"O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Who art the true God and the Brightness and Image of the unoriginate Father, and the Life Everlasting; and art the Cornerstone hewn without the aid of seed of man from the Virgin Mountain; as also the Foundation immovable of Thy Church; Who also, through the shedding of Thy precious blood, hast founded Thy Church, and hast raised it up by Thy death, and perfected it by Thy Resurrection and blessed it by Thine Ascension, and hast sanctified and enlarged it by the descent of Thy Holy Spirit: Unto Thee do we now humbly pray: Send down the grace of Thy Holy Spirit, and bless all aspects of our labor to erect a holy temple to the glory of Thine all-holy Name and in honor and memory of Thy holy, glorious and all-laudable Apostle Andrew, the First-called. Preserve this parish in Thy peace, which is beyond human comprehension. Be Thou, who art the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, Who from eternity hast created all things, the Beginning, the Increase, and the Completion of our work; bless our congregation, parish council and building committee, architects, engineers, contractors, laborers, artisans and all who work for the establishment of Thy temple and the furtherance of Holy Orthodoxy in our community. Prosper Thou the work of their hands, and by Thy divine providence abundantly multiply all things necessary for the building and completion of Thy holy temple: that it may be perfect and filled with Thy glory, and that in it may be glorified Thy great and all-holy Name, together with that of Thy Father and Thine all-holy Spirit, always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.”
Reflections on the Building and Consecration of the St. Andrew Church Temple, Riverside, Ca.
The house of God is a holy place, the place of the special dwelling of the Almighty, the place upon which God’s eyes are fixed continually and His ears are open constantly to the prayers and humble supplications of His faithful people. Each consecrated church temple is a literal beacon and beachhead of the Kingdom of God in this fallen world. The people of God are His temple and dwelling place, as is the church temple itself. Hence the church temple is the true atmosphere and milieu for the gathering of God’s people, our true home while on earth, and the place par excellence for the administration of the holy mysteries.
It is the height of blessing and an extreme honor to be a member of a parish that accepts and fulfils the responsibility to construct and consecrate a holy temple for the glory of the All-Holy Trinity. Those who participate have their names inscribed onto a commemorative roster, along with the names of the departed founders of the parish, which is then placed within the holy table itself by the bishop in the Service of Divine Consecration of a Church Temple. From that moment onwards, these sacrificial individuals are commemorated in every divine service as the “blessed and ever-memorable founders of this holy church” until the second and glorious coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ. Such is the honor and prerogative of those who found, build and consecrate holy temples.
St. Andrew Church in Riverside, California has come to this moment in its own history. St. Andrew was founded as a mission of the Antiochian Archdiocese in November of 1992 after several years of preparatory labor. The mission began meeting in a conference room at a local university, then rented storefront facilities, then moved to two warehouses in an industrial park. In 1999 two pristine acres adjacent to the University of California, Riverside (UCR) were purchased by the congregation and church campus designs began immediately, and a three-phase project was unanimously approved by the City of Riverside planning commission and city council.
On August 25th, 2002, the first divine services were held in the St. Andrew Fellowship Hall. This 7,500 square foot hall would serve as the church, educational center, social hall, and administrative center for the church for the next 9 years. In 2004 St. Andrew was able to purchase an additional 3 acre parcel adjacent to the original property, and to greatly expand the architectural footprint and layout of the church campus. Plans began immediately for the design of a magnificent and traditional Orthodox church temple.