How Orthodox priest lives and works in Iceland

How Orthodox priest lives and works in Iceland

New technologies are not rejected by the church. In distant Iceland, we met an Orthodox priest who praises the world-famous mobile application (again, developed by Belarusians).

In Reykjavik we stumbled on the image of Euphrosyne of Polotsk, the saint of Belarus. The local Orthodox parish bears the name of Nicholas the Wonderworker. It so coincided that both Iceland and the Western world, celebrated on December 6 the Day of St. Nicholas, who secretly helped poor people and children, gave them gifts - hence the image of the modern Christmas hero Santa Claus (which, if translated, means Saint Nicholas).

Iceland is a Lutheran country. Magnificent Protestant church buildings are bursting into the sky. For example, this one, resembling a whale jumping out of the ocean, is one of Reykjavik's main attractions.

The exaltation of saints is not common here. But many Icelanders know Nicholas the Savior as Santanikolaus, or Santa Claus. They remember him for Christmas or on December 6, on Saint Nicholas Day, according to the Gregorian calendar. The local Orthodox community also prays in the name of Nicholas the Wonder-worker.

Archpriest Timofei Zolotusky, rector of the St. Nicholas parish (Reykjavik):
On Easter, we rent a Lutheran cathedral. And for Christmas we usually hold services in the Catholic Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

This does not contradict the canons, Father Timofei believes. He has headed the parish in Reykjavik for 12 years.

The Orthodox in Iceland don't have their own church - in the usual sense. Services take place in a rented house, which is not very similar to a church from outside.

But it's worth crossing the threshold and the picture changes: the largest room has an altar with the iconostasis. However, there are various icons here, not only classic ones.

The terminal for bank card transaction looks striking. "Cash is not in vogue in Iceland," explains the archpriest. Without donations, the windows in the church house will have to be closed.

Archpriest Timofei Zolotusky:
The rent has been increased by two times this year. People have their own business, they just follow the market conditions.

Father Timofei is an advanced priest: he uses not only confession or sacrament for communicating with parishioners, but also electronic communicators.

Archpriest Timofei Zolotusky:
I have an early morning trip to the Orkney Islands tomorrow. I need to negotiate. Viber was the most reliable way to communicate.

Which was developed by Belarusian programmers.

Archpriest Timofei Zolotusky:
I did not even know that! Thanks to Belarusian programmers!

But it's not only Viber that reminds about Belarusian spirit here.

Archpriest Timofei Zolotusky:
The tapestry of the icon of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk is a gift of our parishioners. I think have found it a worthy place.

The new big temple is the old big dream of the Orthodox diaspora. It's been seven years since a stone was laid on the site of construction. But the money parishioners donate are far from enough.

Archpriest Timofei Zolotusky:
We still hope for the help of our compatriots. Some kind of social and civil responsibility exists among our business circles too.

Not all Icelanders are tolerant to a different faither. Father Timofei shows what some hooligans did with the church.

Archpriest Timofei Zolotusky:
Look here. They deliberately threw stones. Thank God Icelandic basalt is strong enough.

Believing in God, Icelanders simultaneously believe in elves, trolls and other creatures from the "invisible world."

Archpriest Timofei Zolotusky:
You know, many Icelanders go to both church and gay parades. For us, these things are probably strange and incompatible.

We are here to testify to that unbroken Orthodox faith. Whether we are good at it or not we will learn a little later - at the Last Judgment.

The priest himself does not shun the world of fantasy.

What do you read?

Archpriest Timofei Zolotusky:
The last thing that I reread was the Chronicles of Narnia.

Oh, this is a modern read.

Archpriest Timofei Zolotusky:
Well, this is how things worked.

The "Chronicles of Narnia" is called the hidden tool of conversion to Christianity. But Father Timofei does not set himself the task of returning the Lutherans to the original faith that Iceland once had.

Archpriest Timofei Zolotusky:
Iceland was baptized in the year 1000. The priests who baptized it were Orthodox.

In those days, the cult of St. Nicholas arose. After all, he is the patron of navigation and trade. What could be more important for the island connected with the rest of the world only by sea?

Archpriest Timofei Zolotusky:
Yes, I also served in the navy, in Severomorsk, in operational squadron No.7.

The former ship's radio operator is now sending signals to the Lord with the hope that someday a church will appear in the wasteland, in the name of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.