Title: Consecration Series 2: The Service of Consecration
Age: 4 - 10 years
Liturgical Time: Any
Subject: The Service of Consecration, and comparison to baptism and chrismation
Direct Aims: To describe and explain the mechanics and meaning of the Service of Consecration, drawing parallels to the service of Baptism and Chrismation. If possible, invite children to ﬁll out a list of names for inclusion in the altar (we need ﬁrst/baptismal and last name, and it is not necessary that the person be baptized Orthodox.). With younger groups, the emphasis should be on acting out the service, while for older students we should emphasize the meaning and symbolism of the service and its prayers.
Service of the Consecration (text)
Form to submit names for the scroll (“Readings” handout); print one for each student
Small box to use as a reliquary
Table that can be oiled and washed with water
One or two white sheets
When you were a baby, you were baptized and Chrismated. What did that look like? What did it mean?
When we build a church, it has to be baptized too! We call it ‘consecration’. Just as baptism means that a person is dedicated to God, the church will be dedicated to God at its consecration.
Quickly recap the Baptism and Chrismation services, remembering the beautiful candle we carry, and how Father blesses the water, how the baby goes into the water three times, how the baby is Chrismated with oil, how the baby is dressed all in white, and how we walk three times around the altar.
It’s time to declare the classroom a church, and decide where the altar is, and to declare one person to act as the Metropolitan. The teacher should provide some props: a little box that could pass for a reliquary, a table that can be oiled and then washed down with water, and one or two white sheets. One is to put over the Metropolitan at the appropriate moment, and the other is to become the baptismal garment that covers the altar. Note: If you plan this for a day when the weather is lovely, you could take this project outside; a picnic table can be the altar.
We’ll go through the steps of the consecration, and let the kids act them out while the teacher tells them the meaning behind each part.
The Night Before: The Vigil before the Consecration
- The evening before the Consecration, we will clear oﬀ the altar and wait for the Metropolitan.
- He will come and bring the relics of our three martyrs — the same ones we learned about last week. Do you remember who they are and how holy their relics are?
- He will place them on the altar, and say prayers.
- They’ll sit on the altar overnight, with a nice candle next to them.
The Day of the Consecration: The Service of the Consecration
- The Metropolitan will come and say prayers, and cense the relics of the Holy Martyrs.
- He will pick them up and carry them in a process with everyone in it.
- We will circle the Church three times, which is like drawing a big circle around the Church and saying: everything is this circle is set apart for God!
- The Metropolitan will knock loudly on the door of the Church and say, “Open the Holy Gates for the King of Glory to enter!” A voice will ask, “Who is this King of Glory?” The Metropolitan will answer: “The Lord of the Powers! He is the King of Glory!” Do you remember this from Pascha? We’ve done it before! Who do you think the King of Glory is? It’s Jesus! Is He coming inside with us? He is always with us, so He was processing with us too.
- We will all go inside the Church, and the Metropolitan will take the relics up to the Altar. We’ll have a little hole in the altar, and we’ll put the relics in it.
- Father will give him a long list of names. All of us can put names on the list, of the people we love, both living and dead. We will pray for them, and they will be sealed up in the altar right there with the Holy Relics because they are so special to us!
- The Metropolitan will cover the hole with a little board, and seal it up with wax that has been mixed with myrrh. Remember how when Jesus was put in the tomb, the people brought myrrh? This is like a little tomb for the Martyrs and it is sealed up with myrrh and wax.
- Now they put a white sheet over the Metropolitan’s robes, just like a priest in a baptism sometimes does.
- They bring soap and a basin of water. The Metropolitan says prayers over the water that the Holy Spirit will come into it. Now it’s Holy Water! They wash the altar.
- Now they take beautiful-smelling rose water, and pour it over the altar in the form of a cross three times. It is like when we put the baby in the water three times at Baptism!
- Now the Metropolitan takes oil and pours a cross over the altar and says “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!” He does this three times. This is the altar’s Chrismation.
- They wipe the table clean, and glue the icons of the four gospel writers on: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
- Now they give the altar a beautiful new white garment, like at baptism. They drape it in a clean, white tablecloth.
- Now the Metropolitan censes the altar, and then the whole church.
- Then he takes a stick with a sponge at the tip, and dips it in chrism and chrismates the Church! He will paint the oil in the front of the Church, and on four pillars around the corners of the Church.
- Then the Metropolitan brings the Vigil Lamp out of the Altar and into the Church, where the people will oﬀer oil to ﬁll it, so that the light of Christ will burn in our altar forever.
- Now the Consecration Service is ﬁnished, and we begin the Divine Liturgy.
To ﬁnish up, you might recap the elements of Baptism and Chrismation that match up to elements of the Consecration:
Circle the table three times Circle the church three times
Holy Water Holy Water
Dipped three times Poured three times
Oil for Chrism Oil for Chrism
Painting crosses on all parts of body Painting crosses on all parts of church
Priest covered in white sheet Metropolitan covered in white sheet
Person wears white garment Altar wears white tablecloth
Carry the lit candle Bring out the lit vigil lamp;
Now you are set aside for God Now you are set aside for God
If time permits and if students have been able to follow along, allow them to write names on the form, and collect them for submission for the Scroll.
Prepared by Elissa Bjeletich 2016