On the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, during Solemn Mass celebrated in connection with the Bishop’s International Conference at Gran, Norway 4-6 August 2017, the first Prior of the Swedish Province of the Order of Port Royal was installed by the Abbot of the Abbey of St. Severin. As protector of the Order Bishop Roald Nikolai of the Nordic Catholic Church gave his blessings to the Prior, Fr. Franciskus Urban OPR, who will be in charge of the newly erected Priory of St. Stephanus in Karlskrona.
The mass took place on historic grounds in the Church of St. Nicholas – once built by Cistercians in the 12th century – in the presence of clergy and laity from Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, United States, including Archbishop Anthony Mikovsky of the Union of Scranton.
The decision to establish the presence of the Order of Port Royal in Scandinavia was made at the General Chapter of the Order in July 2017 at the Motherhouse in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria. The aim is to support the Nordic Catholic Church in its growth and to meet an increasing need in our time for silence, holiness in life and communal prayer.
The Order of Port Royal is an ecumenical, monastic Order within the Cistercian tradition. Since the Cistercians originate from the Benedictine tradition, they follow the rule of monastic life written by St. Benedict in the 6th century.
From the Prologue to the Rule of St. Benedict we read:
”To thee, therefore, my speech is now directed, who, giving up thine own will, takest up the strong and most excellent arms of obedience, to do battle for Christ the Lord, the true King.”
The Order of Port Royal traces its origins back to the Cistercian monastery “Port Royal” in France which was an important centre of philosophy, education and science. It was closed in 1705 at the instigation of the Jesuites due to theological disputes about papal authority. Thereafter the spiritual home were moved to the Netherlands under the protection of the Bishop of Utrecht. In 2012 the Order of Port Royal left the Union of Utrecht and placed itself under the spiritual authority of the Bishop of the Nordic Catholic Church and thereby joining the Union of Scranton.
The core of the Order of Port Royal consists of professed monks. But the Abbey of St. Severin, as well as the newly established Priory, takes on oblates – lay persons who want to practice the Rule of St. Benedict in their everyday life.