UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
New Altar Consecrated in Goshen, IN!
By Rev. Deacon James Stickel
Pentecost weekend had a bittersweet feeling to it at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Goshen, Indiana this year. With the funeral of the beloved Metropolitan Constantine fresh in everyone’s minds, His Grace, Bishop Daniel came to visit Goshen for the special occasion of consecrating a new altar for the parish feast day. One year ago, Holy Trinity parish had remodeled its sanctuary in honor of the parish’s 50th anniversary.
The parish’s resident woodcraft artist, Mr. William (Bill) Novachenko, volunteered a labor of love to construct a new altar in the traditional orthodox fashion. He built a cubiform table with a reliquary inside for a saint’s relics to be placed. Even knowing that the “table” would forever be covered in vestments, Bill could not bring himself to donate such a plain table. Instead, he added extensive ornamentation: leaves, grapes, crosses, and a crown. The result was a “table” that, if it were to stand alone, would be a “table” of beauty.
His Grace Bishop Daniel and seminarian Subdeacon Vasyl Dovgan arrived for Great Vespers on Friday, June 1. During the Vespers, the relics of St. Barbara the Great-Martyr were placed in front of the icon of Christ at the Iconostas. All the hymns were chanted for the founding of a church and for Pentecost.
The next day, the consecration service began with His Grace Bishop Daniel, parish priest Rev. Silouan Rolando, Rev. Matthew Wade of St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox parish in Goshen, IN, Rev. Deacon James Stickel, and Rev. Deacon John Charest of Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox parish in Palos Park, Il. The clergy wore special white aprons as they Baptized and Chrismated the new altar. Pegs were pounded into the top with rocks, and the table and relics of Great-Martyr Barbara were sealed with a special mastic wax. The table was washed with rose water, and a white baptismal garment, which will stay on the table forever, was placed on top. A cord was tied in a cross-wise fashion around the table several times symbolizing Christ’s hands being tied before the high priests. The table was then covered with an outer garment and all the normal altar table sacramental items were placed on top.
Bishop Daniel then talked to the parishioners about the meaning of the consecration they had just witnessed and his desire that the newly baptized altar lead to a renewal for the parish congregation. He also commented on the perhaps Divine coincidence that the largest icon present in the church was that of Holy Great-Martyr Barbara, not realizing this before he brought her relics.
A Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, including a litany for the departed Metropolitan Constantine, was served; and a delicious meal prepared by the parish Sisterhood was consumed by the hungry faithful after the three hours of liturgical service. Mrs. Olga Stickel spoke in the hall on behalf of the parish, thanking His Grace for coming to visit, and especially thanking him for being a loving archpastor who always leaves his flock feeling at ease, no matter what situations arise. Vladyka Daniel again reiterated his wish that the new altar be a sort of springboard to parish growth at Holy Trinity.