AUCKLAND, New Zealand: St Dionysius Indian Orthodox Church (SDIOC), the first Indian Orthodox Church, for the faithful of Auckland was consecrated on February 13, 14, 2015. Named after Saint Dionysius of Vattasseril (1858-1934), who was the Malankara Metropolitan (primate) of the Indian Orthodox Church, Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysius was also popularly known as ‘The Great Luminary’ a title which the Church bestowed on him in recognition of his contribution to Malankara Church. The new church brings together people with common interest for the community’s benefit and for the New Zealand society.
A large number of faithful attended the two-day consecration services and the public function that followed with attendance from Fr Bishoy Mekhaiel of St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church and Assyrian Fr Aprem Pithyou of the Ancient Church of the East in Strathmore, Wellington. Faithful from the Oriental Orthodox churches of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Syria also attended.
St Dionysius Indian Orthodox Church under Madras Diocese was consecrated from the blessed hands of three Bishops led by Metropolitans Dr.Yakoob Mar Irenios from Kochi Diocese, Dr. Yuhanon Mar Dioscoros from Chennai Diocese and Yuhanon Mar Polycarpos from Angamaly Diocese.
For Vicar Fr Biju Mathai Pulickal the consecration was a dream come true for the church who requested the prayerful presence of the faithful in large numbers during the occasion.
The ceremony also saw participation of a large number of clergy who were involved with the church during its earlier days.
They included Philip Thomas Cor Episcpa, Vicar, St Mary’s Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur, former Vicar Fr Shinu K Thomas, Vicar, St Mary’s Cathedral, Melbourne, Fr Thomas Varghese, Vicar, St Thomas Cathedral, Sydney, former Vicar of Auckland Church and present Vicar of St Gregorios Church, Mathikere, Bengaluru, Fr Varghese P Idichandy.
The consecration service was done in two parts on February 13 and 14. On the first day a reception was held for the three visiting Metropolitans followed by morning prayers and Holy Eucharist on the second day which culminated in a public meeting to mark the occasion.
Fr Biju Mathai, Vicar, says the “building stands as an ever-present image of the Church, where the Holy Trinity is worshiped in spirit and truth. It is a holy space to gather and hear the word of God, to offer intercession, praise, happiness and pains of their daily lives, and to celebrate the sacraments through which we are nourished and strengthened as God’s people.”
The Vicar notes that the events mark a lifetime achievement moment for the faithful which will be cherished through generations.
For the history, the office bearers and various committees who worked for building the new church include Fr Biju Mathew, Vicar, E M Jacob, Trustee, Oommen Philip, Secretary, John Varghese, Building Committee General Convener and Philip Ayyamplackal, Consecration Committee General Convener.
Mementoes were presented to Fr Bishoy Mekhaiel, Assyrian Fr Aprem Pithyou, Bishop Randerson, New Zealand member of Labour Party, Philip Stoner Twyford, Mother Wendy, representative of Eritrean Orthodox Church, Philip Kuruvilla from Marthoma Church, Baby Kuriakose from St Peter’s SJOCC and to the builder, Thomas Philip by the Metropolitans’ Mar Irenios, Mar Dioscoros and Mar Polycarpos.
Orthodox clergymen Philip Thomas Cor Episcopa, Fr Biju Mathai Fr V P Indichandy, were also presented mementoes and also to K N Varghese, Saji Pappen. The church committee also brought out a colourful souvenir to mark the occasion.
The address of the new church is: 55 Keeling Road, Henderson, Auckland, New Zealand. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +09-9485215 Mobile: +027 5814215, 021-0535882