Fifty years have passed since the founding of the Holy Metropolis of Belgium. It is the Golden Jubilee of the Belgian Metropolis of Belgium and the Exarchate of the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
It was August 11, 1969, when our Ecumenical Patriarchate, headed by Patriarch Athenagoras, listened to the shepherding needs of Greek immigrants in the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) the already existing Sacred Metropolises of France and Germany.
On that day, August 11, 1969, the first Belgian Metropolitan, from Seleucia and then exiled to America, Mr. Emilianos Zacharopoulos, was elected. The enthronement of the first Metropolitan took place the same year, November 11, at the Holy Metropolitan Church of the Archangels in Brussels (Cathedrale orthodoxe Des Saints Archanges Michel et Gabriel Bruxelles).
Fifty years ago, a great work and a great struggle was started for the ministry of Greek immigrants, the preservation of patriarchal traditions and the conversion of Orthodoxy to the indigenous population in central Europe.
Metropolitan Emilianos, who formed the core of the parishes and administrative organization of the newly established Ecumenical Throne, was succeeded by the respected former Metropolitan of Belgium, Panteleimon, from 1982 to 2013, when today’s Metropolitan of Belgium and Exarch of the Netherlands and Luxemburg, Athinagoras, tood over. The offspring of the indigenous Orthodox flock of Belgium, flesh of the flesh of the Holy Metropolis, studied Orthodox Theology with the support of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
The Orthodox Church in Belgium was officially recognized by the state in 1985. As part of the Golden Jubilee festivities, the Belgian Metropolitan is organizing events next November that will take place in the three states of the Metropolitan Region, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, with the honorary presence of His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.