Eminence Metropolitan Laurus Officiates at the Celebrations of the
25th Anniversary of the Episcopal Service of Archbishop Mark of
Berlin and Germany
Saturday and Sunday, October 8-9, 2005, the German Diocese celebrated
the 25th anniversary of the archpastoral service of their Vladyka,
Archbishop Mark. The Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God was brought
by the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus. Some 500 persons from
throughout the Diocese were in attendance. Guests from the furthest
reaches of the diaspora, and from Russia, came: Archbishop Kyrill
of San Francisco and Western America, a regular member of the Synod
of Bishops; Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), Abbess Moissea of
the Mt of Olives Convent of the Ascension; Abbess Elizabeth of Gethsemane
Convent, clergymen from England and Switzerland, and numerous other
On Saturday evening, the feast day of Apostle and Evangelist John
the Theologian, Metropolitan Laurus arrived at the Cathedral of
the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia bearing the Kursk-Root
Icon of the Mother of God, the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora.
His Eminence Vladyka served all-night vigil along with Archbishop
Mark, Archbishop Kyrill and Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart. The large
choir sang with great inspiration under the direction of VV Tsiolkovich.
Seventeen priests emerged for the litiya, at which Archbishop Kyrill
officiated. The anointing with oil of the worshipers lasted until
the great doxology. Vladyka Agapit then continued serving until
the end of vigil.
On Sunday, during Divine Liturgy, a great many churchgoers partook
of the Holy Gifts from four chalices. At the end of his sermon,
Metropolitan Laurus congratulated Vladyka Mark, who is not only
responsible for the Diocese of Germany and Great Britain but also
oversees the monasteries in the Holy Land and heads discussions
with the Moscow Patriarchate.
The visiting bishops stayed at the new convent quarters in Munich.
As the Senior Priest of the Cathedral explained, all the parishes
of the German Diocese, plus the ones in Copenhagen and London, participated
not only with gifts but in the organization of the celebratory trapeza,
which was attended by over 400 persons, not to speak of the divine
services. One hundred thirty-five people needed places to stay overnight.
The parish set up a tent on the church grounds. The Sisterhood and
helpers worked non-stop for two days preparing.
Many guests delivered congratulations during the trapeza. Bishop
Agapit first greeted all the guests who came to share in the festivities.
Bishop Agapit, who embarked upon his monastic path over 25 years
ago under the guidance of then-Father Mark shared some of his recollections
of the path he traveled with his Abbot. A children's choir then
sang a humorous song of the relationship between Vladyka and the
children, on his teaching in school and other activities. The older
children of the Russian School recited the poetry of a parishioner
of the Cathedral, A Immler, written in honor of Vladyka Mark, after
which a youth choir under the direction of the young Maxim Matjuschenkoff
sang two folk songs and a solemn Many Years.
Archimandrite Tikhon, Prior of Sretensky Stavropighial Monastery
in Moscow, read the following greeting from His Holiness Patriarch
Alexy of Moscow and All Russia:
"Your Eminence, Dear Vladyka!
I extend heartfelt greeting to you on this momentous day in your
life—the 25th anniversary of your episcopal consecration.
Over these years, the Lord has given much for you to accomplish
and endure. Still, through these worldly tribulations, you always
served as an example of loyalty to the Holy Church and to your calling.
With your natural sense of duty you fulfill the laborious work of
Orthodox witness in the Russian Diaspora. You perform your pastoral
work with love and zeal, building new churches, educating the younger
generation in the spirit of the traditional moral principles of
Holy Russia and you lead many people towards faith in Christ.
It brings joy to see that, through no small effort, you make your
own contribution to the good work of overcoming the existing division
between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church
Outside of Russia.
On this important day of yours I prayerfully wish you, dear Vladyka,
the all-strengthening aid of God in your further archpastoral work.
May the Lord preserve you through the intercession of the Queen
of Heaven in health and success for many good years to come!"
The ending words were caught up by the people, who began to sing
Archbishop Kyrill, who had traveled halfway around the world, from
San Francisco, to participate in the Munich celebrations, greeted
his brother bishop on his own behalf and that of his flock, and
presented Archbishop Mark with a painted icon of SS Cyril and Methodius,
who are the heavenly protectors of the High School dedicated to
them at the Cathedral in San Francisco. Fr Tikhon congratulated
Vladyka Mark on behalf of his monastery, mentioning both Archbishop
Mark's archpastoral love and his accessibility. He also recalled
his first personal meeting with the Russian Church Abroad in the
person of Vladyka Mark in the late 1980's, his role in providing
an understanding of our Church in real life and not from books.
Protopriest Slobodan Milunovic, representing the Serbian Church,
spoke of the friendly bonds between Vladyka Mark and the Serbian
Orthodox Church. The abbesses of the Convents of the Mount of Olives
and Gethsemane also spoke, giving Vladyka Mark gifts from their
sister nuns. Protopriest Nikolai Artemoff, Senior Priest of the
Cathedral, presented the official gift of the German Diocese: a
set of blue vestments with a mitre.
Other gifts to Vladyka Mark were also presented by private individuals
before and after the service: a matching panaghia and staff and
two other sets of vestments. A dark-red sakkos with a large omophorion
is being prepared in Moscow to match an existing embroidered set
from the Holy Land consisting of an omophorion, epitrachelion and
One of the schoolchildren recited a poem on the archpastoral difficulties
of their bishop.
The honoree then spoke, thanking his colleagues and flock. "If
I were asked about this celebration," said Vladyka, "I
would certainly have forbid it." He expressed the feeling that
less was done than still needs doing, that a great many tasks lie
ahead in serving God and Holy Orthodoxy.
