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A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at the consecration of the Cathedral of St Thomas Syriac Orthodox Church, Acton, London

Published on 24th November 2016

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.