November 13, 2023

A Church Founded by Saint Kallinikos of Edessa in 1973 is Consecrated in His Name

On Sunday, November 12, 2023, in Perikleia of Almopia, the first parish church of the Sacred Metropolis of Edessa, Pelli and Almopia dedicated to Saint Kallinikos of Edessa, who was a former Metropolitan of the region and reposed in 1984, was consecrated.

The consecration ceremony was conducted by two spiritual children of Saint Kallinikos, Metropolitan Joel of Edessa and Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos. The Divine Liturgy was presided over by Metropolitan Hierotheos, with Metropolitan Joel as his co-liturgist.

In his sermon, the Metropolitan of Nafpaktos expressed his gratitude to God for his participation in the consecration of this temple and thanked the Metropolitan of Edessa for the invitation.

Referring to the history of the construction of the church, he emphasized that it was founded in 1973 by Saint Kallinikos himself, then the shepherd of the Sacred Metropolis. An original thing - perhaps for all of Orthodoxy - that the founder himself has now been canonized and at the consecration, which takes place fifty years later, the temple he founded is dedicated to his name. He also added that Saint Kallinikos is the first hierarch of the Church of Greece, after 200 years, who is honored as a Saint of the Church. Saint Nektarios, who is especially beloved in our country and was active in it, canonically belongs to the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

Next, His Eminence referred to the personality of Saint Kallinikos, whom he knew closely for decades and ministered to for eight months during his terminal illness, emphasizing that the closer one got to him, the more they understood his holiness. One of the great joys that Saint Kallinikos had in his life was founding and consecrating sacred temples.

He said at the consecration of the temples that, when we build a sacred temple, it is like putting a lighthouse that illuminates the sea and people get strength from it in the struggle of their lives. He also referred to the consecration of the Temples of Solomon and Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and connected them together and at the end he added: "Now we have consecrated the sacred temple. The center of the sacred temple is the Holy Altar."

At this point, the speaking hierarch developed the patristic teaching on the connection of the three elements of the consecration of a church, namely the Holy Altar, the Sacred Relics and the consecrating Bishop, with the main pillars of spiritual life: Church Attendance and Divine Communion, the Saints of the Church and the Bishop, pointing out that without the recognition of these three factors there is no healthy spiritual life.

Finally, he emphasized that according to the prayer of Saint Kallistos, which is referred to during the consecration ceremony, as we celebrated the consecration of the temple, we must also celebrate our own consecration. Our body is a temple and our heart is a holy altar, which are consecrated with the Mysteries of Baptism and Chrismation. When we sin, we cover the grace of the Triune God who dwells in the depths of our hearts through His Mysteries. With repentance, however, we reveal again this secret hidden church, the spark that never goes out according to Saint Nikodemos. So we must constantly do the consecration, to renovate our own temple, our heart, in order to be members of the real Body of Christ and to enter the heavenly Divine Liturgy, the heavenly uncreated Church, the heavenly uncreated Temple.

May God find us worthy, he prayed, through the intercessions of our holy father Kallinikos, Metropolitan of Edessa, Pelle and Almopia, that we may be true members of the Church, of the Body of Christ.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence the Metropolitan of Edessa thanked the Metropolitan of Nafpaktos for his presence as well as all the contributors to the construction of the sacred temple.

He especially praised the old priest of the parish, Protopresbyter Ioannis Votsis and his presvytera, noting in fact that Saint Kallinikos was hosted many times and spent the night in their residence during his tours.





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