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Dedicatio ecclesiæ abbatialis

12 October

On 12 October, we celebrate the anniversary of the dedication of our abbatial church.

Just as each Christian is consecrated by the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation and the eucharist), so too each church is consecrated by a special rite, the dedication, which makes of it a sacred space for the encounter between God and men. The dedication of a church is comprised of several rites.

The bishop first asperges the walls and the altar. Then the relics of saints are embedded in the altar, signifying thereby the union of the mystical Body of Christ. The bishop then pronounces the great prayer of consecration, followed by the anointing with holy oil of the five crosses on the altar, as well as the altar itself, as well as the twelve crosses on the walls of the church. Insense is then burned on the altar as a sign of the prayer that will henceforth rise up from this place. Lastly, the eucharist is celebrated, for it is this sacrament that truly makes the church a hallowed place devoted to the divine cult.

The dedication of our abbatial church took place on 12 October, probably in 1010, more than 1000 years ago. Each year, we celebrate with solemnity this anniversary on this date and we decorate our church with care and taste so as to convey the festive character of the day. A lit candle is placed before each of the twelve crosses of consecration on the walls of the nave, and under it we hang a garland of autumn Virginia creeper leaves.

The liturgy of the anniversary of the dedication of a church celebrates the presence of God amongst men, using certain biblical themes concerning the Temple of Jerusalem as well as the images of the dream of Jacob (Gn 28, 18-19). The liturgy proposes the image of the physical church built in stone as a springboard to lift our eyes to the Church comprised of us, its living stones, a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem towards which we are making our way. This is the theme of the Gregorian hymn, Urbs Ierusalem, which you may listen to below.

Urbs Jerusalem beata
Dicta pacis visio
Que construitur in cælis
Vivis ex lapidibus
Et Angelis coronata
Ut sponsata comite.

Nova veniens e cælo
Nuptiali thalamo
Preparata ut intacta
Copuletur Domino.
Platæ et muri ejus
Ex auro purissimo.

Portæ nitent margaritis
Adytis patentibus,
Et virtute meritorum
Illuc introducitur
Omnis qui ob Christi nomen
Hic in mundo premitur.

Tonsionibus, pressuris
Expoliti lapides
Suis coaptantur locis
Per manum artificis ;
Disponuntur permansuri
Sacris aedificiis.

Gloria et honor Deo
usquequaque altissimo,
una Patri Filioque
Atque Sancto Flamini,
Quibus laudes et potestas
Per æterna sæcula

Blessed city, Jerusalem,
named vision d of peace,
she is built in heaven
with living stones,
and is crowned with angels,
a bride with her retinue.

Young, she comes from heaven
to the nuptial bed
prepared and pure
one with the Lord.
Her courts and walls
are of the finest gold

Her doors shine with pearls
wide open before the sanctuary ;
her virtues and merits
lead her in,
all who in the name of Christ
have suffered in this world.

Carved and chiselled,
the polished stones
are ajusted into place
by the hand of the artisan.
He disposes them permanently
in the sacred edifice.

Glory and honor to God
the highest forever,
to the Father and the Son,
and the divine Spirit.
To them praise and power
for the eternal centuries.