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The 4th Sunday of Holy and Great Lent in Rotterdam

On the 4th Sunday of Holy and Great Lent, 14 April 2024, the established annual Inter-Orthodox Liturgy was held at the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Rotterdam.
The Divine Liturgy was presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium and Exarch of the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and was joined in concelebration by Their Graces, Bishop of the Patriarchate of Georgia, Bishop Dositheos, Bishop Ioakeim of Apollonia, Assistant Bishop of the Holy Metropolis, Bishop Apostolos of Tanagra, Director of the Office of the Representation of the Church of Greece for the European Union, and with the participation of clergy from various origins of the Holy Metropolis and the other Orthodox presences in the Netherlands.

The Divine Liturgy was brightened with their spiritual and reverent melodies of the Greek-speaking choir of the Rotterdam Cathedral, the Dutch-speaking choir of the Parish of Eindhoven, as well as the Arabic-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking choirs, rendering the hymns in various languages.
His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras preached the holy sermon, speaking about the Gospel passage of the day – faith, prayer and fasting – as well as about the great personality of St. John Climacus of Sinai, and ended by saying that in the hymnology of the Orthodox Church, fasting and prayer are considered heavenly gifts.

Thanks to these gifts, the believer is sanctified. “So let us persist in fasting with even greater will and with the certainty of the double benefit, both spiritual and physical, as Saint John Chrysostom teaches us. This is how we will be made worthy with purified souls to worship and experience the Holy Passion and Resurrection of our Lord”.

At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Athenagoras expressed his joy for the joint eucharistic synaxis of all the Orthodox in the Netherlands, as has been established in recent years to give witness to the unity of the Orthodox, and thanked the Dean of the Cathedral, Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne and Hierarchical Commissioner of the Netherlands, Fr. Ioannis Psomas, for the organisation of the liturgy and kind Abrahamic hospitality, on behalf of the Parish.

The Metropolitan also thanked the concelebrating Hierarchs, Bishop Dositheos, Bishop Ioakeim of Apollonia and Bishop Apostolos of Tanagra, the other priests who participated in the Divine Liturgy, as well as Gerontissa Ioanna of the Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Asten, for her blessed presence. Metropolitan Athenagoras also addressed special thanks to the Ambassadors of Greece Her Excellency Ms. Ekaterina Gini, and of Ukraine His Excellency Mr. Oleksandr Karasevych, and of Romania His Excellency Mr. Lucian Fatu and of North Macedonia Her Excellency Ms. Beti Jacheva who were present for the Divine Liturgy, as well as to the Consul General of Ukraine Ms. Mariia Bezdieniezhna. Finally, he thanked the chanters and choirs for their beautiful and angelic chanting and all the faithful who came to participate in this Orthodox Divine Liturgy.