The consecration of the temple in Oxford

11 July 1973
Theme: Church building   Place: Churches, religious bodies   Period: 1971-1975   Genre: Sermon

Short address after the consecration and the Liturgy.

I should like to say a few words before we part. The consecration of a holy church in the world we live in which so many have become estranged from God and alien to Christ is a great and significant event. God has become a pilgrim, is now on the roads. In many places in this world He has no longer a dwelling place that belongs to Him. There were times when whole nations dedicated themselves to God and to the Mother of God. It is no longer the case now. And we have here with our rare resources made not only a temple for the All Holy Trinity and the Mother of God but a place of refuge for God on earth. Here He has a home. Here He lives and we are His people. This place, small as it is, belongs to Him unreservedly, and nothing which is not of God has room in this place.

This place, this church has been dedicated at the same time to the All Holy Trinity [of God] and to the Mother of God. It is in fullness of theological recognition that the All Holy God our Lord has taken possession of this place, that the Mother of God is She who of all creation has been capable of answering God’s call wholeheartedly, with all herself and has in the name of the whole creation made the Incarnation of God possible. If only all of us here present, all those who will regularly or on occasion worship in this church could learn from the Mother of God to surrender perfectly, to give ourselves unreservedly to become like a field of rich earth capable of receiving the seed of eternal life.

And the last thing I wish to say. We have made here a unique precedent. The Mother Churches of Orthodoxy have renounced here their rights of possession. They have met in an act of mutual love; and love means laying down one’s life abandoning one’s rights, loving one another more than themselves. And this church has become, by the blessing which was done today by the multitude of Churches represented a panorthodox place of worship. All the Orthodox united in faith, united in worship, united in the wish, the will and the determination to be nothing but one Church of God, have now consecrated this church to be the place where God lives and the place where all the people of God are at home!

And before we part I wish to proclaim to all the heads of our beloved Mother Churches who are the ones in glory and the other ones bearing a heavy cross, for all those who have taken part in this consecration, for all those people who have made it possible by their gifts, their love, their greatness of heart, for all those of you here present, for all those whom we carry in love within our hearts — to sing Многая лета, which means “Many years of life”, but means also “Many years of faithful service to God and to His Church” to our neighbors whoever they may be.


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