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Orthodox Monasteries in Spain

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://people.opposingviews.com/orthodox-monasteries-spain-6819.html Orthodox Monasteries in Spain by Kathleen March, Demand Media In March 2012, the bishopric
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      Orthodox Monasteries in Spain
      by Kathleen March, Demand Media

      In March 2012, the bishopric of Lleida granted the use of the Villaler
      monastery, located in Alta Ribagorça, to the Rumanian Orthodox Church.
      Lleida bishop Joan Piris and Timoteo, bishop of the Rumanian Orthodox
      Church of Spain and Portugal, signed an agreement for use of the former
      Summer Seminary in Villaler. The Seminary now is an Orthodox Monastery.
      According to Spanish resources, this is the first Orthodox monastery in
      Spain. Villaler is a medieval town, with a castle from the 12th century.
      It has a population of about 650 and is in western Catalonia, near the
      Central Pyrenees region. A form of Catalan is spoken in this area. About
      4,000 members of the Rumanian Orthodox Church reside in the province of
      Lleida, many of these in the city of Lleida (Lérida, in Spanish) itself.
      There are also many Rumanian Catholics in the area.

      History of the Site

      The Seminary (Seminario de Verano de Riupedrós, in Spanish) gets its
      name from the nearby hermitage, built in the 10th century, dedicated to
      the Virgin of Riupedrós and located beside the Noguera River. Built by
      order of Bishop Aurelio del Pino Gómez in 1960, by 2012 the building had
      been empty for six years. It had been used for summer stays by Catholic
      priests and seminarians, as well as by Episcopalians.
      Orthodox Religion in Spain

      In 2007 a Russian Orthodox Church was built in Altea, Alicante, south
      along the Mediterranean coast of Catalonia. Wood was brought from the
      Ural Mountains for constructing the temple. Workers were also brought
      from Russia.

      In the first half of the 20th century there were few Orthodox Christians
      in Spain. Then a Greek community in Madrid, the capital, began to
      incorporate members of other Orthodox churches. A Rumanian priest came
      to reside in the city. Gradually, Orthodox parishes were established
      throughout Spain.

      In addition to the Assembly of Bishops of the Orthodox Church of Spain
      and Portugal, the Patriarchates of Serbia, Moscow, Bulgaria, Rumania,
      Georgia and Constantinople all have Spanish dioceses. They number around
      10, total. There is a web site with addresses for the Ecumenical
      Patriarchate of Constantinople
      (http://www.iglesiaortodoxa.net/index.htm). These groups generally
      congregate in spaces ceded to them by Catholic and other religious
      congregations.
      More on Orthodox Religion in Spain

      Orthodox World lists nearly 80 Orthodox congregations throughout Spain.
      While there are numerous churches, the only monastery is that of
      Villaler, in Lleida province. In the 1970s an Orthodox community of
      native residents, Russians and Rumanians was established in Barcelona,
      on the Mediterranean coast. This group found it necessary to collaborate
      with French organizations like the “Fraternité Orthodoxe en Europe
      Occidentale” and the “Institute de Theologie Orthodoxe Saint Serge” in
      Paris.
      Immigrants in Spain

      Rumanians represent the largest group of foreigners in Spain, having
      surpassed the Moroccans. They make up about 14% of the total foreign
      population and number around six million as of 2013. Most immigrants
      come for economic reasons. The Rumanian Orthodox Church is the main
      religion in their original country. Other Slavic immigrants are from
      Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary and several other
      countries. Many of these ethnic groups belong to Orthodox congregations
      or communities.


      References

      Leida: Hermitage of Riupedrós in Vilaller

      Resources

      Directorio Ortodoxo de España
      Vilaller acogerá el primer monasterio ortodoxo de España
      La Iglesia Ortodoxa rusa levanta su primer templo en España, ubicado en
      Altea (Alicante)
      El monacato ortodoxo
      Lleida cede el edificio del Seminario de verano a un monasterio ortodoxo
      Ortodoxia en España
      Reportaje de Pilar Caro sobre la Iglesia Ortodoxa en Altea

      About the Author

      Kathleen March has been a writer for 40 years. A professor and
      translator of Spanish, Portuguese, and Galician, she has studied several
      languages and uses them for travel and research. She enjoys medieval
      architecture and avant-garde poetry. Her work has appeared in numerous
      critical journals in the U.S. and Spain.
      Photo Credits

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