His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia visited Oslo, Norway just two weeks after his last trip marking the celebration of the Annunciation of the Theotokos and Greek Independence Day, and officiated the Service of the Bridegroom (Nymphios) on Holy Tuesday evening, April 3, 2018. Metropolitan Cleopas arrived at the airport in Oslo at noon of that same day, where he was welcomed by the V. Rev. Archimandrite Alexandros Loukatos, Parish Priest of the Metropolitan Church. Upon arriving at the church, the Metropolitan officiated the Bridegroom Service, aided by Fr. Alexandros and the Rev. Presbyter Fr. Olav Leserth of the Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe, Parish Priest of the St. Halvard Parish in Oslo. Also attending the holy service was Ms. Niki Kamba, attache of the Greek Embassy in Norway, together with her aides. Metropolitan Cleopas spoke in Greek and English about the hymn and life of St. Kassiane, as well as the sinful woman who undertook the role of myrrh-bearer, offering Christ myrrh prior to His burial. “The myrrh-bearer did not speak to Christ, because her actions spoke louder than her words. She repented. She did not fear public outcry, because salvation was her priority. Christ welcomes this act in the same way that he welcomes the genuine gestures of every human soul. He silently accepts the myrrh, the act of pouring out sinfulness from within us, and the fragrance of love. Christ did not accept any hypocritical criticism over the value of the myrrh that the myrrh-bearer spent; the reason being that he is God, and God does not reject, but rather, saves man,” said the Metropolitan. Afterwards, Metropolitan Cleopas welcomed the 20-member ensemble of the Norwegian Choir “Arkadia” and its director Ms. Marilena Zlatanou, who chanted the Hymn of Kassiane in Greek as composed by Th. Polykratis (1863-1926) and modified by Ms. Zlatanou, for the first time ever in the Metropolitan Church. Accompanying the choir on the piano was Ms. Natasja Rybak, an Orthodox Christian from Belorussia and mother of Mr. Alexander Rybak, who won the 2009 Eurovision song contest representing Norway. At the conclusion of the service, the Metropolitan congratulated the choir, its director, Fr. Alexandros, and the Parish Council of the Metropolitan Church for their remarkable initiative, as well as the chanters Messrs. Panagiotis Pavlos and Maxime Lesage, who chanted the hymns in Greek and Norwegian. He also offered a collection of paper replicas of old Byzantine icons to Ms. Evangelia Hatzipetrou, religious instruction teacher, congratulating her for her contribution to the parish’s Sunday School. Immediately afterwards, the Philoptochos Ladies Society offered a reception with fasting food in the Metropolitan Church’s fellowship hall. The next day, Holy Wednesday, April 4, Metropolitan Cleopas visited the History Museum in Oslo, accompanied by Fr. Alexandros, and returned to Stockholm that evening, where he visited the St. Paul the Apostle Church in Uppsala to celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Unction.
Marked the celebration of the Annunciation of the Theotokos and Greek Independence Day