Amsterdam, the Netherlands, March 14, 2022
The clergy of the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Amsterdam unanimously announced at an emergency session of the parish council on Saturday that “it is no longer possible for them to function within the Moscow Patriarchate and provide a spiritually safe environment for our faithful.”
The clergy, four priests and a deacon, received the full backing of the parish council, which is calling on the people of the parish to follow the clergy as well, the church reports.
The matter will be put to a vote of a General Parish Meeting on March 26. In the meantime, the church is closed.
This decision comes after the clergy announced on March 4 that they would no longer commemorate Patriarch Kirill in the Divine services, citing the Patriarch-approved prayer for the restoration of peace “which places the sole responsibility for the war with foreign powers,” and following the example of a number of Ukrainian hierarchs and priests.
On March 6, the clergy clarified that they hadn’t left the Moscow Patriarchate, and were continuing to commemorate His Eminence Archbishop Elisey of the Hague and the Netherlands as their local Moscow Patriarchate hierarch.
However, on March 12, they further announced that it was no longer possible for them to function within the Moscow Patriarchate, and that they were seeking canonical release to the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
The reason for the March 12 meeting “was the threat to the parish and the clergy which we reported to you previously,” the church reports.
While there is no explanation about any threat on the church’s Facebook page or main website, Nederlands Dagblad reports that Abp. Elisey paid an unannounced visit to the church on March 6 and reportedly informed the clergy that their decision to cease commemorating the Patriarch was of grave concern in the Russian Church and state.
According to the Dutch outlet, there were also multiple threats against the church and clergy, and the church was spray-painted with the pro-Russian Z symbol.
Given the tenseness of the situation, the clergy felt they could not safely remain within the Moscow Patriarchate, and thus are seeking to join Constantinople.