Romanian Metropolitan Nicolae of the Americas dedicates a wooden church in Long Valley, New Jersey
On Sunday, Metropolitan Nicolae of the Americas dedicated the “Life-Giving Spring” Church in Long Valley, New Jersey.
The wooden church, built by parish priest Ionuț Voicu in a style specific to the northern Romanian region of Maramureș, marks the centenary of the Great Union of all Romanians into one state. The event was attended by Bishop Iustin of Maramureș and Sătmar and Bishop Ioan Casian from Canada.
The consecration service was preceded by the Blessing of the Waters, celebrated outside the place of worship, and the Divine Liturgy.
The three hierarchs were joined by Father Daniel Ene, Dean of New York, New England and the Eastern United States, Protosyncellus Ieremia Berbec, Abbot of Middletown Monastery in New York State, Archimandrite Casian Filip, social-philanthropic counselor of Maramureș and the diocese of Sătmar in Romania, Fr. Ioan Socolan, Dean of Sătmar, Fr. Gabriel Gorgan of Satu Mare, Romania, Archd. Teodosie Bud, Economic Counselor of the Diocese of Maramureș, Archd. Nifon Motogna, administrator of the Cathedral of Baia Mare in the Romanian county of Maramureș. Dan-Andrei Muraru, Romanian Ambassador to the United States, participated in the inauguration of the church.
“God does not force anyone to believe. Here we realize that Jesus Christ only shows himself to those who loved and cherished him during his earthly activity,” Bishop Iustin of Maramureș and Sătmar explained in his homily after the proclamation of the Gospel.
“For this reason He shows Himself to the disciples in the Upper Room, entering through the locked doors and accepting a ‘check-in’ from Thomas. Why? Because the Savior’s resurrection from the dead required additional witness from the apostles.
At the end, Metropolitan Nicolae briefly explained the meaning of the service of consecration:
“It is the baptism of a church as a place containing all the baptized, who come together in the name of Christ, of the Most Holy Trinity, in order to bring thanksgiving and bloodless sacrifice in celebrating the Divine Liturgy. The names of the founders and benefactors placed inside the foot of the Table of the Holy Altar share the sanctity of the holy relics of the martyrs,” Bishop Iustin said.
“In the Church we work out our salvation, which we hope to precede even in this earthly life, by the flow of God’s blessing. This church built in Maramureş style will be a visiting card of the Orthodox faith,” the hierarch added.
The Romanian Metropolitan presented the parish of Long Valley with an icon of the life-giving source of the Mother of God and a cross of blessing.
On behalf of Patriarch Daniel of Romania, Metropolitan Nicolae awarded the “Patriarchal Cross” for the Clergy, the highest honor of the Romanian Patriarchate, to Father Ionuț Voicu.
His Eminence also offered the “American Metropolitan Cross” for the laity to three ladies of the parish community: Daniela V., Delia Cotigă and Costina Maria Nițulescu, president of the parish council.
Bishop Iustin presented Father Ionuț Voicu with the highest honor of the Diocese of Maramureș and Sătmar: “The Voivodal Cross of Maramureș”.
The bishop granted two other distinctions. New York-based Romanian physician Radu Crăciun received the Order of St. Joseph the Confessor and Bogdan Crintea received the Order of Archbishop Justinian.
Dr. Radu Crăciun and his family, Romanian residents of New York, donated the bell for the new church. An inscription on the bell reads: “We, children of the Romanian nation all over the world, have the same origins, the same nature and a single united language and culture”.
Work on the wooden Romanian Life-Giving Spring Church in Long Valley began in 2018, the year marking the centenary of the Greater Union of Romania. The church was built in the specific architectural style of wooden churches in the northern Romanian region of Maramureș.
The church is 32 meters high, 13 meters wide and 30 meters long. It was built by Father Ionuț Voicu with the help of devotees and benefactors and with the advice of Father Teodor Bârsan, son of traditional sculptor Toader Bârsan from Bârsana, Maramureș County, Romania.
Life-Giving Spring Parish was established in 2011 and has been operating since 2016 at Long Valley, 132 California Rd., New Jersey 07853.