The Holy Altar

There really is no more sacred place in an Orthodox Church than the Altar where the Liturgical Services are celebrated.  When a Church is built, the altar is consecrated by the bishop with holy oil and relics of the saints are placed in the center of the altar.

On the Holy table is found the book of the Gospels as well as a cross that is used for blessing the people.  At the back of the altar is the Tabernacle where the sacred body of our Lord is placed until it is needed to be brought to the sick.

The altar is so sacred that only the ordained clergy are allowed to touch it or to place or remove items from the altar.  This is not just a simple table but a very Holy and Sacred table.

At the Orthodox Cathedral of St. John in Eagle River Alaska the Holy Altar was set on fire recently.  This is a horrible act of vandalism that I am having a difficult time trying to grasp.  Perhaps it is related in some way to the sentence of the Punk Rock group in Russia or perhaps it is just another indication of the growing hatred toward traditional believing Christians.

Looking at the picture, posted at the top of the essay, it is clear that the person who did this knew exactly what they were doing.  Upon close examination it is clear that the Icons that adorn the Holy Gospel Book have been gouged out and the glass top has been broken.  An interesting item to notice is the red communion cloth is still intact with the outline of the blessing cross on it.

I pray for the person or persons who did this despicable act of hate and I pray for the community in Eagle River, Alaska that will have to deal with this hatred in their community.  My soul is greatly disturbed by this senseless action.


  1. Fr. Preble – This fire was set by a young man with known mental illness. He has been known to the Eagle River community for many years, and his burdens are many. Those at St. John Orthodox Cathedral pray for him and his family. The altar was used at Holy Liturgy this past Sunday, held in the basement auditorium due to the smoke and extinguisher residue. It is hoped that the burned areas can be trimmed off to save the altar. The relics were intact, praise Him! The Cathedral is being cleaned by a professional crew and should be serviceable soon. More information can be read at

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!