DIOCESE OF BERLIN AND GERMANY: December 2, 2006
The Diocesan Council, Monasteries and Faithful of the German Diocese Express Their Support for Metropolitan Laurus
The text of the “Act of Canonical Communion” as well as the text of the “Summary of the Work of the Commissions,” were translated into German after their publication in Russian and disseminated in both languages among the clergy and parishes of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. In the latter part of November, over two Sundays, the parishioners of the Diocese were provided the opportunity to sign the following letter:
To His Eminence Laurus,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Your Eminence Vladyka, bless us!
Having acquainted ourselves with the published text of the “Act of Canonical Communion,” we thank you and the Council and Synod of Bishops that approved the Act. We recognize that the Russian Orthodox Church is, and will be, one. She is strong in her conciliarity as confirmed by this Act. The Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, who in their time commended their lives into the hands of God and to His will, desired just such a future conciliarity of the Russian Church. May the will of the Lord be manifested! We pray that in the coming year of 2007, your efforts and those of the entire Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad will bring the sought-after fruit, that the “Act of Canonical Communion” will be enacted, whereby all previous obstacles fall and new constructive ecclesiastical paths are opened.
With love and gratitude, asking your hierarchal prayers,
We remain Your Eminence's children in Christ,
Depending on the size of each parish, dozens or even hundreds of parishioners signed. Since there were no great feast days, the number of parishioners was limited to those who attend church regularly, and so the results reflect specifically the active parishioners of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany. No less than 90% of the faithful, and often more, support the decisions of the Council and Synod of Bishops and welcome the expected signing of the Act.
Similar support exists among the clergy, consisting of 35 individuals. This was shown during the Diocesan Assembly of December 2005, when the delegates for the IV All-Diaspora Council were elected from among the clergymen and wardens, and also when two bishops visited the parishes of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany.
At the Diocesan Assembly of October 2-3, 2006, Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany and Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart, who had both recently been to Russia, also expressed their points of view on the developing process of unity. After laying out the challenges which they see in their ecclesiastical work, the clergymen and representatives of the parishes of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany, the final document of the Assembly stated the following:
We welcome the recent decision of our Synod of Bishops, which opened the path to joint discussion and resolution of these problems on a new level of the church in general and on the diocesan level. We have in view the participation of representatives of our Diocese of Berlin and Germany in constructive work of the Church in Russia, and the prospect of cooperation of the two diocesan structures of the Russian Church in Germany.”
(For the full text of the Resolution, visit this link:
Very significant for all the clergymen and wardens was the level of independence spelled out in the Act in connection with to the normalization of canonical relations, and they accordingly stress the need to tend to the preservation of a pastoral approach and other traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The fears of clergymen who regard the Act with suspicion are to be addressed with similar care.
The newly-elected Diocesan Council of 2006 unanimously adopted the above letter to Metropolitan Laurus. Both monastic communities of the German Diocese, the men's Monastery of St Job of Pochaev (Munich) and the Convent of Holy New Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth (Buchendorff) also unanimously supported this letter.