New Iconostasis for Holy Apostles Mission Station in Chilliwack, BC

June 8, 2016

The Holy Apostles Mission Station in Chilliwack, BC, was very pleased and humbled recently to welcome the main structure of its iconostasis, which was installed May 27, 2016. Built from solid beech wood by Saskatoon Orthodox craftsman and carver Tony Machnee, the iconostasis will later be adorned with iconography. The Royal Doors and Deacons' Doors of the iconostasis will be completed at a later time. A second-generation iconostasis builder, Tony's father, Ben Machnee, has completed extensive programs of Church wood-work across North America, including at St Herman of Alaska Sobor in Edmonton, and Christ the Saviour Church in Chicago, Illinois, among many others.

Fr Matthew Francis, priest-in-charge of the mission station, expressed his gratitude for the support of the Archdiocese of Canada, which is committed to assisting mission parishes. "We are truly grateful for the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Irénée, and to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, across Canada. Without this support, we would not have been able to begin this undertaking."

The Archdiocese commits a portion of its annual budget to assisting local mssions, which are proclaiming the Orthodox faith from Coast to Coast. The Holy Apostles Mission Station was established in Chilliwack in 2014, and now numbers 12-15 households. "It is an essential commitment for us a Mission community to begin to give first to the Archdiocese," said Fr Matthew. "By giving 10% of every gift that comes to the mission immediately to the Archdiocese, we know that Orthodox Mission across Canada would be advanced and encouraged. The Gospel will go out into the ends of the earth! Now, in turn, by God's mercy, we ourselves have received some of that help here in Chilliwack and we are very grateful!"

The mission station's iconostasis, simple and understated in its design - to emphasize the eventual icons it will hold - also features carved spiral columns, and selected decorative carvings, which draw the attention towards the sanctuary and the holy table. Relief carvings, all done by hand, of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross, as well as Grape Leaf, Wheat Shaft, and Acanthus motifs complete the decoration. Currently, the Holy Apostles Mission Station rents an older church building in the community.

Said Fr. Matthew,"As God blesses, when we are able to build an Orthodox Church in Chilliwack - for the glory of the Lord - this iconostasis can easily be moved to come with us." He sees this also as a powerful witness to the community. "While there are many other believers in Christ in Chilliwack, not many have an awareness or knowledge of the Orthodox faith - which truly and bears witness to the Lord. We have a responsibility to show people the truth and beauty of our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ. When people enter an Orthodox Church, regardless of its simplicity or humility, they should immediately have the sense that they are in a unique and holy place. The presence of the iconostasis - is one of the most powerful signs of that sacredness. In this way, our prayer is that people would be able - in our humble and newly established mission to glimpse the beauty of the eternal Kingdom of God, and be drawn with reverent adoration towards Christ. We hope, most of all, that our own minds, hearts, and lives, would be purified and transformed, so that they might become good, true, pure, and lovely."

Please keep the Holy Apostles Mission Station in your prayers, as they seek to reflect the love of the Holy Trinity in the heart of BC's Fraser Valley.