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Prayer at beginning of book

1.) new section - letters from Metropolitan and Father pg 100-124

2.) Consecration media

3.) What we did during consecration

A Letter from Rev. Fr. Damaskinos Issa,

Beloved in Christ, 
A historic day in the life of St. Mary Parish is approaching in November 3rd. Over the last 59 years, this parish

has labored in love, faith, and confidence through many difficult times and many ups and downs to finally

come to the point where we have a church and a chapel where the name of the Lord and His Glory will be

The final result of our efforts has thus far surpassed what we dreamed possible when this parish launched

this sacred endeavor. 

The new church is established for the worship of the Lord, for the preaching of the Gospel and the sacred

administration of the holy mysteries, and for the cultivation of the Christian life of ourselves and our posterity.

We have offered the sacrifice needed to accomplish this task, and we have done so with our children and

grandchildren in mind, and with a deep concern for the salvation of our neighbors in and around our parish

in Maryland
The crown of our holy work of church building is the Divine Service of Consecration. This sacrament, performed

only by the Orthodox episcopate, is scheduled for Sunday, November 3rd, 2019. It is the culmination of our parish’s history thus far and will be the pinnacle of all our efforts for the last fifty-nine years.  
The consecration will also mark a serious transition in the life of our parish as we turn our attention from building the House of God, to investing our full resources into the propagation of Holy Orthodoxy and the multiplication of our ministries and service. 

The year 2019 and beyond will be years of establishing the new traditions and sacred rhythms of our parish life now that the foundation is properly laid. 

The Divine Service of Consecration for The Nativity of the Theotokos Temple is a Pentecostal event, an incursion into this fallen world of the Kingdom of God, a descent of the Holy Spirit to abide upon the church. Our beautiful church will become, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the descent of the glory of the Almighty, a beacon and beach-head on earth of heaven itself. Our church will become a sacred house, the house of the Lord, a sacred precinct, and a consecrated holy place. An angel of the Lord will guard the holy altar, and the grace and glory of the Lord will fill its interior. 

Here untold numbers of human persons will be united to the Lord Jesus Christ in baptism, will grow up into maturity in Christ and a serious holiness through active participation in authentic spiritual life, will embrace repentance and have their sins washed away through confession, will hear words of life preached, chanted and sung, will be crowned into one flesh in holy matrimony, will be healed of diseases of body and soul, and will be escorted to the heavens at the time of death. 

The founders of our church are all those who are members at the time of the consecration of the church temple. These founders will be blessed by future generations for their sacrifice and investment and will be commemorated in the divine services in the church until the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
“Again we pray for the blessed and ever-memorable founders of this holy church, and all our fathers and brethren, the Orthodox departed this life before us, who here and in all the world lies asleep in the Lord” (Ektenia in Vespers). 
We who consecrate the church are (and hope to be worthy of being) these “blessed and ever-memorable founders” commemorated for the time which is to come. 

Prior to the consecration itself, a list of the names of the founders will be formally written, so that at the time of the consecration the bishop can insert this list into the interior of the sacred altar where it will remain until the Lord comes again. 

I call upon every parishioner to press this most important day in the history of St. Mary Church into your heart and onto the pages of your calendar now, this very day if it has not already become a serious matter of planning and discussion in your home. Arrange to take time off of work for the services and festivities surrounding the consecration, and do the same as you can in order to work in preparation for these holy days.

Nothing is more important to us than the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Church, and nothing is more important in the life of a parish than the consecration of its church temple. It is the magnificent wedding of the church, and it will only happen for us once. Glory be to God. That we have been given this opportunity.

Rev. Fr. Damaskinos Issa

Saint Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church

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