ORTODOKSE KIRKE I NORGE – MULTILINGUAL ORTHODOXY – EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH – ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΙΑ – SIMBAHANG ORTODOKSO NG SILANGAN – 东正教在中国 – ORTODOXIA – 日本正教会 – ORTODOSSIA – อีสเทิร์นออร์ทอดอกซ์ – ORTHODOXIE – 동방 정교회 – OOSTERS-ORTODOKSE KERK - නැගෙනහිර ඕර්තඩොක්ස් සභාව – СРЦЕ ПРАВОСЛАВНО – BISERICA ORTODOXĂ – GEREJA ORTODOKS – ORTODOKSI – ПРАВОСЛАВИЕ – ORTODOKSE KIRKE – CHÍNH THỐNG GIÁO ĐÔNG PHƯƠNG – EAGLAIS CHEARTCHREIDMHEACH – ՈՒՂՂԱՓԱՌ ԵԿԵՂԵՑԻՆ ╰⊰¸¸ • ¨ * Abel Gkiouzelis – Feel free to email me…! http://gkiouzelis.wordpress.com – Stemning ledig å email oss på email@example.com
Holy Trifon Skita is the first and still the only Orthodox monestary in Norway. «Skita» is a term used for a special form of a monestary. In our situation, the term expresses the size and our status both as part of and working in the Holy Nikolai Church. This limit a total and extensive monestary life in its full form. A «Skita» is a more loosly organized monastic union, often subordinated a major monestary. Holy Trifon Skita is dedicated to Holy Trifon of Petsamo His work amongst the skolté-sami population in the 16th century also included areas which later were organized as a part of Norway. Therefor he has a special relevance to us. In addition, he respresent a direct connection to the great Orthodox monastic tradition as a monk and founder of the Petsamo (Petshenga) Monestary. He built the churches in Boris-Gleb and in Neiden in 1565, the latter is a part of Holy Nikolai Orthodox Church.
Holy Trifon Skita originates in the evironment around the publication «Orthodox Røst» (Orthodox Voice) and Holy Trifon Publishing founded in 1976. Since then it has been a operated as a part of the activites of the Skita. In 1980 Holy Skita Brotherhood was established and located to the lanscape Toten, 1 1/2 hours drive north of Oslo. Here the monastic life were strenghtened and practiced according to the old monastic traditions.In addition the publishing activites were continued. Journals, books and pamphlets were published and lectures produced. The Skita produces candles for ecclesiastical use of reproduction of icons. The property was an old farm consisted of a main building, two guesthouses and a Church.
The Skita is publishing the journal ”Tabor” intended for passing on the monastic culture and visions. We emphasize prayer as a wandering «on the road to the light of Tabor». The hesychastic tradition is the framework which gives us the contemplation sought after when trying to achieve closeness and unity with God.
We do not believe this is limited to an elite, but is aveilable to all through the sacramental mysteries. Noone can achieve anything greater than the unity with Christ in the eucaristic communion. Noone can achieve more of the Spirit of God than what already is given. However, by working with the «inner self», asceticism, through prayer and spiritual consentration, we will be able to use these gifts and grow to reach «aldersmålet for Kristi fylde», as stated by the apostle. Therefor we believe the monastic values and visions also are of interest to those who are «living in the world», that these treasures may enrich and inspire all mankind, «light a fire» and initiate the longing after perfection and holyness through the love of Christ as we all, without exception, are called upon.
As a result of plans for Holy Nikolai Orthodox Church, the property at Toten were sold in the autum of 1999. A new and more appropriate location were found and in Hurdal, also north of the capital Oslo. Here it is possible to visit ut, come and take part in our daily rythm, and for those who stuggle in the busy everyday life. prayer live for a periode in sience
It is possible to visit ut, come and take part in our daily rythm, and for those who stuggle in the busy everyday life. prayer live for a periode in sience.
Every evening I try to spend an hour or so in the library, sitting in front of the fire place. Our beloved Norwegian Forest Cat, Hammi, sleeps in the library/community room every night. Hammi is most happy when the entire monastic brotherhood is gathered together with him. He’s an important member of our community, loved by all of us, and is the only cat I know who has his own facebook fan page, started by a woman who’d met him on a pilgrimage to the monastery (if my memory be correct).
I first met Hammi, a large male cat, as I was walking between our old trailer house (now gone) and my cell, some seventeen years ago. We startled one another, but as I reached down with extended hand, he came to me. When I picked him up he began purring immediately, so I opened a can of salmon, and he never left. A month after his arrival we took him to a vet to be checked out. It was the veterinarian who suggested he’d most likely been dumped by someone from Seattle, as happens frequently when people want to dispose of a pet, and make sure the animal can’t find it’s way back home (impossible from an island).
I often tell people that Hammi domesticated me, since I’d not previously been a cat fancier, being allergic to cat dander. Little did I know at the beginning that Norwegian Forest Cats do not have dander. They have a very soft double fur coat, large paws, sweet facial features and a very loud purr box. They are known to be personable, liking to be around people. He greets everyone who comes to the monastery, escorting them up the steps from the parking lot. Everyone who’s ever met Hammi, falls in love. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve stated they don’t like cats, but want to get a Norwegian Forest Cat for themselves, once they’ve met him.
Intelligent breed that they are, Hammi has learned to let us know just what he wants, be it water, food, cuddling, sleep, whatever. He is a great companion to all of us, even going into the forest when one of us takes a walk on the Valaam Trail. He has a special game which he seems to enjoy with me, particularly. I’ll head out on the trail with Hammi running ahead. He’ll hide behind a large fern, and even though I know he’s waiting ahead, he always manages to scare me. I’ll then run ahead and hide behind a tree and jump out when he walks by. We play this game until the end of the trail!
