Orthodox spiritual center to be built in Berlin
Berlin, April 18, 2013
An Orthodox center with a stone church, Sunday school, library, hostel
for pilgrims and kindergarten is to be built in the Marzahn district of
Berlin, said Abbot Daniel (Irbits), the Superior of St George’s
Monastery in Gotschendorf and secretary to the Archbishop of Berlin and
Germany, in an interview withRIA Novosti on Wednesday.
According to him there are currently six parishes of the Russian
Orthodox Church in Berlin, including "one German-language parish opened
at the request of native Germans converted to the Orthodox faith".
According to the media about 40,000 representatives of the
Russian-speaking population live in the Marzahn district of Berlin.
A piece of land which is 5,572 square meters in size, situated on
Cosmonauts Avenue, was recently acquired by the Russian Church.
"The need to build an Orthodox church in the eastern district of
Berlin--Marzahn--became apparent long ago. This is because the majority
of our compatriots live precisely in this district and they need an
Orthodox church. Letters were constantly received by the diocese of
Berlin addressed to the ruling Bishop, Archbishop Theophan of Berlin and
Germany, from the district's residents asking for an Orthodox community
to be founded there. And now, glory be to God, such an opportunity has
come," said Abbot Daniel.
According to him the Orthodox community of Marzahn at present has to
rent premises, but at the same time preparatory work to build a
temporary wooden church has begun. Its total area will be 225 square
meters and 17 meters in height. The wooden church is expected to
accommodate up to 250 people (until the stone church has been completed).
"The community wishes to finish building the wooden church by 28 August
this year," said Abbot Daniel. The Orthodox Church celebrates the feast
of the Dormition of the Mother of God on that day.
At the same time he specified that the wooden church will be built using
donations. However, he did not give the donors’ names, explaining that
"those who contributed as they could to building the wooden church in
Marzahn wished to remain anonymous".
The agency's spokesman had difficulty in replying when he was asked how
many people there are in the Orthodox community in Berlin today. "On
great feasts it happens that even our Cathedral (the Cathedral of the
Resurrection) is not big enough to accommodate all the worshippers," he
Speaking about the appearance of the Orthodox center in Berlin, Abbot
Daniel said that "First of all, an Orthodox church will be here to
accommodate a living community". "With premises for a Sunday school, an
icon-painting workshop, an Orthodox library, a hostel for pilgrims, a
dining-room for the needy and, of course, an Orthodox kindergarten which
is also much needed in the center of the German capital, will be located
around the church. The main thing is that the city authorities will meet
us halfway," said the agency's spokesman.
According to him, as soon as a kindergarten is open at the Orthodox
center, Church representatives will be ready to sit at the negotiating
table with the city deputies to discuss obtaining the various
authorizations. "This is justa question of time," he added. When the
stone church will be built is not yet known. According to Fr. Daniel,
everything depends on possible financial helpfrom donors. "And first of
all, before starting this work, we must receive a blessing from his
Holiness Patriarch Kirill and submit the general architectural plans to
his discretion and approval," said the Abbot.
He specified that they hope to draw up three possible plans for the
future church which then will be shown to the Church authorities. The
Moscow architect Alexander Novikov is running the project to build the
stone church and the Orthodox center.
According to information from the official website of the Diocese of
Berlin and Germany of the Russian Orthodox Church, at the moment there
are about 1 million Orthodox believers in Germany, among them Russians,
Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians and Romanians. In the last 15 years over
300,000 people have arrived in the country from Russia and countries of
the former Soviet Union, and many of them are Orthodox Christians. There
are currently over 60 parishes in the diocese of Berlin and Germany and
over 50 priests and deacons serve in them. There are parishes of the
Russian Church in all German cities.