Madison, IL faithful celebrate 50th Anniversary of the construction of their church
MADISON, IL [MW Diocese Communications] — His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest visited the Nativity of the Virgin Mary Church here on the weekend of May 2-3, 2015, marking the parish’s celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the construction and consecration of their current church building.
On Saturday evening, Bishop Paul, together with area clergy, celebrated Great Vespers. A tea honoring His Grace followed, during which a question-and-answer session was held. On Sunday morning, His Grace celebrated the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy with Priest Nicholas Finley, Rector; Archpriest Timothy Sawchak, Dean of the Kansas City Deanery; and visiting clergy. During the Liturgy, Father Nicholas was awarded a kamilavka and Ruth Tedesco, a member of the parish council at the time the church was constructed, was given a diocesan gramota.
The Nativity of the Virgin Mary Church was founded in 1900 by immigrants from Austria-Hungary, Galicia, Carpatho-Russia and Ukraine. The first church building, constructed in 1902, served the parish until the late 1950s, when significant growth necessitated the building of a larger church. In 1958, a building fund was established, while in the early 1960s, with the assignment of Heiromonk Theodosius [the now retired Metropolitan Theodosius] as Rector. On September 23, 1962, ground was broken and blessed by His Eminence, Archbishop John of Chicago and Minneapolis. The actual construction began on June 21, 1964. On September 20, 1964, Archbishop John returned to the parish to celebrate the Rite of Blessing and Laying of the cornerstone. On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 14, 1965, the parish faithful met in their old church for their last service there — a Service of Thanksgiving. As each parishioner came for the blessing, they were given an article to carry to the new church. After a prayer of blessing in front of the new church, the doors were unlocked and the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated. The altar table was consecrated on Sunday and the church was dedicated and anointed with Holy Chrism by Archbishop John on June 6, 1965. A holy relic of Saint John the Russian, the New Confessor, was placed in the new marble altar table. Seven years later — on September 23, 1972 — the mortgage burning ceremony was held to celebrate the final debt payment.
A photo gallery of the event can be viewed here.