearts, their “faith in the Risen One,” their “eternal souls to the truth uttered by our Lord: ‘Everyone who lives in me and believes in me shall never die.’” 

“When the Holy King Solomon, a direct ancestor of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, finally completed the building of the temple in Jerusalem, he stood before [it] and uttered the following words: ‘But will God in very deed dwell with man on Earth? Behold heaven and the heaven of heavens, these cannot contain you. How much less this house which I have built?’

“Here we stand today and ask ourselves the very same question; but unlike the wisest of the wise, the Prophet King Solomon, we already know the answer. God chose to dwell in the womb of the Virgin; God chose to live among humankind; God even chose to ascend the Cross in flesh that he might redeem us from our sins. And God willed to rise from the dead to grant us eternal life. And now in this house of prayer…, God will forever be present, present with you as you are present with Him.

Fr. Lou expressed his appreciation to the hierarchs and clergy who had gathered for the Consecration, as well as to His Eminence for placing him in the parish of his youth. In addition, he acknowledged the humility, patience, and hard work of Parish Council President Manolis Lilimpakis as well as the efforts of all those who participated in organizing the consecration.