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Consecration of the new Church of St. Tikhon and New Martyrs of Russia in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

18 May 2015

Consecration of the new Church of St. Tikhon and New Martyrs of Russia in
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

On May 2nd, 2015, through the Grace of God, the new Church of St. Tikhon and New Martyrs of Russia was consecrated in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. The service, Divine Liturgy and the All-Night Vigil the evening before were headed by His Eminence, the Most Reverend Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and all of Canada. Many guests and clergy attended these festive services from neighbouring parishes in the area. During the service, the rector of the parish father Evgeniy Shchukin was presented with the right to wear the kamilaukion, and the director of the choir, reader Alexander Oreshkin, was made subdeacon. The parish choir was enriched with voices of visiting choir members from the Holy Trinity Church in Toronto, which helped the choir to sing very festively and prayerfully during the services. The guest clergy included protopriest Vladimir Malchenko (Toronto), protopriest Vladimir Morin (London), protopriest Fyodor Ganchanin (Windson), priest Viatcheslav Davidenko (Toronto), priest Antoniy Filchak (Hamilton), protodeacon Vasiliy Milonow (Ottawa), protodeacon Alexander Morin (Toronto), deacon Dmitry Grigoriev (Calgary) and deacon Boris Bakhvalov (Toronto).

Archbishop Gabriel congratulated the parish with the fact that the Lord has granted them this Church building, and wished that the parish would grow and serve the Lord in love, peace and with humbleness. The same words were echoed by all other clergy who congratulated the parish following service.

After Divine Liturgy, the sisterhood of the parish, lead by head sister (and treasurer of the parish) Raisa Ratsen, organized a charity banquet dinner to raise funds for the church. There were over 210 people in attendance in the newly renovated dining hall of the church building. The students of the parish school, with their teachers Elena Suhak and others, brought more smiles for the guests with a small fairy tale performance, along with other children who performed at the banquet. In addition, the guests were treated to war-time songs by professional singer matushka Maria Bakhvalova, with Lika Entel accompanying her on the piano. Overall, the whole day felt as a festive, warm family event for the entire parish and guests.

For the parish and local community of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and surrounding area, the consecration of the new Church building is a very long-awaited event. The Russian-speaking Orthodox community in Kitchener and Waterloo has been in existence for over 14 years, and has had significant growth in the last 4 years – during which, the community has a local priest and regular Church services in the old building – a small rented office space. There is also a successful parish school for children with several subjects taught each week. It was obvious that the small rented space was not enough to fit the needs of the Church, sisterhood and parish school, and it is a story worth sharing as to how the new building was acquired.
The rector of the parish, father Evgeniy Shchukin, has been looking and applying for mortgages for various buildings for a number of years, but was declined from the banks each time. Eventually, a building that seemed to be perfect for the parish was found – an old Anglican church with a spacious room for the Church, large parish hall, stage, classrooms and parking. After a church and parish council meeting, it was decided to proceed to collect funds for a down payment, and an unprecedented fundraising effort helped gather a very large sum in a short amount of time. The sellers of the building agreed to the sale, but the bank refused the mortgage application once again. This all happened the night before the feast of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, and father Evgeniy was visiting the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. How wonderful are the Works of the Lord, and through the prayers of St. Nicholas, as the next day, the feastday of St. Nicholas, as father Evgeniy was leaving the monastery with heavy thoughts, he received a phone call from the agent at the bank – she said that she decided to resubmit the mortgage application when it was rejected, and miraculously, it was instantly approved! The news was received with great joy by the parish, and after a thanksgiving moleben, the parish began to prepare for the renovations and move to the new building.

There was very little time to prepare for the move – in one month, with the colossal help from volunteers from the parish, the main renovations were complete in the new Church space, the dining hall and classrooms. Below are some photographs that show the extent of the work that was made in such a short time.

The rector and parish of St. Tikhon and New Martyrs of Russia thank the Lord for the new Church building, and also Archbishop Gabriel for his prayers, support and visit for the Consecration of the new Church. The rector and parish also thank all visiting clergy and guests who came to share the joyous occasion with the parish, the sisterhood for their tireless work in organizing the charity banquet dinner, and all those who donated and helped with the renovations and preparations for this day.

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