Representing His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and all Scandinavia visited, on August 19, 2023, the Women’s Monastic Sisterhood of the Holy Trinity in Lintula, Finland, to convey the greeting of the Ecumenical Patriarch to the organisers of the conference, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Archbishop of Finland and later Metropolitan Ioannis of Nicaea.
The Metropolitan arrived in Kuopio, Finland, on Friday afternoon, August 18, 2023, where he was welcomed at the airport by Metropolitan Arsenios of Kuopio, Protodeacon Georgios Härkönen and the Secretary of the Metropolis, Gaios Appelberg.
Metropolitan Cleopas contacted Archbishop Leo of Helsinki and All Finland on the phone, whom he thanked for his consent to participate in the above events.
On Saturday, August 19, 2023, the Metropolitan of Sweden went to the Women’s Monastic Sisterhood of the Holy Trinity Lintula, where he attended the above conference, which was attended by six speakers as well as clergy and laity.
Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden said in his speech: “It is with great pleasure that I am with you today, at the event for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland and later Metropolitan Ioannis of Nicaea, as a representative of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, whose blessings and greetings I convey to you today.”
“This year, the Church of Finland celebrates a historic milestone – the 100th anniversary since the granting of the status of Autonomy, under the Patriarchal and Synodal Tomos, issued on July 14, 1923.
This decision was taken shortly after the establishment of the State of Finland, after the declaration of its independence in 1917, and the adoption of its Constitution in 1919.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate made this historic decision in response to the needs of the local Finnish Church and at its request. The independence from Moscow created the conditions for ecclesiastical autonomy immediately afterwards,” he added.
Also, the Metropolitan stressed: “Despite the fact that it was facing its own Calvary at the time, due to the Asia Minor Catastrophe of 1922, which left the Provinces of the First Throne Church in Asia Minor decimated, the Mother Church of Constantinople exercised its historical and inalienable rights and united all Orthodox Christians living in Finland into a single ecclesiastical Province, known as the Autonomous Archdiocese of Finland.
The 100th anniversary of the Church of Finland is reminiscent of the courageous decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine in 2019 and to address the issues regarding the jurisdiction that had been torturing them for decades.”
“I also would like to stress the sacred bond that unites the Autonomous Ecclesiastical Province of Finland with the Mother Church of Constantinople, through which the spiritual fruitage in the vineyard of the Lord in Finland remains rich,” he concluded.
On Sunday, August 20, 2023, Metropolitans of Kuopio and Sweden celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the old church of the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior, Valamo, along with Abbot Archimandrite Michael and clergy of the Monastery.
The next day, Monday, August 21, 2023, Metropolitan Arsenios held a luncheon at his residence, in honor of his visitor. Metropolitan Cleopas returned to the headquarters of his province in Stockholm in the afternoon of the same day.
More photos: Kaj Appelberg and Tarja Lanu