Samstag, 10. Januar 2009

What is a "German Orthodox Church?"

What is a "German Orthodox Church?"

It would seem to make sense, since there is a Serbian Orthodox Church, a Russian one, a Greek one, etc. But if you notice, these kinds of geography-specific Churches exist only in the East.

In regions historically under Roman Catholic influence, there were no national demarcations. Everything was just "Roman Catholic." Whereas in the East, the Orthodox Churches were (and are) for the most part administered locally.

Germany was obviously within the Roman area.

However, the Eastern Churches recognize that before the Great Schism in 1054, the Church of the Frankish, Saxon, and Teutonic regions was Orthodox in belief. So there was an Orthodox Church in Germany... under the administration of Rome. But then Rome went its separate way.

In modern times, Eastern European immigrants moved westward and brought their faith with them. So there is- now- an Orthodox Church living in modern Germany. Orthodox clergy have a responsibility to serve both the immigrant communities as well as indigenous Germans, and in the local language. Ethnic exclusivity is not the belief of the Orthodox Church.

Even in Orthodox Churches in the US you will hear German used along with a variety of languages usually during the celebration of the Resurrection. The priest will exclaim:

"Christus ist auferstanden!"
(Christ is Risen!)

And the people reply loudly:

"Er ist wahrhaftig auferstanden!"
(Truly He is risen!)