The Orthodox Bishops’ Conference of Germany (OBKD) issued the following communiqué:
“The 19th session of the Orthodox Bishops’ Conference of Germany (OBKD) was held on March 23, 2019 at the headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Germany in Düsseldorf. The meeting was chaired by Metropolitan Augustine, the President of the OBKD. Representatives of the Greek, Serbian, and Romanian dioceses were present.
The bishops studied in depth the two letters recently sent to the OBKD by Archbishops Mark and Tikhon. In their response to the two bishops, who because of the decision of the Moscow Patriarchate do not currently participate in OBKD sessions, the bishops present at the session assessed these letters as “a plea for the continuation of the existence and pursuit of the work of the Orthodox Bishops’ Conference”.
However, the reorganization of the OBKD presidency especially proposed by Archbishop Tikhon “represents a change in the pan-Orthodox decision of the creation and organization of bishops’ conferences” and can therefore only be decided in a pan-orthodox way. It thus exceeds the OBKD’s competences. At the same time, the OBKD invites Russian bishops to “an informal discussion on further cooperation”.
In addition, the bishops’ Conference considered the reports on the work of its commissions, as usual, especially on the Orthodox religion course and inter-Christian relations. On this subject, a possible cooperation with the Academy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart was mentioned.
The OBKD autumn session will be held on October 19, 2019 in Bonn.”
We publish here the OBKD letter dated March 23, 2019, addressed to Archbishops Tykhon (Diocese of Germany – Moscow Patriarchate) and Mark (Diocese of Germany – ROCOR):
“Your Eminences, dear fellow bishops,
During today’s session, the Orthodox Bishops’ Conference of Germany has studied your letters dated February 12 and March 8 of this year, and decided the following. We discussed these two letters in depth and thank you for your interest in continuing pan-Orthodox cooperation. We appreciate this plea for the existence and continuation of the work of the Bishops’ Conference.
The reports of the dioceses and the deliberations of our bishops’ Conference have shown us that the development of the common life of our faithful, of our ecclesial communities, and of our dioceses cannot and must not be stopped.
Therefore, we encourage you to seek with us solutions for the pursuit of our cooperation which, without changing the current status decided in a pan-Orthodox way, will continue our Orthodox presence in Germany in a credible way.
With regard to your proposals for the reorganization of the OBKD presidency, we believe that a change in the decision concerning the creation and organization of the bishops’ Conference is a change that would directly or indirectly affect all existing bishops’ conferences in the world, and that this change can only be made in a pan-Orthodox way. As a result, it is beyond our competence.
We invite you, Eminent Brothers, to an informal discussion, and we will rejoice if you give a follow up to our invitation.
The date will have to be determined with Bishop Grigorije’s secretariat [Diocese of Germany of the Serbian Orthodox Church, TN].
In this time of Lent and repentance as a preparation for the holy Feast of Pascha, we are especially committed to the common cause of Orthodoxy and its future in Germany, “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21) and we greet you with fraternal blessings.
+ Metropolitan Augustine of Germany, Exarch of Central Europe, President of the Orthodox Bishops’ Conference of Germany.
Source in German