Dienstag, 20. Januar 2009

The Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Munich

(From this article on the homepage of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.)
The history of the Russian Orthodox community in Munich begins in 1798, when a Russian consulate was established on the Ottostrasse, where, as was customary, a chapel was erected. From 1832 on, the members of the consulate and their families would attend Salvatorkirche Greek Orthodox Church in the center of town. It was here that the poet and diplomat Feodor Tiutchev was married and baptized his five children.

In 1921, local Russians formed the Community of St Nicholas. The parish would assemble at two church locations they did not own: the Mathildenstift hall on a street of that name, and a barracks on Denningerstrasse. Priests would travel from afar, sometimes from as far away as Poland.

In the early 1990's, the parish was able to purchase an edifice from the German government for a church of their own—a church built in the middle of the 20th century by Americans and abandoned after they withdrew their military personnel from the country. This church drew the attention of the clergy and parishioners through its proximity to a prison in which one of the founders of the student group ‘White Rose’, Alexander Schmorell, was executed. Shmorell was glorified as a local saint by the German Diocese of ROCOR in 2007. The church is also close to the cemetery at Perlacher Forst, where Schmorell and his fellow members of ‘White Rose’, as well as a multitude of Russian prisoners of war and ‘Ostarbeiters’, are buried.

The church was remodeled from an American Romano-Gothic style to a traditional Pskovian style. In 2001, 13 bells cast by the Shuvalov brothers in Romano-Borisoglebsk (near Yaroslavl) were hoisted into the bell tower.

In May, 2005, the adjoining Chapel of St Nicholas was consecrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, then-Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

The Munich Cathedral became the first church of the Russian Church Abroad in which His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia served after the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion: on November 29, 2007, His Holiness performed a moleben and akathist before the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God here.

Today, the Cathedral on average hosts a hundred or so baptisms, 15-20 weddings and a similar number of funerals every year. Sunday services draw approximately 250 worshipers, and over a thousand people gather on Pascha. The main language used in the services is Church Slavonic, while the Epistles and Gospel are read in German. Every Wednesday, vespers is performed in German, and once a month, a choir of Orthodox Germans sings an early Liturgy. The parish publishes materials in both Russian and German.

Over 130 children are enrolled in the parish school. The curriculum includes Russian and Church Slavonic, Russian history and literature and choir. The Law of God is taught from the first grade on a high-school level, in accordance with a program approved by the Bavarian Ministry of Culture. Grades given at the school are counted on the students' educational record.

‘The number of Russian parishes in Germany is growing as a result of new immigrants and those who come here to work. Since the beginning of the 1990's, the greatest number of Russians—3.5 million—has come to Germany, a country of 80 million, while in comparison, 3 million have come to the USA, and 1.5 million to Israel’, noted Protopriest Nikolai Artemoff in an interview granted to RIA Novosti.

The cities of Germany now count some 90 Russian parishes, though sometimes a single priest must minister to several at the same time.

According to one source, Munich now has two Russian monasteries (ROCOR) and three Russian parishes (two belonging to ROCOR and one to the MP). The Munich Cathedral is the largest church, is an active participant in city life and collaborates with the Theology Department of Munich University.

‘The Cathedral of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia and St Nicholas is today an active participant not only in Orthodox and Russian life in Munich, but in Munich life in general’, said the ROCOR representative.


Justin hat gesagt…

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