Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia made his second archpastoral visit to Bergen, Norway over the course of the past year on the weekend of September 21-22, 2018, where he presided over the parish’s feast day, honoring the memory of the Holy and Glorious Ethno-Hieromartyr Chrysostom of Smyrna. This parish was established in October 2017 to serve the spiritual needs of the Orthodox faithful living in Bergen and the greater Hordaland area in Norway.
On Saturday, September 22, 2018, Metropolitan Cleopas presided in chorostasia over the Divine Liturgy at the Russian Church of the Epiphany, where he was received by the parish priest, Rev. Presbyter Fr. Dmytro Ostanin.
Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Cleopas offered the faithful a heartfelt message regarding the feast of St. Chrysostom of Smyrna, and spoke about the ongoing initiative of the Holy Metropolis of Sweden to establish a parish in his memory in the area, placing particular emphasis on the Metropolis’ collaboration with the organized Hellenic Community in the area and praising the pastoral ministry of Fr. Alexandros in the service of the Orthodox faithful living there. He also thanked the Russian clergyman Fr. Dmytro Ostanin for his hospitality.
That same afternoon, Metropolitan Cleopas left Bergen for Trondheim, Norway accompanied by Fr. Alexandros, to establish the parish of our Father among the Saints Gerasimos the New Ascetic of Cephalonia, on Sunday, September 23, 2018.
The parish in Trondheim represents the sixth parish that has been established in the Holy Metropolis of Sweden over the past four years, together with the parishes of St. Cleopas the Apostle in Kalmar, the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple in Borås, Sts. Constantine and Helene in Jönköping, St. Nectarios in Stavanger, St. Chrysostom of Smyrna in Bergen, and the Hermitage of St. Nicholas in Rättvik.
On Sunday morning, the Archieratical Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Stayne chapel, which was generously made available by the Lutheran Church of Norway, presided over by Metropolitan Cleopas, who was assisted by Fr. Alexandros.
After the conclusion of the service, the Metropolitan announced the formation of the new parish of St. Gerasimos, the patron saint and protector of the island of Cephalonia,and presented the members of the parish council with an icon of St. Gerasimos and their letters of appointment, wishing them success and every help from above in their new duties.
During his sermon, the Metropolitan spoke about the reasons that inspired him to dedicate the new parish to the memory of St. Gerasimos, placing particular emphasis on the ascetic mindframe of this righteous ascetic, noting that all Christians should strive to emulate this gift in the spiritual struggle of attaining perfection in Christ and approaching the state of theosis.
The Metropolitan also mentioned his visit to his ancestral homeland of Cephalonia two years ago, from where he hails from his mother’s side of the family, noting that he is the great grandchild of the national benefactor Joseph Momferratos.
Metropolitan Cleopas expressed how touched he was over the establishment of yet another parish, as well as the presence of young people who partake in the religious life of their parish and serve on the new parish council.
He also congratulated the parishioners, as he did in Bergen, many of whom traveled for hours using every mode of transportation in order to attend the holy services being celebrated.
Metropolitan Cleopas was also accompanied in Trondheim by Mrs. Kyriaki Papadopoulou Samuelsen, adviser of the Metropolitan Church of the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Oslo, who chanted the hymns together with Mr. Maxime Lesage, of France, both of who were thanked by the Metropolitan.
Fr. Alexandros thanked the Metropolitan for making his second visit to the area, pointing out the importance of the establishment of the Metropolis’ third parish in Norway.
The parish council of the new parish is composed of Ekaterini Skoura-Iliopoulou Maria Psarrou, Ilias Bilas, Evangelos Karagiannis, Loukas-Sevastianos Roussos, and Andreas– Øyvind Hokstad, who converted to Orthodoxy and is fluent in Greek.
Following the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Cleopas attended a reception that was held at the Pirbadet Hall, during which he thanked the organizer Mrs. Ekaterini Skoura, as well as those in attendance, encouraging them to zealously maintain the spirit of volunteerism that characterizes them and multiply their God-given talents.
Mrs. Kyriaki Papadopoulou-Sameulsen also addressed the audience, informing them about the activities and initiatives of the Metropolitan Church in Oslo and encouraging the new parish council to undertake similar initiatives.
A luncheon followed, offered by the members of the parish council in honor of Metropolitan Cleopas, who returned to his see in Stockholm on the afternoon of the same day.