GERMAN DIOCESE: March 14, 2005

Communique from the Chancery of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany on the International Russian People's Council in Moscow


On March 9-10, His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, along with the Diocesan Secretary, Protopriest Nikolai Artemoff, participated in the International Russian People's Council, headed by His Holiness Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia. The Patriarch opened the Council. In his absence, representing the Church was Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad. During the plenary session held on the first day, His Eminence Archbishop Mark read a brief address. Also representing the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia were the Secretary of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York, Mitred Protopriest George Larin, and the Dean of the Third Deanery of the Diocese of San Francisco and Western America, Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, who is also the Secretary of the Committee on discussions with the Moscow Patriarchate. The representatives of the Russian Church Abroad participated in one part of the Council, and Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff and Metropolitan Kirill jointly answered questions posed by journalists during the concluding press conference.

On March 10, 2005, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, an agreement was signed between His Eminence Archbishop Mark and His Grace Bishop Feofan of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz (ROC/MP) at the Patriarchal Residence in the presence of His Holiness the Patriarch, which will form the foundation of the further cooperation of the two dioceses and through them, of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

The accord was signed with the press and television reporters present. Television news stations reported on this event immediately following the main item regarding the death of Aslan Maskhadov, the organizer of numerous terrorist acts, including the one in Beslan. Images of the students of the school in Beslan were shown, and the moment of their release, followed by the signing of the agreement.

After the signing, the participants were offered an opportunity to speak with His Holiness the Patriarch. Additional participants in this discussion, besides the two diocesan bishops who signed the document, were Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk, Administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate, Protopriest Nikolai Artemoff, Protopriest Nikolai Balashov (DECA) and the recently-ordained Andrei Sikoeff (Diocese of Berlin and Germany of the ROCOR). The conversation was animated and constructive, lasting for approximately an hour. Then the remaining journalists interviewed Archbishop Mark and Bishop Feofan.

Following is the text of the agreement:

between the
Diocese of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz of the
Moscow Patriarchate
the Diocese of Berlin and Germany of the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia


Russian Orthodox Christians living in the diaspora throughout the world have responded with sympathetic love to the victims of the terrorist act in Northern Ossetia in the first days of September 2004 in which defenseless children, their parents and teachers were attacked in the city of Beslan. Prayers burned throughout the diaspora, first for the emancipation of the children and their parents, then, for the repose of the dead, the healing of the wounded, the Christ's consolation for the mourning and suffering. Immediately after the freeing of the hostages, the goal was set by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in the following form: to provide medical and spiritual aid, united and as a whole. In September and November 2004, the German Diocese, with the blessing of Archbishop Mark, sent planes containing medical equipment to Northern Ossetia.

The long-term goal is the spiritual strengthening and aid in healing the seriously injured society of Northern Ossetia. For this, the rebirth of ecclesiastical supports and the bolstering of church structures are needed, and also the creation of establishments connected to them for the aid to those children and their families who have suffered physically and emotionally, both in Beslan itself and throughout Northern Ossetia.

The Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia will jointly build a convent, the plans for which have already been prepared, and also a new therapeutic-trauma center in the convent.

I. The Work of the Diocese of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz of the Moscow Patriarchate to Date.

- The reconstruction of residential units for nuns and the construction of the unfinished church in Epiphany Convent.

- Joint project on-site planning performed by clergymen of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

- Support of research, the establishment of contact with the suffering and with the mass media.

- The organization of meetings for the creation of plans, providing premises.

- The support for work with German television companies on-site (Beslan, Northern Ossetia) to cover this project.

II. The Work of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to Date.

- The delivery of medical equipment for the children's medical clinic by employing German support, specifically, the Kindernothilfe Foundation of the Bundeskanzleramt of the FRG, in the amount of 10 million rubles.

- Social work (calls for donations in the German Diocese and throughout the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on behalf of Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany).

- Collections for the training of trauma therapists in Northern Ossetia, including instructors, social workers and church helpers (clergymen, nuns, etc). This work began in February 2005 with a budget of 10 million rubles.

- The invitation of German organizations for support for future aid. As a result, the Kindernothilfe, in direct contact with the Diocese of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz, is helping by providing 20 million rubles.

III. Further Joint Actions.

1. Long-term support in the construction of Epiphany Convent in Northern Ossetia (appeals for donations already published).

2. Support for the monastics in their needs (over the course of three years).

3. The transfer to Epiphany Convent of a part of the relics of Holy Martyrs Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna and Nun Varvara (their relics now repose at Gethsemane Convent of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia).

4. The complete financing of the construction of a baptistery in the name of Holy Prophet, the Forerunner, John the Baptist, on the grounds of Epiphany Convent.

5. Assisting in the financing of a trauma therapy center at the convent through goal-oriented therapy in cooperation with Kindrenothilfe of the FRG.

6. Joint search for further material aid (donations).

7. Assistance in the acquisition of a bus for pilgrimages throughout Russia.

8. Joint church measures and seminars for the two dioceses.City of Moscow, Patriarchal Residence, March 10, 2005

With the blessing and presence of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia, the present agreement is signed by:

+MARK, Archbishop of Berlin and Germany
(Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia)

+FEOFAN, Bishop of Stavropol and Vladikavkas
(Moscow Patriarchate)