Messages delivered by His Holiness during the consecration of St. Thomas Syriac
- Messages delivered by His Holiness during the consecration of St. Thomas Syriac Orthodox Cathedral, London.
In the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, the one true God Amen.
Your Eminences our beloved Metropolitans, Very Rev. Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo and Associates of the Barnabas Fund, the Reverend Clergy, distinguished guests and our beloved spiritual children.
We may at first express our extreme happiness to be here with you all, at this solemn occasion of the consecration of this new church. The honourable government of this esteemed nation permitted us to build a church of our own here. Depending on the grace and mercy of God, when you all committed yourselves for this divine task of building a House of God, He heard your prayers and has made it a great success. And today is the day of the fulfilment of your efforts. Hence first of all, let us thank our Almighty Lord God for helping us to see our dream fulfilled. We personally thank God, for enabling us to see the loving faces of you all - our beloved spiritual children.
We all are now blessed through the consecration of this new house of our Lord.
It was the wish of the prophet and king David, to build a house for Yahweh. But that was not realized during his time. And only his son, Solomon got the grace to fulfil that mission. It is thus a providence of God, to be partakers in building a House for Him. Now you have got this good fortune to see such a dream fulfilled through your hands.
We would like to remind you that, as we consecrate this church, we ourselves also should be consecrated and are to become the dwelling places of God. St. Paul the Apostle says: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body "(I Corinthians 6:19, 20). We must mould ourselves and the paths of our lives, based on the pattern of our Lord Jesus, looking for the will of God in everything. And not it be based on the momentary and volatile luxuries and attractions of this world. As God is the God of mercy, we, the children also should bear the image of that heavenly Father and we also are to love others and be merciful with them. We should set our primary goal to work for the eternal life and to achieve the eternal treasures. May God remould our lives and let us go ahead with a new insight and mission, renewing ourselves every day.
May the prayers of St. Thomas - the patron saint of this church be with us and let us follow his dedication to our Lord Jesus. Our Syrian Orthodox Church ever esteemed the relics of saints as treasures and as divine sources of blessings. Dearly beloved, as you are aware, God enabled our humble self to find out the Holy Relics of the blessed Apostle Saint Thomas, during the time we were serving as the Metropolitan of Mosul in Iraq. This was an important finding and parts of it were then installed at our different churches all over the world. St. Thomas is the Patron Saint of this church and we were pleased to install a small part of it in this church as well. Thus this church has now achieved a special status and has become the house of that special treasure of blessings.
We thank the government of this esteemed country. The relationship of our church with the British rulers dates back to more than a century, when the late Patriarch Mor Ignatius Peter the Fourth, of blessed memory, visited Queen Victoria in the year 1875 and established a warm relation with the British Government. Also our relation with the Church of England, especially with the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Rowan William is a very cordial and pleasant one. We pray God for blessing this nation with peace and prosperity.
We congratulate and pray for the all, who supported and contributed for the construction of this church. We cannot but mention the name of the BARNABA FUND, without the help of which, this project would not have been so successful. Very Rev. Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, the Director of Barnabas Fund and all the members of the Barnaba Fund extend their invaluable help and support for our Syrian Orthodox Church, not only here, but in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and everywhere. We can never forget the various forms of help and support, being rendered by the Barnaba Fund to our church. Very Rev. Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo is a friend of us and of our church in General. Our gratefulness to him and to all the officials and supporters of the Barnaba Fund, and to Ms. Caroline Kerslake, its Director of Projects, are beyond words. We keep them all in our daily prayers.
Our faithful here, in cooperation with His Eminence Mor Athanasius Touma Dakkama, Metropolitan and our Patriarchal Vicar for the UK, worked day and night, to fulfil the completion of this church. His able leadership and his sincere efforts to build this beautiful church are praiseworthy. May God strengthen him for the further growth of our church here. All our faithful from the different countries, and dioceses extended their earnest support for this noble task. May God Almighty bless them all, and reward them from His heavenly treasure, by thirty, sixty and hundred folds.
Let us conclude. We have great pleasure in thanking all our beloved Metropolitans, Clergy and our distinguished guests, for their valuable participation in this consecration service and for gracing the occasion. We once again thank you and congratulate you all, especially, His Eminence Mor Athanasius Touma Metropolitan. The church managing committee and the other bodies and all our faithful here, deserve laud appreciation for all their dedication, support and care for all these arrangements. Also we thank you for inviting us, and for the warm reception accorded to us along with the delegates accompanied.
Now, as a token of our appreciation and thankfulness, we have great pleasure in honouring Very Rev. Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, the International Director of the Barnaba Fund, with a pectoral cross and chain. We honour the distinguished clergy of our church in this manner. Also the St. Ignatius Decoration of Commander is being conferred upon Very Rev. Dr. Patrick. We ask Very Rev. Dr. Patrick to come forward. By considering the sincere services and contributions to the construction of this church, we are now happy to decorate also the following honourable members of this parish with the Mor Aphrem's Decoration of Commander. They may now come forward.
May God Bless you all.