Two representatives of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation
were present. Consul BP Arkhipov addressed Archbishop Mark on behalf
of the Consul-General, AP Karachevtsev, who could not attend himself
because of other urgent matters.
As tea and dessert was offered, the organizers of the event, Senior
Sister VG Mondich and AI Immler, made speeches.
Concluding the addresses was Priest Vadim Zakrevsky from England,
who nourishes the flock of London's Dormition Cathedral, of which
Vladyka Mark is the Rector.
Despite the great number of guests, the trapeza was so bountiful
that remaining food was divided among the two Munich monasteries
and the faithful. This day passed under magnificent weather in an
elevated mood, with pomp, but, as the Consul said, "as amidst
a big family."
BIOGRAPHY OF ARCHBISHOP MARK
Archbishop Mark was born Michael Arndt on January 29, 1941, in Saxony,
where the first Russian bishop of German origin was also born, Metropolitan
After finishing the 13-year school program in Frankfurt am Main
in 1960, the future bishop volunteered for military service in Western
Germany, where he served for 1 _ years. He was later drafted several
times later and reached the rank of lieutenant-senior.
In 1962, he enrolled in the Historical-Philological Department in
Frankfurt University, transferring later to Heidelberg University.
There he specialized in Slavic and English, including Russian, Serbo-Croatian,
Slovak, Czech and Macedonian languages and literature. His doctoral
thesis was entitled: "Biographical Literature of the Tver Duchy
in the 14th and 15th Centuries."
The study of Russian drew the young student to the Russian émigré
community in Frankfurt. Studying under Professor Dimitri Chizhevsky
in Heidelberg, he visited Mannheim's Church of St Alexander Nevsky
of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, where he converted
to Orthodoxy in 1964, later becoming a reader. Trips to Mt Athos,
his friendship with Athonite elders on Karoulia (Hiero-schemamonk
Seraphim, a second Hiero-schema-monk Seraphim, Hiero-schema-monk
Nikolai, Schema-monk Nikodemos), visits to the Skete of St Elias
and St Panteleimon Monastery, where he became acquainted with Hiero-schema-monk
Avel (now Archimandrite at St John the Theologian Monastery in Ryazan')
spiritually determined the path of this Doctor of Slavic Studies.
His further scholarly work concentrated on St Philaret of Moscow.
Starting in the fall of 1973, the future Vladyka began studying
theology in Belgrade, where he graduated with a degree in theology
in 1979. His personal acquaintance with Archimandrite Justin (Popovic),
living then in exile in Celije Monastery, drew him into the tightly-knit
group of the Serbian elder's students, then hieromonks, now bishops
of the Serbian Orthodox Church—Amphilochius, Afanasi, Artemije and
Ordained to the rank of deacon in 1975, the future Vladyka Mark
soon dropped teaching Church Slavonic and Ancient Russian Language
and Literature in Erlangen, and also his scholarly work, in order
to be tonsured to the monkhood, performed in the summer of 1975
in Lesna Convent near Paris. Three days later, Fr Mark was ordained
hieromonk and appointed as Deputy Rector of the Russian church in
Wiesbaden. In the summer of 1976, by decree of the Synod of Bishops,
he was elevated to rank of archimandrite. Archbishop Paul (Pavlov,
+1995), then Bishop of Stuttgart and South Germany. Archimandrite
Mark ministered to three parishes—Wiesbaden, Darmstadt and Saarbrukken.
He devoted himself to preserving the Czarist-era churches in Germany,
renovating and expanding the Russian cemetery near the Wiesbaden
church, where he performed the full cycle of monastic services,
and where he began teaching the young people he attracted, while
at the same time continuing his theological studies, successfully
passing examinations in Belgrade.
After the death of Archbishop Theodosius of Sydney, Australia and
New Zealand, the Synod of Bishops appointed His Grace Bishop Paul,
then Vicar of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany. Bishop Paul's see
was then given to Archimandrite Mark, who was to assume the title
of Bishop of Munich and Southern Germany. His consecration was performed
on November 30, 1980, at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the
Sign in New York. As is tradition, during the rite of nomination,
Archimandrite Mark read a sermon in which one could see a repeating
theme, that of how to lead his flock. He had warm words regarding
his spiritual closeness to the Serbian theologian and ascetic, Archimandrite
Justin (Popovic, +1979) and also to Holy Mount Athos. The consecration
was headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky, +1985),
along with Archbishop Vitaly of Montreal and Canada, and Archbishop
Anthony of San Francisco and Western America, Bishop Laurus of Holy
Trinity and Syracuse, Bishop Paul of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand
and Bishop Gregory (Grabbe, +1995) of Manhattan.
After his consecration, Bishop Mark moved to the Monastery of St
Job of Pochaev in Munich with a small monastic community. The monastery
was reestablished and renovated. From 1981, the periodical Vestnik
Germanskoj Eparkhii [Bulletin of the German Diocese] began publication,
a printing press was established (publishing works in Russian and
German), and the production of candles and incense began. The monastery
followed the Athonite rule. In the fall of 1982, Bishop Mark, because
of the serious illness of Archbishop Filofei (Narko), accepted the
title of Bishop of Berlin and Germany, but continued to reside in
the Munich monastery, from where he continues to rule the German
In the mid-1980's, Vladyka Mark was appointed Ruling Bishop of the
Diocese of Great Britain and Rector of St Alexander Nevsky Parish
In 1997, he was appointed Overseer of the Russian Ecclesiastical
Mission in Jerusalem.
From 1993-1997, he headed the dialog between the two dioceses (of
the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate)
in the united Germany. Since 2000, he has been the President of
the Committee on the Unity of the Russian Church, and since 2003,
the President of the Commission on talks with the Moscow Patriarchate.