St. Elizabeth, a parish church of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese for 15 years in Woodstock, will be consecrated by Bishop Gregory of Nyssa, ruling hierarch of the diocese at the service.
The Service of Consecration begins at 9 a.m. with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy following. The church is at 2263 E. Cherokee Drive near the intersection with Tripp Road.
In 2010, the mission purchased the nine acres on East Cherokee Drive. The property included a home which has become the priest’s residence and a 9,000-square-foot building that included a garage/warehouse.
The garage/warehouse has been redesigned into the church, church leaders said. The remainder of the building will be an educational and social center, with the second floor the future priest residence.
St. Elizabeth has met in many different locations such as the priest’s home, a bank lobby, a local tavern, Jimmy’s On the Square in Marietta, the Chapel of Peace at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Marietta, and, most recently, in the chapel of the Woodstock Funeral Home on Main Street in Woodstock.
The Mission has been served in the past by Father John Zboyovski, Father Robert Prepelka and Father Paul Stoll.
The priest now serving is Father Frederick Watson, who also serves as the chair of the Diocesan Stewardship Commission, and has been priest/administrator at St. Elizabeth’s for five years.
“(The new church) is a jewel among churches in North Georgia,” Watson said.
Church members agree that the new church is much anticipated.
“We are so excited. God has blessed us so greatly. It is wonderful to be in our own house of worship after wandering around to so many locations for so long,” said David Novak, who has been a part of St. Elizabeth since its beginning.
A golden dome, manufactured by Figula and Daughters of Glen Hope, Pa., adorns the peak of the roof at the entrance to the church. Much of the inside work was done by parish members and local contractors.
An iconographer has been consulting with the church to plan the inside finish of the church officials said.
St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church is the only church to serve a large geographic area from Woodstock north to the North Carolina/Tennessee border and west to the Alabama border.
St. Elizabeth is affiliated with the Saints Cyril and Methodios Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood, made up of Orthodox priests and deacons in the greater Atlanta area who meet together monthly. The Brotherhood supports the work of Orthodox churches in outreach including a food and assistance program at St. John the Wonderworker near downtown Atlanta in prison ministry and in regular joint Vespers among the churches during Great Lent.
The St. Elizabeth Outreach Committee has been seeking ways to serve the Orthodox community in Rome as a result of work with Berry College in Rome.
An effort has been under way at Berry to form an Orthodox Christian Fellowship chapter for Orthodox students attending there.
Consecration is the most important event in the life of a parish church, Fr. Watson said.
Considered a holy mystery or sacrament, consecration of a church in Orthodoxy is the setting aside of both the church building and the land it sits on to the glory of God and the benefit of the community, he said.
Following the consecration of St. Elizabeth Church, a festive banquet will be celebrated.