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MUNICH: December 1, 2010
Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolamsk Heads the Celebration of the30th Anniversary of the Episcopacy of Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany

On November 30, 2010, celebrations were held at the Cathedral of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia and St Nicholas in Munich on the 30th anniversary of the episcopal consecration of His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the President of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, His Eminence Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolamsk officiated at Divine Liturgy. Also participating in the divine service was His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia; Archbishop Mark; His Eminence Archbishop Feofan of Berlin and Germany of the Moscow Patriarchate; His Grace Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart and His Grace Bishop Sofian of Brasov (Romanian Orthodox Church). The bishops were joined by approximately 30 other clergymen of the Russian and other Local Orthodox Churches.

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During Liturgy, at the request of His Beatitude Metropolitan Christopher Christopher of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Metropolitan Ilarion ordained Hierodeacon Isaiah (Slaninki), presently studying in Germany, to the rank of hieromonk.

After the dismissal, Metropolitan Ilarion addressed the worshipers:

    Your Eminence, dear Vladyka Metropolitan Hilarion,
    Your Eminence, Dear Vladyka Mark,
    Dear bishops, fathers, brothers and sisters:

    We celebrated Divine Liturgy together today, and prayed for our brother, His Eminence Archbishop Mark, who celebrates his 30th anniversary since his episcopal consecration today.

    I traveled to this city in order to congratulate you, dear Vladyka Mark, on behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who asked me to relay to you on this important day his warmest and most earnest wish that you continue to labor for many blessed years to the benefit of the Holy Russian Orthodox Church, towards which you devote all your efforts.

    To His Holinesscongratulations I would like to add my own humble words. Dear Vladyka, you came to the Orthodox faith during a time when it was difficult to imagine a spiritual rebirth, of which we are witnesses and participants ourselves today. You came when the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was a Church in exile, when there was no living bond between the Church in the diaspora and the Church in the Fatherland. The archpastors who participated in your consecration have not lived to see this day, when we all celebrate Divine Liturgy together, communing from one Chalice, and lift our prayers to God with one heart and one mouth. But the Lord granted you the opportunity not only to witness these events, but to participate in them.

    As early as the 1990s, you initiated dialog with your brother hierarch, His Eminence Archbishop Feofan, in order to mark the path for cooperation, mutual support and aid, even when there was no communion between the Church in the Fatherland and the Church in the diaspora. Later, when the process of discussions between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church Abroad began, you were among its participants, and in many ways, thanks to your efforts, that blessed event finally took place which allowed us to be communicants of one Chalice and concelebrators at one altar table.

    Dear Vladyka! Today, as I heard the readings from the Epistle and the Gospel, I could not help but think of your life, about how your life and your service corresponds with our guidance from the Apostles, the legacy left to us by Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul says that the Lord grants each person various gifts: to one, faith, to another the gifts of healing to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues (I Corinthians 12:9-10). You, dear Vladyka, possess many gifts. It was your firm faith that helped you over the course of several decades to bear the torch of the Orthodox faith in a heterodox land, to preach to those near and far the kingdom of God come with power (Mark 9:1), to bear witness to the truth of Orthodox before heterodox Christians. Thanks to your profound knowledge, including the knowledge of languages, in recent years you have made important contributions to inter-Orthodox cooperation, participating with me in the inter-Orthodox process towards bringing order to the joint existence of the Local Orthodox Churches. The Lord granted you the gift of tongues and the gift of interpreting languages: you speak Russian like few Russians do today, and this helps you communicate with a broad scope of people. And when you visit Russia, you are not greeted as a foreigner but as our own, because you have drunk in so deeply of the Russian culture and Russian spirituality, that you have become an authentic vehicle of them.

    Celebrating with you today in this temple, to which you have devoted a few decades of your life, celebrating on this important anniversary together with you and our concelebrant bishops and your flock, I would like to wish that the Lord strengthens you physically and spiritually, helping you in your great and responsible service, which you have now carried out for thirty years. I hope that God helps you be that good shepherd who calleth his own and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice (John 10:2-4). These words from todays Gospel reading fully apply to you as a hierarch of the Church of God and the shepherd of the speaking flock.

    I wish you Gods help, that the Lord always bolsters your strength, that the Most-Holy Mother of God be your helper and heavenly intercessor, that by the prayers of all the saints, the prayers of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, whom you especially revere, the Lord grant you the power to carry on your lofty and responsible service to the benefit of the entire Russian Orthodox Church and world Orthodoxy.

Metropolitan Ilarion then gave Archbishop Mark the gift of a panaghia.

Archbishop Mark thanked everyone who participated in the days celebration and common prayer. Addressing Metropolitan Ilarion, he said:

    Your Eminence, I ask you to pass on my bow to His Holiness the Patriarch along with my fervent gratitude for sending you here, that he requested that you lead todays service and to represent him before us all today. For me this is a great honor, and I am thankful for it.

After the divine service, a festive trapeza was held in the parish hall attended by the hierarchs and clergymen, as well as monastics and laity visiting Munich to congratulate him.

Later in the day, Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolask returned to Moscow.

Press Service of the DECR