His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia presided over the Divine Liturgy that was celebrated at the St. Nicholas Hermitage in Rättvik, Sweden and officiated a memorial service for the hermitage’s founder, the ever-memorable priest-monk Fr. Eusebios Vittis on Sunday, December 10, 2017.
A luncheon followed in honor of the faithful, many of whom made the trip from Stockholm and the outlying areas. Metropolitan Cleopas thanked Mrs. Christina Chrysovergi for handling the organizational issues associated with this spiritual retreat, as well as for her longstanding devotion to her late spiritual father, Elder Eusebios Vittis, and the multifaceted support she has offered to the ministry of the hermitage up until today. He also thanked the faithful and donors for contributing to the completion of the iconograph.
Also attending the celebrations for the feast day of the hermitage were iconographer Mr. Michael Androutsos of Ioannina, Greece and his associates, Messrs. Demetrios Androutsos, Spyridon Metsis, and Christos Avgetas, who made the trip in order to install the remaining iconography in the Holy Sanctuary (full sized frescoes) depicting the Patriarchs of Alexandria Sts. Athanasios and Cyril, the Righteous Saints Paisios of Mount Athos and Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia, as well as the icons of St. Batholomew the Apostle, in honor of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and St. Eusebios of Samosata, in memory of the ever-memorable Fr. Eusebios, to the right and left of the icon-screen.
Precisely one year earlier, on December 4, 2016, the icons of Sts. John Chrysostom, Gregory the Theologian, Basil the Great, Spyridon of Trimythous in Corfu, Dionysios of Aegina, and Gerasimos of Cephalonia were installed around the apsis of the Holy Altar, in addition to the icon of Christ on the bishop’s throne, which were created by the aforementioned iconographers. In addition, the Estavromenos (Christ on the Cross) inside the Holy Sanctuary and the icons on the icon-screen are works of the same iconographers.
The Hermitage was founded by the ever-memorable Fr. Eusebios Vittis in 1973, and following his permanent relocation to Greece in 1980 and falling asleep in the Lord, its maintenance was assumed by the association of friends of the hermitage, known as “The St. Nicholas Orthodox Brotherhood.” The hermitage was completely destroyed by a fire in October 2010 and remained vacant following the construction of a new building until October 2014, when it was transferred to the Holy Metropolis of Sweden, which undertook the completion of its total renovation and fully equipped the hermitage with all necessary furnishings. This hermitage is the first Greek Orthodox monastery in Sweden and all of Scandinavia.