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 By: Marina Chudenko, Information Officer ELCROS – 22.12.2008

[Russia] ELCER: Consecration of the Lutheran Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Moscow

Bishop Ratz: "This Church Lives for this Country, this City, these People"

More than 600 parish members and guests came to the consecration
"'And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.' (Matthew 21:8). Isn’t it the same thing we are doing today as well? Marble floor and benches, carpet and baptistery, pulpit, altar and stained glass windows. With all of this we prepare the way for the Lord", emphasised the deputy of the Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States (ELCROS), Siegfried Springer, in his sermon during the consecration service at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedreal in Moscow on the First Sunday of Advent, November 30th, 2008.
About 600 parish members and guests gathered together this day in the cathedral, which was built in 1905, was closed in 1938, and became once again a church after 70 years in the full sense of the word. "This church lives for this country, this city, these people", say the Archbishop of the ELCROS and the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of European Russia (ELCER), DR Edmund Ratz, in his speech on the history of the increase, the destruction, and the resurgence of Lutheranism in Russia. The ceremony of consecration was carried out by Archbishop Ratz and Rev. Dmitrij Lotow. "This our Cathedral Sts. Peter and Paul shall be again a visible expression of our Lutheran creed here in Moscow", preached Siegfried Springer. The big Litany of Intercession was held by Rev. Lotow, the Provostof the Central Collegiate Church Harry Asikow and Rev. Alexander Räder.

The greetings of the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), DR Ismael Noko, the Archbishop of the Roman-Catholic Church, Paolo Pezze, and the Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical-Lutheran Church, Janis Vanags, sent on the occasion of the consecration were read by Rev. Lotow. "We, in the Lutheran World Federation, trust, that this celebration will be a model of hope and faith", says Ismael Noko.

"The act of consecration of the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral registers in the celebration of 440 years of Lutheranism in Russia. It is a testimony of an adamant faith as well as of your perseverance with the Word of God", said the Bishop of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland, Janusz Jagucki. The celebration of the consecration was also perceived as an additional step towards the revival of faith nation-wide by the Russian government. "Since the 16th century, the Lutheran Church dedicatedly gave social services. The state will readily continue to support it", assured the Advisor of the President’s Administration for Internal Affairs, Sergej Melnikow.
The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Hans Jürgen Schmied, referred to the act of consecration as "document of the contribution of the German people to the life and culture of Russia". He especially thanked Siegfried Springer for his effort and assured, that it should work to guarantee the funding of further building operations.
Afterwards, all guest received a Russian-German-English celebratory brochure, which was prepared by the employees of the ELCER administration, lead by Alexander Zerr.
The pastors and delegates of the 15th Synod of the ELCER, which met afterwards from December 1st through 3rd, 2008 in Moscow, participated in the consecration service.

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