Syrians From All N. E. At Consecration

DEDICATED—Rt Rev. Antony Bashir, Metropolitan at New York, consecrated St. George’s Syrian Orthodox Church yesterday- At the right at the Metropolitan is Rev. Spiridon Dora, present pastor of the church, and at the left Io Rev. Elias Hamaty. former pastor. (Staff-Photo:. Surrette)

Syrians from all over New England attended the solemn high mass yesterday morning that marked the consecration of St. George’s Syrian Orthodox church. Rt Rev. Antony Bashir, Metropolitan of New York and highest-ranking prelate of the Orthodox Church in North America, officiated.

Assisting the Metropolitan was Rev. Father Spirion Dora, pastor of St Georges church, and Deacon Roy Carpenter of Lawrence. The acolytes were Halem Howard, Russell Howard, Ernest Mike and Marti George. The chanters were Elias Khoury. John Khalil, Gabour Monsour and George Peters of Boston. Mitri D Kamal of Lawrence, and Frank George. Andy Mitchell and George Michael of Worcester.

Following the consecration, a reception dinner was held for the Metropolitan in the church basement. Invited guests included Archimandrite Kyril A. Johnson of Lawrence, and Father Elias Hamaty of Boston. Syrians were present from Lawrence, Lowell, Salem, Boston, Manchester N.H., Providence R.I., Pawtucket R.I., Meridian, Ct., Brooklyn, N.Y., and Detroit.

Portrait Unveiled

During the reception, the Metropolitan unveiled a portrait of the late Joseph G. Howard, organizer and founder of the first Syrian church in Norwood. In his sermon, Metropolitan Antony reminded the congregation that the Mass was not only in the consecration of the church, now free, of all debts, but as a Thanksgiving Mass to God m appreciation of the liberties and freedoms the people of the United States enjoy.

Evil Is still a force in the world, the Metropolitan said, and called to witness the millions of enslaved peoples of Europe. Without referring to Hitler by name, the Metropolitan said a Monster was loose in Europe and the Near East bent on making serfs of countless millions. He must not succeed.

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Must Make Sacrifices

To end this threat of tyranny the Metropolitan added, the people of this country must dedicate all their strength, all their wealth and be ready to sacrifice life itself In the sacred cause of liberty of conscious, liberty of speech and freedom of worship.

The Metropolitan reported to the parish the action taken by the Council of Bishops, held recently in New York. It has been decided to build a seminary for the education of young men to the Orthodox priesthood. It will be the first seminary of its kind in the United States. Another move which the Metropolitan said was a step in progress for the church was the translation of the Orthodox liturgy, heretofore in Arabic, into the English language. This translation also affects church music, he said.

Lay Groups Lauded

Praise was heaped on the five major lay organizations, the Syrians Mens Club, the Womens Club, the Syrian Young Mens Club, the Girls Club, and the St. George Sunday School. To these organizations goes much of the credit for the building of the church and its maintenance, the Metropolitan concluded. Michael Swald presided as toastmaster during the reception.

The mortgage was presented to the Metropolitan by the pastor Fr. Spiridon Dora. Each member of the parish who donated toward the church fund was given a torn fragment of the document, as a memento of the occasion.
Honored guests were Frederick Howard, president of the Mens Club; Mrs. Zakie Shammas, president of the Womens Club; Charles Ellas, president of the Young Mens Club; Dorothy Deeb, president of the Girls Club and Mrs. Esther Deeb, superintendent of the Sunday School.

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Built In 1929

St. George’s church was built in 1929. It is of Byzantine architecture and is located on Atwood avenue in South Norwood Fire partially destroyed the edifice in 1932 and it was rebuilt the following year.

Under the canon laws, Orthodox churches cannot be consecrated while there is any financial encumbrance existing. Last week Fr. Dora told his parishioners the mortgage had been liquidated and the Metropolitan officiate at the consecration mass. The edifice cannot be used for any but religious purposes in the future. By special dispensation, the restriction is not n in effect for that section of the building set aside in the basement for the lay activities of the parish.