At the ripe old age of twenty, Hammi is slowing down a bit, just as am I. We both suffer from arthritis and like to sit by the fire on a cold winter evening, with him cuddling in the lap of the old abbot. I’ve grown so attached to him that I can’t even begin to think of what life in the monastery will be like after he’s gone.
Animals teach us so much about life, and about unconditional love. I’ll never forget the day Hammi spotted our newly arrived Rhode Island Reds for the first time. I was sitting on the veranda of the trapeza with some guests. Hammi sat up when he spotted the hens, and started walking toward the Saint John Chapel. I followed him, as did our guests. When we were standing by the hens, Hammi crouched down, ready for the kill. All that was needed was for me to say, “No, Hammi, they are our friends”. He turned away and walked back to the veranda, leaving me and the guests alone with the chickens. He’s never bothered them since.
Although I’d grown up with dogs and cats, they’d not been in my life throughout my adulthood, until Hammi came around. I’m so very glad he did.
A Romanian writer, Tudor is a graduate of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, Romania. He has published a number of articles related to philosophy and theology in different cultural and academic journals. His work focuses on the evolution of Orthodox spirituality in Western societies as well and he is going to publish a book of interviews with Westerners converted to Orthodoxy. In this article, he interviews Father Johannes Johansen, an Orthodox priest in Norway.
Fr. Johannes Johansen, Norway
TP: First of all, please do tell us how you discovered Orthodoxy and why have you chosen the conversion to the Orthodox Church.
Fr. Johannes Johansen: By studying the Holy Bible. The Orthodox Church is the direct contuation of the Church that Christ himself founded on his holy apostles – the only possible Christian Church.
TP: What should we know about the Orthodox heritage of Norway, about the origins of Orthodoxy in Norway? When did actually appear the first Orthodox church in Norway?
Fr. Johannes Johansen: Everybody thinks that Norway was Roman Catholic the first 500 years and then Lutheran/protestant. BUT this is a truth which has to be corrected. The Christianity started to influence “Norway” already in the 8th century, and in the 1000-c. We have the history with St. Sunniva of Selja (described in The Saga about King Olav Tryggvason) and then we have St. Olav Haraldson who eventually Christianized Norway (Stiklestad 1030), and a little later st. Hallvard in Oslo-aerea) – all of it BEFORE the schism between Rome and the other Orthodox Churches. That means the Church/Christianity in Norway in that first period was Orthodox Church/Christianity (not “roman-catholic”).
The second point is in the far north-east: In 16. century the holy missionary Trifon came from Novgorod and Christianized all the eastern “skolt” laps (saami) people. He built the chapel in Neiden in 1565 – still existing, and the tribe he Christianized are still Orthodox people and belonging to our parish.
The third point is 1920 – when a group of ablout 1000 Russian refugee came from Archangelsk/Murmansk to Norway and founded “The Orthodox Church (St. Nicholas Parish) in Norway”, still existing, my parish. The parish has after that expanded much.
TP: Can you please talk about the fullness of the Norwegian Orthodox tradition among the other orthodox traditions in Eastern and Central Europe? I don’t know if this is a right question, but I am thinking about the fact that there should be a some kind of fullness as I have mentioned above.
Fr. Johannes Johansen: In fact, we can not yet talk about a Norwegian Orthodox cultural tradition, but we can say that it is in the process of being formed. First of all the language: we are using more and more norwegian (in stead of church-slavonic) because of the international composition of members in the parishes. We are also combining Russian/slavonic music with the byzantine. We have published a great range of books, and translated most of the liturgical texts.
TP: Who are the most important saints celebrated in the Norwegian Orthodox Church?
Fr. Johannes Johansen: We do not say “The Norwegian Orthodox Church” but “The Orthodox Church in Norway” (an important difference). The most important saints for Orthodoxy in Norway are: St. Sunniva, St. Olav, St. Hallvard and St. Trifon, the apostles Peter and Paul. St. Seraphim of Sarov and St. Nicholas.
TP: What can you say about the dialogue between the Norwegian Orthodox Church and the other local and traditional orthodox churches such as the Russian, the Greek or the Serbian one?
Fr. Johannes Johansen: We try to have good and friendly relations to them. But a great difference between them and us, is that they are very nationalistic, while we welcome people of all nationalities, for us the Orthodox faith and Tradition is the only thing that matters.
TP: Which are the most important Orthodox churches and monasteries in Norway?
St Nicholas Church in Oslo. St. Georges chapel in Neiden. St. Trifon monastery in Hurdal.
TP: I also wish to find out more information about the written books concerning the Orthodoxy in Norway. So, what books should we read so that we can better discover the Orthodox Church in Norway?
Fr. Johannes Johansen: In 2003 we published a book of the history of the parish of St Nicholas (the first and oldest parish in Norway) in Oslo. Now we are ready to publish a book about the monastery of St. Trifon also.
TP: Which is the main role and importance of the Orthodox Church in the Norwegian society at this moment?
Fr. Johannes Johansen: We try to defend traditional Christian dogma and moral standards againt modernism and secularisation. We are active in oecumenical movement to witness about Orthodoxy.
This interview is one of many that will be published in the book “The rediscovery of Orthodox heritage of the West” by Tudor Petcu, containing interviews with different Westerners converted to Orthodoxy. It will be published in two volumes and the first one will appear by the end of this year.