Blessing of the Iconostas at Holy Eucharist Parish
March 11, 2015
“The new temple will be greater than the one before,” says the Lord All-Powerful. “And in this place I will give concord!” (Haggai 2: 9)
When we spend time considering all the challenges that seem to fill our lives, we may feel overwhelmed at times. The horrific situation in the Middle East and in Ukraine that sees more killed and wounded every day and more and more families and children visited with life-long suffering and loss. There are the strange and shocking social changes rapidly overtaking our own western society - the latest being yet another unthinkable proposal that, our healers – i.e. our doctors - should help us to take our own lives (as some took the lives of our babies in the last generation). We also wonder about the ever faster-paced world in which we seem forced to live. We observe in our time the decreasing numbers of young on one hand and the aging of the general population on the other (many of us now in that latter category). Yes, sometimes we wonder where to turn to once again to behold beauty… to find peace… to be raised up from our fears …and to experience a love that is selfless and unconditional. Well, today, the Lord grants us that grace. Today we gather in His Temple, in the House of God in the presence of the Lord with our Bishop and Priests and all our true brothers and sisters in Christ. We gather to give glory to God in our church which is truly more beautiful than ever. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit many parishioners have donated over the years to make our church a breathtaking place where we and our guests can worship. We have iconic frescoes of epic historic events on our walls. We are surrounded by the mystagogical kaleidoscope of many stained glass windows. Now, when we walk into our church we find our hearts skip a beat as we stand before the iconostas - this “gateway of glory” with its incredibly intricate carving and its bright and gentle icons. It is immediately evident that both the carver and the painter were men that dedicated their entire lives to their talents as they would to a holy vocation from the Lord. The Iconostas itself instantaneously raises our minds out of our daily troubles. The Iconostas, by the grace of the Lord - Who is truly present upon the Altar just beyond the Royal Doors - reminds us of the unseen mysteries of this life as well. We too set our hopes upon a promised life that is beyond this earthly existence. Since the iconostas has been erected, is there a time that we can enter our church and not have to stop and just have to give thanks to God for this unexpected gift!? We have been granted the grace of having one of the most beautiful churches in the city (perhaps it is a feigned humility that stops us from saying “the most..”). But we also take to heart the message of the Lord about what can be expected from those who have received a greater portion of ’talents’ (Matthew 25:19-21) and were entrusted with greater opportunity (Luke 12:48). But today we rightfully celebrate. Yes, this is truly a day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice in it and begin a new era in our parish!
Fr. Michael Kwiatkowski