Converting to Orthodoxy in Norway (It’s Been Done)



Converting to Orthodoxy in Norway (It’s Been Done)




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

St Sunniva of Selje, Norway (+10th ce.)


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.

St Olav of Norway (+1030)

Fr. Johannes Johansen’s parish website can be found here.

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.


Hellige Georg ortodokse kapell  i Skoltebyen, Norge


Hellige Georg ortodokse kapell  i Skoltebyen, Norge

Commemoration of the Holy Passion-bearer King Olav II Haraldson, Enlightener of Norway (+1030) – July 29




St Olav II of Norway (+1030)


st olaf 2.jpg

st olaf.jpg


Month of July



of the Holy Passion-bearer King Olav II Haraldson,

Enlightener of Norway

Composed by Reader Isaac Lambertson



At Vespers

At Lord, I have cried, these stichera, in Tone II: Spec. Mel.: With what wreaths of praise

With what wreaths of praise shall we crown the righteous Olav, for whose sake we celebrate today: the pillar of piety, the adornment of his people, the true advocate and intercessor for all Christians, who shone forth with splendour in his martyrdom? For Christ our God, Who hath great mercy, hath truly crowned him with a diadem of glory in the highest.

With what hymns of laudation shall we praise the holy passion-bearer Olav, who as an athlete of the Lord contended lawfully, fighting the good fight and finishing the race, for which he hath received the wreath of victory from the Judge of the contest? For Christ our God, Who hath great mercy, hath truly set him among the saints at His right hand.

With what vesture of hymnody shall we array Olav the blessed king, who, full of love for the Master of all, planted the seed of the Christian Faith in his homeland and watered it with his own blood, thus bringing it to goodly fruition? For this cause, Christ our God, Who hath great mercy, hath truly clad him in the bright raiment of gladness on high.

Glory: Idiomelon, in Tone V

In the blossom of thy youth thou didst cause the fear of the Lord to dwell within thy soul; and moved by zeal for His righteousness, thou didst not wander from the straight and narrow path of His commandments, O most blessed king; wherefore, cleaving unto Christ, thou didst lay down thy life for Him with gladness; for which cause the garden of paradise hath received thy most splendid soul, and thou now joinest chorus there with all the saints and Fortsett å lese «Commemoration of the Holy Passion-bearer King Olav II Haraldson, Enlightener of Norway (+1030) – July 29»

St George’s Orthodox Chapel: Hidden Treasure in Skoltebyen, Norway – Dian H., Grimstad, Norway


St George’s Orthodox Chapel:

Hidden Treasure in Skoltebyen, Norway


Dian H., Grimstad, Norway

This chapel was built approximately around 1565 which is central for Russian Orthodox religious activities. This wooden building is neither tall nor spacious. It is approximately 16 m2. However, the chapel, with the overall area so called Skoltebyen is a protected area. Near the gate, there are information leaflets inside a metal box. However we didn’t get English version and only Finish and Russian versions left. The building is a bit hidden from the main road E6; you need to walk, following the walking path. When we came this summer, the Fortsett å lese «St George’s Orthodox Chapel: Hidden Treasure in Skoltebyen, Norway – Dian H., Grimstad, Norway»

Ρωσικό Ορθόδοξο παρεκκλήσι του Αγίου Γεωργίου – Ένας κρυμμένος θησαυρός στο Skoltebyen της Νορβηγίας


Ρωσικό Ορθόδοξο παρεκκλήσι του Αγίου Γεωργίου – Ένας κρυμμένος θησαυρός στο Skoltebyen της Νορβηγίας

Αναφέρει η Dian H. από το Grimstad της Νορβηγίας:

