The altar breads for the blessing ceremony which took place during the Midnight Office.
The Holy Relics, with which the church was inaugurated, were covered and placed on the chalice and paten on the altar.
Churches are always inaugurated by a prelate, in this case Metropolitan Ioakeim of Elenoupolis, of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
The priest reading the Mattins Gospel.
Preparation of the material for the inauguration, that is the kiromastikha, which consists of pure wax, mastic, frankincense, aloe, incense, resin and ladanum (rock rose), which symbolize the myrrh with which Joseph of Arimathea anointed Christ’s body.
Ceremony of the Blessing of the Water, which, in accordance with kelliote tradition, took place during Mattins.
Choir of monks from the Monastery of Karakallou, whose sonorous, dulcet singing enhanced the occasion. A veritable feast of Athonite music.
On his knees, the metropolitan reading the inauguration prayer.
Exiting the church for the procession with the Holy Relics. They were carried three times round the kelli and during this time three Gospels were read.
Return to the interior of the kelli.
‘Lift up the gates’. The metropolitan’s triumphant entry into the church.
The metropolitan uncovering the Holy Relics, which were on the chalice and paten, in order to proceed with the inauguration.
After the relics had been placed in the hole in the altar, the hot kiromastikha was poured onto them.
The metropolitan sealed the hole.
With great reverence, the congregation followed the events inside the sanctuary.
The metropolitan washing and wiping down the altar.
Blessing the antimins at the newly-blessed altar.
Icons of the four Evangelists, printed on linen cloths, were placed on the four corners of the altar.
The altar was draped with the shroud, which will never be removed from it.
The metropolitan signing the inauguration of the church.
The metropolitan formed the monogram of Christ on the four sides of the church.
Reading the Epistle.
The Metropolitan of Elenoupolis reading the Gospel.
‘Come and receive the light’.
‘They parted my garments among themselves’ After being dipped in the kiromastikha, the alb worn by the metropolitan during the sanctification would be given to those present at the service, as a blessing.
Small entrance.
The metropolitan’s alb being cut into small pieces and dipped in the kiromastikha.
The blessed bread, soaked in red wine, ready to be distributed.
Great entrance.
‘With fear of God’.
Metropolitan Ioakeim, with Hieromonk Ignatios, the typikaris or monk in charge of the ceremonies, on his left, together with others who were present at the services, enjoying the refreshments provided with love and care by Hieromonk David, the renovator of the kelli of the Precious Cross.
The splendid choir of monks from Karakallou sang as the metropolitan blessed those present and the kelli itself.
As a token of his gratitude, Hieromonk David presented Metropolitan Ioakeim with a wooden icon of Our Most Holy Lady, the Mother of God, which he had made himself, wood-carving being one of the crafts practiced in the kelli.
The metropolitan also passed out the gifts from the inauguration.
Commemorative photographs were taken in front of the beautifully restored kelli.