November 13, 2009

Russian Church Likely To End Dialogue With German Lutherans

Russian Church is Probable to Suspend its Dialogue with German Lutherans

Moscow, 12 November 2009, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Church is ready to suspend the dialogue with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany after woman bishop Margot Kaessmann has become its leader.

“We planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our dialogue with the Lutheran Church in Germany in late November or early December. The 50th anniversary of the dialogue will become the end of it,” head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk was quoted as saying by the Kommersant daily on Thursday.

Archbishop Hilarion reminded that Orthodoxy did not accept female priesthood.

“We can develop the dialogue, but this raises lots of simple protocol questions. How will the Patriarch address her or meet with her?” the Russian Church representative said.

Kaessmann, 51, a divorced mother of four daughters, was elected head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany, which unites over twenty Lutheran and Reformed Churches, during the Synod held on October 28.

Russian Lutherans supported the Moscow Patriarchate official’s statement and agreed that a female episcopate is a sign of crisis in the Western society.

“We don’t have women bishops as introducing such an institute is not a Biblical action,” general secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria (Russia) Fr. Alexander Prilutsky said.

Update from February 24, 2010: Germany's Protestant head quits after drink driving arrest