Dutch city tells floating Georgian monastery to cast off

(This Dec. 31 tale corrects Verhage’s title in seventh paragraph)

FILE Photograph: Father Abbot Abibon poses on the entrance deck. A boat supposed as a cell Georgian Orthodox monastery, showcasing a chapel embellished with wall frescos, has been at anchor in the Dutch harbour town of Vlissingen for two years when becoming refurbished. The monastery expects to set sail from Vlissingen in spring, to pay a visit to Georgian communities all over Europe, Vlissingen, Netherlands December 30, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

VLISSINGEN, Netherlands (Reuters) – A little Georgian Orthodox monastery currently being developed atop a ship in the Dutch port of Vlissingen is struggling with an uncertain foreseeable future, after the town purchased it to established sail by March 1.

The unfinished monastery is the dream of Abbot Abibos, who has overseen two many years of renovations on the ship — re-christened the Elia II, following the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church — like possessing frescoes painted on the ceiling of its modest chapel.

Abibos mentioned a floating monastery, with dwelling space for himself and two nuns, Sister Elisabeth and Sister Nino, tends to make perception.

On the one hand, “it is not in the town and is a silent put for a monastic life”, he reported. On the other, it would let the monk and nuns to at times welcome fellow worshippers. The church has various hundred users in the Netherlands and Belgium.

“We are unable to be considerably from our parishioners”, Abibos claimed.

He had hoped the Elia II would be capable to have a typical berth in Vlissingen.

But Alderwoman Els Verhage stated the metropolis had been granting permits thirty day period by thirty day period for the ship’s renovation on the comprehension Abibos would shortly “sail away to serve fellow customers of his faith”.

“Establishing a church in the harbor is not allowed and would be a hindrance to development”, Verhage said in a statement. “Abbot Abibos has been educated in creating that his ship is no extended welcome.”

Now Abibos suggests he is racing to have the ship concluded by the March 1 deadline and looking for other solutions, although he and the sisters lodge in Vlissingen, a city of 40,000 in southwestern Netherlands.

“Through everything we do each day we attempt to honor God,” he reported. “Whether that is praying, doing work, eating. Even though resting, we test to do that in God’s title.”

Reporting by Toby Sterling, enhancing by Larry King

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