Orthodox Swedish Mission Efforts Aided by House of Studies
On October 9, 2012, His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Diocese of Charleston received a missions report from the Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church of Göteborg, Sweden. Last summer two Swedish Orthodox Christians, Herman Fields and Mikael Fälthammar, had participated in a two-week residency at the Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania as part of the St. Stephen's Course, in the Antiochian House of Studies School of Orthodox Theology. "We were immensely blessed," wrote Mr. Fields and Mr. Fälthammar, "by meeting many Orthodox brothers and sisters in the United States.
"We want to express a special thank you to Fr. Joseph (Allen), Adn. Peter (Boulukos), Cheri Mullins and all the faculty of the House of Studies," they continued, "as well as to our hosts His Grace Bishop Thomas, and Paul Finley, for all your help and hospitality. We felt rejuvenated and encouraged by two intense weeks of spiritual fellowship and learning."
The rest of the newsletter reported on the work of the Swedish mission. "In the heart of Göteborg, we are very blessed to be able to borrow a basement venue, under a large church. This room is normally used for week-day mass in the church's youth group. We store our icons in a cupboard, and on Sunday evenings, this is the place where we hold a reader's vespers. Several icons have been donated or leant, both printed and hand-painted. For a parish of our size this venue is the perfect size.
"Please pray that God will bless the people and priests of Vasakyrkan (the church who hosts us) as they have shown us such hospitality! When we are have a priest visiting and want to hold Divine Liturgy they also allow us to use the main sanctuary, as well as their kitchen and fellowship hall.
"Currently we have four catechumens, and we get a regular stream of visitors to our Sunday vespers. We hold a study group once a month to study Orthodox theology, and also practice singing so that when we do have our own priest we will be equipped to celebrate the divine liturgy....God bless you as you continue to do God's work in your own community. We are so encouraged to know that we have an extended family of Orthodox Christians around the world who support our mission work."