For context, see our Amsterdam’s Russian Parish Requests Transfer to Ecumenical Patriarchate of March 12, 2022.
Metropolitan Athenagoras (Peckstadt) of Belgium, Exarch of the Netherlands and Luxemburg, Ecumenical Patriarchate
New bishop for St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Amsterdam
On Saturday, March 26, 2022, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Amsterdam held a general parish meeting at which the members of the parish could vote for or against the proposal by the clergy to transfer to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. A notary was present.
There were two ballots. One was a vote for or against the transfer to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, while the other was a vote to remove “Russian” from the name of the parish in the statutes. For the transfer to Constantinople, there were 108 votes for and 56 against.
For the parish name change, there were 104 votes for and 60 against. As a 2/3 majority was required—108 votes—this caused a stalemate. The chair of the meeting stated that the parish council would have to meet in order to decide how to deal with this.
That very same evening, the parish council received a letter from Archbishop Elisey (Moscow Patriarchate) announcing that he had appointed himself as temporary rector of the church and that he was going to appoint new priests to the parish. The parish council decided that, based on the majority of votes for the transfer, Archbishop Elisey is no longer our bishop and therefore has no power over the parish.
Today, March 30, the parish council received a letter from Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium, Exarch of the Netherlands and Luxemburg, informing us that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has officially accepted the Orthodox parish of St. Nicholas in Amsterdam into the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The parish clergy will try to start a dialogue with the opponents of the transfer. They remain welcome in the parish.
Note: This is the parish to which Jim Forest of thrice-blessed memory belonged.
Vincent van Buuren is a musician and photographer. He is also a reader, singer, and conductor in the Orthodox Parish of St. Nicholas in Amsterdam.