On Saturday, July 8, 2023, Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium and Exarch of the Netherlands and Luxembourg, on the occasion of the approaching feast of the Prophet Elijah performed the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Monastery of the Prophet Elijah in Saint Hubert Mill in the Netherlands. Clergy of the Metropolis participated in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, while believers and pilgrims of the Monastery were present.
In his sermon, the Metropolitan referred to the life of Prophet Elijah and its importance for today’s believers.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Metropolitan thanked the clergy and the pilgrims of the Monastery for their participation in the feast.
After the Divine Liturgy, a luncheon followed.
The small monastery of Prophet Elijah in Sint-Hubert-Mill, in the provice of Brabant, was founded by Father Pachomius Van Neerven (1935-2007), who wanted to become a monk from an early age. In 1962 he went to France, but did not feel comfortable in the French religious atmosphere. Thanks to his interest in monastic life and the Liturgical Movement of the 1950s, during his studies in Nijmegen he learned about Orthodoxy.
After the death of his parents in 1970, and with the blessing of Bishop Dionysios (Patriarchate of Moscow), Father Pachomius managed to find the funds that allowed him to found the small monastery of Prophet Elijah in 1972. He bought a farm and built the church, and on Christmas 1972 Protopresbyter Jan Haveman came there to perform the first Divine Liturgy. In 1974, Father Pachomius and Father Jan Haveman were admitted to the Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe, under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. On November 4, 1974, he was ordained a priest by Archbishop George Tarasoff of Syracuse.
When in 1984 Eldress Maria returned to the Netherlands, she initially found a hospitable shelter in the garden of the Monastery of the Prophet Elijah, and later founded the nunnery of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Asten.