During the three days of 1 – 3 October 2021, 70 Orthodox young people between the ages of 15 and 30 from 12 different ethnic backgrounds and different parishes of the Holy Metropolis of Belgium and the Exarchate of the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands gathered in De Kluis – Sint Joris Weert (Leuven – Belgium) as every year since 1979. The topic of the meeting was “The callings in the Christian life” with the speaker the monk Theophilos Pantokratorinos (Mount Athos).
Discussions, common prayer, confession, sharing, walks, cooking, and other activities suggested by the young people brought the meeting to life. Ways to deepen and share their faith and orthodox experience!
Father Theofilos’ speech focused on the acceptance of the call to which God invites everyone from the depths of our hearts, something that cannot be stopped by the world that wants to live more and more without God.
Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium attended the speech and expressed his gratitude for the presence and speech of Father Theophilos, emphasizing the spiritual importance of the arrival of a monk of Mount Athos at the meeting of the Orthodox Youth in Benelux and the encouragement it inspires in their spiritual path. Metropolitan Athenagoras encouraged young people to ask questions and talk to Father Theophilos, as well as encourage those who would like to confess, as repentance is an essential element of the Christian life.
The young people spoke during the discussions organized in different languages: French, Dutch, and Greek. The dialogue with the speakers, the monk Theophilos, the Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne Dominique Verbeke, and Archimandrite Philadelphos Kafalis, gave the young people the opportunity to express themselves. Discussions focused on aspects of Christian life in today’s world.
The services were powerful moments of grace and common prayer. The resurrection vespers, the orthros, and the Divine Liturgy were performed by Father Theofilos, Father Konstantinos Kenanidis, and Father Ciprian Popescu. The youth choir under the direction of Father Antonios Tarlizos gave an artistic and spiritual dimension to the common prayer.
The beauty of the meeting was also ensured by the active participation of the young people in the preparation of the food.
At the end of the meeting, Father Theofilos thanked the young people for their participation and assured them that having Christ in one’s heart is the only way to continue the search for one’s calling.