On October 3, 2018, in the city of Bonn, Germany, a Joint Pastoral Conference of the Clergymen of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany of the Moscow Patriarchate and of the German Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia took place.
That morning, in the Church of Holy Helen, Equal-to-the-Apostles, of Intercession Parish in the city of Bonn, Germany, His Eminence Archbishop Tikhon of Podolsk, Administrator of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany, officiated at Divine Liturgy. His Eminence was joined by His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany and His Grace Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart of ROCOR, and clergymen of both dioceses.
After Liturgy, the fourth gathering of the Join Pastoral Conference was held, at which a lecture was read by Priest Alexei Tereshchenko, “Draft Document of the Inter-Council Presence: ‘Professions Compatible and Incompatible With Clerical Service’: Experience in the Far Abroad.” A discussion period followed. Various topics relating to parish and diocesan life were then discussed.
Concluding the gathering was a review of the work of the gathering and a communique was adopted:
Communique of the Joint Pastoral Conference of the
On October 1-3, 2018, a joint pastoral conference of the clergymen of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany of the Moscow Patriarchate and of the German Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was held in Bonn, Germany, chaired by Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, Archbishop Tikhon of Podolsk, Administrator of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany, and Archbishop Agapit of Stuttgart.
On October 2-3, in the Church of St Elena, Equal-to-the-Apostles, of the Parish of the Intercession of the Most-Holy Mother of God (Moscow Patriarchate) in the city of Bonn, Divine Liturgy was celebrated. The working sessions of the conference then proceeded in the parish center.
The participants of the pastoral conference heard and deliberated on reports on youth ministry of the Church in Germany, specifics of the teaching of religion in schools, and also considered a draft document by the Inter-Council Presence titled “Professions Compatible and Incompatible With Clerical Service: Experience in the Far Abroad.” Professor AI Osipov of Moscow Theological Academy spoke on “On the 1030th Anniversary of the Baptism of Rus. The Choice of Holy Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles.”
The conferees stressed the importance of developing youth projects on the parish and diocesan levels in Germany and expressed a number of actual problems and challenges in the sphere of activity of representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church in the system of school education. In the matter of the compatibility of clerical and lay service, a decision was made to send the text of expressed comments and additions to the Sectional Commission of the Inter-Council Presence.
At the end of the second day, summations were made on the conference’s work.
The results of the discussions and deliberations held, the participants of the conference declare that over recent decades in Germany, thanks to the joint work of the archpastors and clergymen of the Orthodox dioceses of various jurisdictions, positive changes have been manifested regarding the role and position of Orthodoxy in the socio-political, educational and cultural contexts of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Thanks to the work of the Orthodox Episcopal Conference in Germany (OBKD), established in 2010 on the basis of the Commission of Orthodox Churches in Germany (KOKiD) founded in 1994, in cooperation with the government, various ecclesiastical projects are being developed on the teaching of the Law of God in general-education schools, prison and senior-home ministry, the integration of Orthodox migrants from Eastern Europe and the Near East and youth ministry.
As a result of the close coordination and consolidation of positions of Orthodox hierarchs in Germany, the Orthodox Church enjoys the respect of the government and society, has the opportunity for free, constructive work and the defense of their interests. Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church participating in the Episcopal Conference introduce their own initiatives connected with the life of both dioceses, taking into account actual possibilities and their own needs.
In connection with the activity of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine and the complications that followed in inter-Orthodox relations in today’s world, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on September 14, 2018, made the decision to deprive hierarchs of the Russian Church of the opportunity to participate in structures where chairmen or co-chairmen are representatives of the Constantinople Patriarchate. Expressing concern in this matter, the participants of the conference call for the strengthening of prayers for the unity of Holy Orthodoxy and, jointly with the hierarchs and clergymen of other dioceses of the Local Orthodox Churches in Germany, intend to make every effort to resolve the developing situation.