An Orthodox Christian Church service was celebrated in Enid Thursday evening, marking what some believe to be the first Orthodox service in the city’s history.
Father Matthew Floyd, mission priest to St. Nino Equal-to-the-Apostles Orthodox Church in Stillwater and assistant priest at St. Benedict Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City, came to Enid Thursday to perform two house blessings and to officiate Small Compline, a service of Scripture readings and prayers celebrated in the evening.
Floyd is familiar with the Enid community, having attended Phillips University for the first two years of his undergraduate education, in 1994-1996.
But, it was his parishioners from St. Nino in Stillwater that brought him to town Thursday. Floyd said three Enid households have been coming to services at St. Nino, and he wanted to come to Enid to bless their homes.
“We are called as Orthodox Christians to sanctify everything around us,” Floyd said, “and we spend a lot of time in our homes, so it’s a way to set aside our homes as a place to worship God.”
It is traditional for Orthodox Christians to have homes blessed on the Feast of Theophany, equivalent to the Western Church celebration of Epiphany in January. But, since the Enid homes had never been blessed, Floyd said it was appropriate to give them a “first house blessing,” as would be done for a new home.
Floyd performed a blessing at the home of James Roberson in the late afternoon, then went on to bless the home of David and Elizabeth Burrows Thursday evening.
In a written account of the evening provided to the News & Eagle, David Burrows described the process of the house blessing.
“Fr. Matthew blessed each of us with the holy cross then began to walk throughout the house and bless each room,” Burrows wrote. “Using holy water, Fr. Matthew sanctified each room from the east to the west, and from the north to the south. Room by room he invoked the blessing of the Trinity, sprinkling holy water in each direction blessing our home.”
After blessing the rooms, Floyd anointed the walls of the home, making the sign of the cross in holy oil.
“Afterward, each of us received a blessing of holy water on our heads,” Burrows wrote. “Fr. Matthew doused us pretty well. There were many smiles to go around.”
Following the house blessing about eight parishioners enjoyed a meal together, followed by the service of Compline.
“This was possibly the first Orthodox service ever celebrated in Enid,” Burrows wrote.
Floyd said it’s unknown if any earlier Orthodox services have been held in Enid, but it is “quite possible” Thursday evening was the first.
Whether it was the first Orthodox service in Enid or not, Floyd said it was a pleasure to return to Enid to serve his parishioners.
“It was a wonderful thing to be able to come up and spend some time with my parishioners, and to bless their houses,” Floyd said.
St. Nino Orthodox Church holds services at 9:30 a.m. Sundays in the Cottonwood Community Center at 2303 North Cottonwood Road, Stillwater.
Floyd usually serves the first and third Sunday of each month, and next will celebrate the Divine Liturgy, or Eucharist service, at St. Nino on Aug. 19.
For more information and a calendar of services and events at St. Nino visit stillwaterorthodox.org.