Το παρεκκλήσι χτίστηκε περίπου γύρω στο 1565, το οποίο ήταν κεντρικό σημείο για τις Ρωσικές Ορθόδοξες εκκλησιαστικές δραστηριότητες. Αυτό το ξύλινο κτίριο δεν είναι ούτε ψηλό ούτε ευρύχωρο. Είναι περίπου 16 m2. Το παρεκκλήσι, μαζί με την γύρω περιοχή που ονομάζεται Skoltebyen, είναι προστατευόμενη περιοχή. Κοντά στην πύλη υπάρχουν ενημερωτικά φυλλάδια μέσα σε μεταλλικό κιβώτιο στη φιλανδική και ρωσική γλώσσα. Το παρεκκλήσι είναι κρυμμένο από τον κεντρικό δρόμο Ε6. Πρέπει να περπατήσετε, ακολουθώντας το μονοπάτι. Αν το Fortsett å lese «Ρωσικό Ορθόδοξο παρεκκλήσι του Αγίου Γεωργίου – Ένας κρυμμένος θησαυρός στο Skoltebyen της Νορβηγίας»

Video – «Gudførerinne og Jomfru» på norsk og gresk



«Gudførerinne og Jomfru» på norsk og gresk

Hl. Herman av Alaska menighet

Kristiansand, Noreg



Pilegrimstur til Den hellige øya Selja, Norge, 2014



Pilegrimstur til Den hellige øya Selja, Norge, 2014




Hvor Sunniva og hennes reisefeller (seljumennene) kom fra Irland og tok sin tilflukt for å bevare sin kristne tro og hvor de endte sine dager en gang på 900-tallet. Her ble levningene deres funnet i 994-995 etter underfulle tegn, som fikk kong Olav Tryggvason på Tinget på Dragseid like ved (hvor 4 fylker vedtok å gå over til kristendommen) til å erklære henne som hellig. Det ble så bygget kirker og kloster og domkirke her.

Hvert år har vi fra hl. Nikolai menighet og filialer arrangert pilegrims-reise hit – nå omtrent for tyvende året på rad. Vi har ofte en samling med foredrag eller utstilling eller konsert kvelden før (7. juli) og på selve helligdagen 8. juli forretter vi liturgi i kirken i Selje (på fastlandet) – vi har tidligere pleid å ha liturgien ute på Selja-øya, men værforhold og annet gjør det for vanskelig. I fjor hadde vi med oss mama Mamuka og kor fra Georgia, i år hadde vi også med oss deltakere med tilknytning til Georgia – moder Thavoria og søstrene fra Valldalsklosteret som nå endelig har blitt opprettet OG f. Damaskinos som hører til det nyopprettede Seljeklosteret – alt under den georgiske kirkens jurisdiksjon! F. Damaskinos forrettet med oss i liturgien og m. Thavoria og nonnene fra Valldal gjorde tjeneste som kor. Og vi forretett både på norsk, engelsk og georgisk og gresk og kirkeslavisk!

Etter liturgien og en kort frokost, begav vi oss over til den hellige Selja-øya, og gikk i prosesjon fra båten gjennom klosterruinene og opp den bratte fjellsiden, tok en pust med litt informasjoner i ruinen etter hl. Sunnivas kirke hvor hennes relikvier befant seg i et praktfullt skrin inntil det ble flyttet til Bergen på slutten av 1200-tallet.

Videre gikk vi til Mikaelshola, hvor relikviene etter hl. Sunniva og selju-mennene ble funnet på slutten av 900-tallet. Her hadde vi bønnestund (moleben). Vel nede igjen kunne vi fylle flasker med vann fra den hellige kilden, før vi begav oss tilbake til fastlandet.

Den georgiske ortodokse kirken har tatt moder Thavoria og hennes fellesskap inn under sin jurisdiksjon og vedtatt å godkjenne opprettelsen av klosteret i Valldal (foreløpig innstallert i Norddal like ved) og et munkekloster på Selja (foreløpig innstallert i et hus tilhørende kunstneren Amdan på fastlandet, hvor f. Damaskinos bor). Oppe i hulen er det hengt opp en kopi av opprettelsesdokumentet for klosteret!

I Kommunehuset var det arrangert en utstilling av hele historien til hl. Sunniva og Selja like til opprettelsen av det ortodokse klosteret der, og en fin presentasjon av den ortodokse kirke og tro. Dette var noe kommuneledelsen hadde ønsket og tatt initiativ til!

Været 8. juli var strålende og kunne ikke blitt bedre. Så på alle vis var dette en svært vellykket og velsignet pilegrimstur.

Far Johannes