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Metropolitan of Sweden presents new study on Fr. Eusevios Vittis

On Sunday, 26 May 2024, the presentation of the newly released study on the ever-remembered Hieromonk Eusveios Vittis entitled: “The Pastoral Ministry of Archimandrite Eusevios Vittis in Scandinavia 1965-1980” took place within the framework of the celebrations marking the tenth anniversary of His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia as Hierarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Eparchy in the Northern Lands.

This volume is dedicated to a renowned clergyman who cultivated the love of Christ in the souls of the populace living in the northernmost area of Europe between 1965-1980.

Elder Eusevios Vittis was a radiant spiritual figure of the Orthodox Church who left his own indelible mark on the 20th century. He was among the first clergymen to serve in the Holy Metropolis of Sweden and All Scandinavia while it was still under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the then Holy Metropolis of Thyateira and Great Britain (1922-1954 and 1963-1968).

The study is preceded by letters of blessing and a foreword by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios formerly of America, and His Eminence Metropolitan Agathangelos of Fanarion, Director-General of the Church of Greece’s publishing house and missionary arm Apostoliki Diakonia, to whom Metropolitan Cleopas dedicated this study, noting their common vision and journey.

In his letter, the Ecumenical Patriarch noted that “the missionary ministry of this authentic participant in the eucharistic ontology of Orthodox Christian theology and spirituality echoes the timeless principle of our Church, as it was formulated through divine inspiration by the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church (Crete, 2016): ‘Participation in the holy Eurcharist is a source of apostolic zeal for the evangelisation of the world’.”

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, formerly of America, pointed out in his letter that “Fr. Eusevios was always a man who maintained open spiritual horizons and a clear apostolic orientation. This is one of his many qualities that helped to support his fifteen-year ministry in Scandinavia, which this book eloquently presents. His multitalented charisma – enriched by the Holy Spirit and grace of God, and genuine spirituality – was the reason that led many people to seek him out no matter where he was.”

The Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain writes in his letter that “this book, which is a product of extensive and exhaustive research in many archives, as is evidenced by its contents, as well as utilisation of modern methods of historical research relying on oral history and eyewitness accounts, showcases the many sides of Fr. Eusevios Vittis and provides the wider audience with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the impressive life and Christian self-actualisation of one of the most illustrious children of our Church, who brilliantly honoured his sacred ministry as a preacher of the Gospel of Christ and self-styled “miniscule” servant of his fellow men and women.”

In his foreword, the Metropolitan of Fanarion focused on highlighting Fr. Eusevios’ missionary zeal. “He traveled across great distances by train or automobile, ministered day and night to attend to any pastoral need necessary, touchingly expressed his philanthropy to his brethren in need in, supported anyone facing spiritual dangers through self-sacrifice and love, and spearheaded missionary projects, bearing witness to the ecumenical nature of Christ’s Church.”

Metropolitan Agathangelos presented this new study on Fr. Eusevios Vittis, whose publication was fully sponsored by Apostoliki Diakonia of the Church of Greece. During the book presentation, the Metropolitan stated that “I did not have the blessing of personally meeting the ever-memorable Elder Eusevios…When the book was presented a few days ago and they brought me a copy, I confess that it felt somewhat strange to hold it in my hands. This publication contained more than just texts from the Elder, which I could peruse. In this book, the Metropolitan of Sweden masterfully unfolds Fr. Eusevios’ entire life.

How could I possibly speak about this man of God? What could I say about his life, which was in its entirety a ceaseless prayer, supplication, thanksgiving, doxology, sacrifice and service?
I must admit that I gazed at Elder Eusevios’ radiant face, as it appears in the vivid portrait on the cover page, I made the sign of the cross, and began to study it.

I found myself standing in awe and with an open heart before the personage of the ever-remembered Fr. Eusevios Vittis, this man of grace, this spiritual father, theologian, author, tireless servant of the Gospel, genuine mystic, and ascetic figure who spoke laconically, clearly, modestly, and always ecclesiastically.
It is a huge responsibility to present a book on a biblical-like figure such as Fr. Eusevios. When you study a book like this, you give yourself over to history and opt to allow Fr. Eusevios’ voice to humbly speak through you by virtue of his life and texts. And in this way, you feel like you are listening to the voice of God. This voluminous work numbering 776 pages literally stands as a precious gem in the area of contemporary ecclesiastical history.”

