On Thursday, November 24, 2016, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales attended the consecration of the St. Thomas Cathedral Syrian Orthodox Church in Acton, London.
According to the Anglican Communion News Service the church is:
“…Britain’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral. The Prince of Wales was the guest of honor at the service, which was attended by a number of senior Anglicans from the Church of England, including the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres; the Bishop at Lambeth, Nigel Stock; and the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Jonathan Goodall, the former ecumenical secretary at Lambeth Palace.
The new cathedral of St Thomas is the former Saint Saviour’s Church in Acton, west London – formerly a chapel for deaf Christians operated by the Royal Association for the Deaf.”
During yesterday’s event The Prince of Wales gave a speech stating:
“Your Holiness, Your Grace Archbishop Athanasius,
Clergy and faithful of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom
It gives me great happiness to be present at the consecration of the Cathedral of St. Thomas. It is surely deeply encouraging, at a time when the members of the Syriac Orthodox Church in their homelands of Syria and Iraq are undergoing such desperate trials and such appalling suffering, that in Britain the Syriac Church is able to expand and gain in strength. In this way the consecration of your Cathedral is indeed a notable sign of hope for the future.
In many ways, every consecration of a Christian church recalls the consecration of King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. There, in the book of Kings, it is said that, when the Arc of the Covenant was brought into the temple, “the Glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord”. I can only pray that the divine glory may likewise fill this newly consecrated house of God.
While rejoicing in the beauty of this place of worship, at the same time it is perhaps worth remembering that the highest and ultimate temple of God is the human person. As St. Paul says to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple?” (I Cor. 3:16). The Church of God exists not only in visible buildings such as the present, but also more profoundly in the invisible building formed from the living stones of the faithful. So, as we consecrate this visible temple, let us also, each one of us, rededicate to our Lord the inner temple that is our own true self.
May the congregation of this Cathedral, and all the members of the Syriac Orthodox Church, wherever they may be, be blessed with the kind of courage and faith that can ultimately transcend the unbearable misery and anguish that have been so cruelly inflicted upon you, your loved ones and your brethren.”