GERMAN DIOCESE: 7 October 2003


Pastoral Conference of the German Diocese

From 2-3 October, a Clergy Conference of the German Diocese was held in Frankfurt-am-Main under the presidency of Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany and Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart. Since Archbishop Mark also heads the United Kingdom and Danish churches, clergymen from those countries attended as well.

On the evening of 2 October, vespers and matins were served at St. Nicholas Church, and on the morning of the 3rd, divine liturgy. Accompanied by the singing of “Eternal Memory,” the repose of three venerable members of the German Diocese was commemorated: Viktor Nikolaevich Vishnevsky, the long-time warden of the Munich parish and the Diocesan Secretary, Varvara Konias, a member of the Diocesan Council, and Elena Milhers, organizer of the annual Orthodox Seminars in Frankfurt in the 1970's and 80's. The Conference itself included topics relating to practical and spiritual questions of pastoral work. A resolution was made on the topic of the meeting of the members of the Synod of Bishops with President of the Russian Federation, V.V. Putin (see below).

The Conference concluded with the singing of the troparion and kondakion of the Elevation of the Cross. Some participants joined the pilgrims who went to Limburg on Saturday, 4 October, where a Catholic cathedral dating back to the 11th century contains a rare reliquary with a piece of the Life-Giving Cross brought from Byzantium by the Crusaders.

Resolution of the German Diocesan Clergy Conference

The clergymen who gathered from all parts of Germany, as well as the United Kingdom and Denmark, welcome the prospects made possible by the meeting of the members of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia with the President of the Russian Federation, V.V. Putin, and the forthcoming steps towards the rapprochement of the two parts of the Russian Church--the Moscow Patriarchate and the Church Abroad: the trip of the delegation to Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow in November, the discussion of the meeting in Moscow by the expanded clergy conference of all the dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in December, the Council of Bishops, which will make a decision regarding possible future steps, and also the visit of Metropolitan Laurus to Moscow. We are certain that during our First Hierarch’s visit to Moscow, the voice of the Russian Church Abroad will be heard and accepted in an atmosphere of good will.

We see in the meeting of our First Hierarch with the President of the Russian Federation and the former’s forthcoming visit to Russia the manifestation of the decisions of the Councils of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia over the last ten years, and the organic extension of the measures which were taken over the course of those years.

During our discussions, we examined problems which continue to hinder ecclesiastical communion: questions of canonical right, of parallel structures in Russia and abroad, historical and property questions. These questions are subject to a united, conciliar resolution. It is clear that this process will be difficult. It is also clear that there are enough healthy forces in the Russian Church which would exhibit genuine inner unity.

We fraternally call upon all pastors of the Russian Church to prayerful and practical participation in the labor of the healing of wounds incurred upon the body of the Russian Church and the Orthodox people. The contribution of the Russian Church Abroad to the treasury of the spiritual experience of the Russian Church is possible, naturally, only with the preservation of her organic unity, independence and freedom.

Participants of the Clergy Conference
Great Martyr Eustathius, 3 October 2003
Church of St. Nicholas of Myra the Miracle-worker

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