Haugesund, Norway, September 24, 2019
A 100-year-old building in the city of Haugesund in southwestern Norway was given new life on Sunday, as it was consecrated as a parish church of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The new church, the first Romanian Orthodox parish in Norway, is dedicated to the “O All-Hymned Mother” Icon of the Theotokos, as well as Sts. Macarius the Great and Macarius of Alexandria, reports Doxologia.
According to OrthodoxWiki, there are 16 other parishes operating in Norway, divided between the Russian Church, the Serbian Church, and the Patriarchate of Constantinople. According to Statistics Norway, there were 21,993 Orthodox Christians in Norway as of 2017, up from 12,959 in 2013.
The consecration was celebrated by three Romanian hierarchs: His Eminence Metropolitan Macarie of Northern Europe, His Eminence Metropolitan Serafim of Germany and Central Europe, and His Eminence Metropolitan Teofan of Moldova.
The consecration was followed by the Divine Liturgy, with the five Romanian priests serving in Norway joining the hierarchs. The responses were sung by the Byzantine chant group “Anastasios” from Târgu Mureș, Romania.
The parish was established by decree of Met. Macarie on March 26, 2013 and was entrusted to the spiritual care of Fr. Dumitru Valeriu Chiorbeja on May 4, 2014.
During his homily, Met. Teofan stressed that the newly-consecrated church must serve as a true connection with Christ and His Church for the Orthodox faithful living in Norway, and, at the same time, as the ship leading them to the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Only the Church can provide Christians with the means by which they can resist the sirens’ song calling on them to obtain wealth, power and soul-damaging pleasures, preventing them from noticing the depth of things, preventing them from fishing deep,” His Eminence continued.
Met. Serafim also preached, emphasizing the elements that weld a community together and the fact that people need a living word, which they can find only in the Church of Christ.
At the end of the service, Met. Teofan offered the parish priest a Moldavian Cross and a set of holy vessels.