- Title: Dutch city tells floating Georgian monastery to cast off
- Date: 31st December 2019
- Summary: FATHER ABIBOS AND NUNS AND WORSHIPPERS SITTING AROUND TABLE AND SINGING CROSS AND HANDS CLASPED IN PRAYER GROUP SINGING AT TABLE
- Embargoed: 14th January 2020 11:09
- Keywords: Christian Orthodox church Netherlands Vlissingen chapel foating Georgian monastery frescoes monastic life
- Location: VLISSINGEN, THE NETHERLANDS
- City: VLISSINGEN, THE NETHERLANDS
- Country: Netherlands
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA002BCB36T5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:A tiny Georgian Orthodox monastery being built on board a ship in the Dutch port of Vlissingen is facing an uncertain future, after the city ordered it to set sail by March 1.
The unfinished monastery is the dream of Abbot Abibos, who has overseen two years of renovations on the ship - re-christened the Elia II, after the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church - including having frescoes painted on the ceiling of its small chapel.
Abibos said a floating monastery, with living space for himself and two nuns, Sister Elisabeth and Sister Nino, gives the three a quiet place to live a monastic life.
He added that it would also allow them to be able to travel to visit fellow worshippers. The church has several hundred members in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Abibos had hoped the Elia II would be able to have a regular berth in Vlissingen. The hand-painted frescoes on the chapel's ceiling and walls are still to be completed.
But Mayor Els Verhage said the city had been granting permits month by month for the ship's renovation on the understanding Abibos would soon "sail away to serve fellow members of his faith".
Verhage said in a statement that establishing a church in the town's harbour was not allowed and Abibos had been told in writing that his ship was no longer welcome.
Now Abibos is trying to have the ship finished by the March 1 deadline and looking for other options, while he and the sisters lodge in the town.
(Production: Hilde Verweij, Dominik Starosz, Lewis Macdonald)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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