Vereniging van Orthodoxen H. Nikolaas van Myra

Last Saturday it was 25 years ago that our parish priest with other Dutch orthodox believers founded the ‘Vereniging van Orthodoxen “H. Nikolaas van Myra”‘. This society has as its primary aim to bring believers, clergy and laypeople, from all jurisdictions¬† (Russian, Greek, Rue Daru Russian, Serbian, Coptic, Eritrean,¬† Ethiopian, Georgian, Finnish — and there are more) together. Whether or not we succeed in that aim, the vereniging still exists 25 years later and we celebrated that.

Saturday morning we had a pontifical liturgy (with our own vladyka Gabriel and episcopos Athenagoras) in the 11th century Greater or Lebuinus Church in Deventer. This church belongs to the Protestant Church, but they gave us the freedom of the place. We could even use the old high altar for our altar — for the first time since the reformation, the Holy Liturgy was celebrated on those steps.

The most touching moment was when our bishop, Vladyka Gabriel, took the little dish with the antidoron after the communion of the priests from me and brought it to the Jansenist (old-Catholic) primate and the Roman Catholic bishop who had been seated in our altar and bade them eat and drink of it in the hope that one day he and they could celebrate together in full communion and as token of esteem and friendship.

(Next day our priest asked me to do the same for the visiting father Antoine from the Roman Catholic monastery of Chevetogne.)

Anyway, we even made it to the website of our town:

I’m the right-most acolyte, the one carrying the dikyrie — didn’t know my beard had reached these proportions yet…