My name is Jean-Michel Dossogne. As you won't guess from my name, good Belgian mixture, I come from Flanders, but lives in Wallonia. I speak French, Flemish and English, a little German, and college souvenirs from Greek & Latin are sometimes possible. Sometimes.
I have been 16 years in the Belgian Navy (first class petty officer, electronic warfare & telecom), am decorated of Military Merit, Gulf War 1988, Kuweit Liberation Medal (Gulf War 1991) and a "long term" service medal, and a commemorative one for the Balkan war naval blockade (not my pride, we were at the wrong side..). I met my first wife in 1990 "by chance" (our ship had a defect while alongside in Ostend and I went back home to pick up clothes and she was with my neighbours & friends, having a drink, so we got to know each other and married a few months later. Much too fast... The Lord has given us the grace of 3 pious princesses. I left the Navy for the Police when my wife became pregnant of our first daughter. After some years of duty as intervention patrol, I started my conversion for the K9 patrol with Sultan, our young german shepperd. One year later, I had a "little problem" on service, during a violent football match we had to control, hospital couldn't help. Administration placed me on forced premature retirement for handicap, low income thus. To touch Jacob, our Lord had to send an Angel to fight with him, and only then he understood.. That's my first real conscious contact with God.
Our beloved Lord placed lots of lifebuoys and lifelines in my life. I didn't started to catch much of them before lots of troubles happened in my life from 2000 onwards... My first steps with Orthodoxy where with the Eastern part, at the Greek parish of Charleroi, in january 2000. It took 2 more years for the conviction, and on wednesday 4 june 2003, I was received in the Communion of the "Unam, Sanctam, Catholicam et Apostolicam Ecclesiam", via h.g abp Simon, Moscow Patriarcate, in Bruxelles. Deo gratias. We are not willing to be forced to attach to any particular "ethnic" parish : "nor Jew, nor Greeks" is important for us. If I entered via the "MP", it was because my work of the time brought me several times a week in the surroundings of the russian cathedral. For week-ends, we were in the Greek-Orthodox parish. Now we go in family to the French-talking parish Saint Martin de Tours & saint Silouane l'Athonite, in Bruxelles, but sometimes also the Russian parish of Charleroi or Leuven, the Frencht-talking Greek parish of Namur, and so on, all depending of the hours of celebrations and days when I can have my children..
On 12/feb/2006, I became acolyte, attached to the (now vanished) tiny Metochion sainte Catherine d'Alexandrie et saint Feuillen in Philippeville, kingdom of Belgium. I was responsible for its website, under supervision of the father abbot/higoumen. Early 2007, after having left the roman-catholic church for more than a year, my wife decided and asked to become Orthodox Christian during the Great Lent. And for Pentecost, my 2 eldest children too asked to enter the Ark of Salvation. Pure blessing. My youngest was already Orthodox, almost since the begining, received in the Russian parish of Charleroi, about which she often speaks as "my baptismal Church."
But lots of severe health problems arose end 2007. And my wife had led a "double life" (...) since years, something we discovered too late, so she finally went "her own way" early 2009. It will take time, but I'll have to recover physically, morally and spiritually of that drama to be able to rebuild a family, for my 3 children suffer much of the way the separation happened, their mother don't love them and told her much about... And they expressed us and want both parents to find happyness again. As I said, truly 3 pious children.
Happy news, in summer 2008, the belgian Navy took me back in active Reserve (similar to "national guard" in the USA) for promoting the jobs & operations, and my 2 eldest children asked us to join the Sea Cadets, where they were truly active. My middle daughter specialises in navigation, and my oldest daughter is the only female candidate maritime electro-mechanician - she would like to continue that way in life, a very hard way, very hard studies & life.. My youngest successed to get the basic degree in sailing on an Optimist last summer, just aged of 7, in a week with heavy winds & lots of shaggy waters. Early 2010, my 3 children joined the Sea Scouts in the nearby town of Couvin. May saint Nicholas of Myra protect my 3 children.
Summer hobby, I am member of the Velosolex Club of Belgium - my old black "mopette" is as old as I am, but works much better now.. Pictures show me also with my Czech wolfdog, and at the sport shooting range, sports I practice in both cases when health allows. My 2 oldest children are regular members of a folk/traditionnal dance group from here (quadrillas, jigs & reels, ...), and with my youngest one, we regularly take part to the repetitions of the group. It's a great blessing to do all this in family!
As our Lord said that to have long days on earth, we have to honnour our parents (Exode 20,12) : I am particularly involved in the veneration of all what our Church Fathers and Mothers from the Orthodox West have brought to the hole Church. And till recently, liturgically too, but now of course it's all over! I have occasionally the joy & chance to serve at the closest Greek-Orthodox parish, the one thrugh which I was introduced to holy Orthodoxy.
- My musing & Orthodox information blog, 1420 articles in 3 1/2 years, more than half million of visitors, a collection often enriched.
- My Navy website, great movies & pictures of ships & the sea around the world.