Fr. Kobus van der Riet
Father Jacobus van der Riet was born in Stellenbosch in 1959, where, after brief sojourns in Wellington and Harrismith, he attended school and university and obtained degrees in Classics and Theology in the 1980s. He also obtained a Ph.D. from Wits in Classics in 1999 on the subject of Roman and Greek poetry, and a Masters in Theology from St Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary in Pennsylvania in 1999. In 2012 he obtained a diploma in Library Science from UCT.
He was received into the Orthodox Church at St. Nicholas of Japan in 1994, after a year-long catechumenate. Presvytera Marica Frank, his colleague at the time in the Classics Department at Wits, had invited him to attend services at St Nicholas and he gradually came to appreciate the Orthodox faith and worship and way of life.
In 2001 he lived in a monastery in the Peloponnese to learn Greek, Byzantine chant and iconography. He was ordained a Deacon in 2002 and a Priest shortly afterwards by Archbishop Seraphim and some years later elevated to the rank of Archimandrite.
He served at first in St George’s Church in Brakpan for eighteen months, then in the chapel of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Eldorado Park since 2004 up to the present (the latter parish of being an offshoot of St. Nicholas of Japan Church), and later in addition in St Basil’s Church in Springs for twenty months. At present his ministry in Eldorado Park is combined with ministry in the Church of the Dormition of the All-holy Theotokos in Rustenburg, since the end of 2011. Being for the most part a non-stipendiary priest, he works in a public library. In 2013, Fr Kobus (together with Fr Zacharias van Wyk) was awarded by the Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Associations (FAK) in recognition of his work in translating the Orthodox liturgical texts from Greek into Afrikaans.
Father Jacobus has always had a close relationship with St Nicholas of Japan, and has on frequent occasions throughout the years, stood in when the parish priest was absent.
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