Metropolitan Cleopas’ study was conducted by researching the archives of: i) the Ecumenical Patriarchate (12 letters), ii) the Holy Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain (68 letters), iii) the Holy Metropolis of Sweden and All Scandinavia (9 letters, 6 “Pamphlets of Spiritual Edification” entitled My Church and Me, 27 articles entitled Coordinated Christianity, and 3 articles entitled Draft Memorandum on My Participation in Divine Worship, iv) Metropolitan Polyeuchtos of Sweden (23 letters and 1 article), v) the Metropolitan Church of the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Oslo (81 letters and 9 “messages of edification,” vi) the St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Uppsala (1 letter), vii) the Holy Trinity Parish in Göteborg (Minutes of the Parish Council), viii) the Parish in Borås (Founding Document of the Greek Orthodox Ecclesiastical Foundation of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Borås), ix) the Rev. Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Fr. Seraphim Farasoglou (12 letters, a list of studies and articles by Fr. Eusevios and on Fr. Eusevios), x) Dr. Elias P. Pantelides (1 letter), and xi) 28 articles by Fr. Eusevios under the general title “A letter for you – each month,” published in the Swedish Orthodox periodical Orthodox Kyrkotidning.

This historic volume is divided into six chapters. The first chapter is on “Fr. Eusevios Vittis’ priestly ministry during the period 1965-1980,” and is divided into the following 9 sub-headings: 1.1 The personage of Fr. Eusevios Vittis, 1.2 Fr. Eusevios Vittis’ pastoral ministry and visits, 1.3 Proposals for Fr. Eusevios Vittis’ promotion, 1.4 Fr. Eusevios Vittis’ salary, 1.5 The establishment of the St Nicholas Hermitage in Rättvik, Sweden, 1.6 Fr. Eusevios Vittis’ return to Greece, 1.7 Holy Sacraments celebrated by Fr. Eusevios Vittis, 1.7.1 Archives of the Holy Metropolis of Sweden, 1.7.2 Archives of the Holy Trinity Church in Göteborg.

The second chapter, entitled “The unpublished correspondence of Fr. Eusevios Vittis during the period 1965-1980 contained in archives” is divided into the following 11 sub-headings: 2.1 Archives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, 2.2. Archives of the Holy Archdiocese of Thyateira, 2.3 Archives of the Holy Metropolis of Sweden and All Scandinavia, 2.4 Archives of Metropolitan Polyeuchtos of Sweden, 2.5 Archives of the Metropolitan Church in Oslo, 2.6 Archives of the St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Uppsala, 2.7 Archives of the Greek Orthodox Foundation “Holy Trinity” in GÖTEBORG, 2.8. Archives of the Greek Orthodox Ecclesiastical Foundation “The Dormition of the Theotokos” in Borås, 2.9. Ledger and Book of Liquid Assets of the Holy Trinity in Göteborg and the Dormition of the Theotokos in Borås, 2.10. Archives of Fr. Seraphim Farasoglou, 2.11 Archives of Dr. Elias P. Pantelides.

The third chapter is entitled “Fr. Eusevios Vittis’ sermons and books for the period 1965-1980” and is divided into the following 8 sub-headings: 3.1 Publications during the period 1965-1980, 3.2 Fr. Seraphim Farasoglou, Studies and articles by Fr. Eusevios Vittis, 3.3. Evangelia Vitti, Design of the bibliography of Stergios-Fr. Eusevios Vittis, 3.5 Coordinated Christianity, 3.6 Pamphlets of spiritual edification, 3.7 A letter for you – each month, 3.8 Anavaseis.

The fourth chapter is dedicated to the Thyranoixia (Door opening) of the St. Nicholas Hermitage in Rättvik and consists of only one heading entitled: The Thyranoixia Service for the St. Nicholas Hermitage in Rättvik.

The fifth chapter “References to Fr. Eusevios Vittis’ priestly ministry and hermitage,” is divided into the following 8 sub-headings: 5.1 Archimandrite Alexandros Loukatos, History of the Greek Orthodox Community of Norway, 5.2 Demetrios Delaveris, Memories of Fr. Eusevios Vittis, 5.3 Presvytera Vasiliki Farasoglou, The St. Nicholas Hermitage in Rättvik, 5.4, Christina Danielidou, Fr. Eusevios Vittis (1927-2009), 5.5 Fotini Batsela, My interactions with Elder Eusevios, 5.7 S.F., Memories of Fr. Eusevios Vittis, 5.8. S.J., The Elder!

The sixth chapter “Appendix,” is divided into 3 sub-headings: 6.1 Article in the Norwegian newspaper Morgen posten from July 12, 1965, 6.2 Documents conveying the Hermitage to the Holy Metropolis of Sweden, 6.3 Photos.

The cover page of the study was personally overseen by Metropolitan Agathangelos, while the portrait of Fr. Eusevios Vittis was painted by the brothers Michael and Demetrios Androutsos of Ioannina, Greece.

Source: Metropolis of Sweden