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MUNICH: May 13, 2009
Youth Group Holds a Procession of the Cross to the Former Concentration Camp in Dachau

On May 8-9, 2009, for the first time, young people conducted a procession of the cross from the Orthodox Monastery of St Job of Pochaev in Munich (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) to the former concentration camp in Dachau, where there is a Russian Orthodox memorial chapel belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, as reported by Sedmitza.ru.

On May 8, several dozen young people from 15 parishes of the two German dioceses (ROCOR and MP) gathered at the Skete of Grand Duchess Elizabeth in the Bavarian town of Buchendorf. Abbess Maria (Sediropolou) acquainted the visitors with the history of this convent, which was established in October 2005, telling them about daily life at the community, showing them the sewing, bookbinding and other workshops, where 9 sisters conduct their work.

Protopriest Nikolai Zabelic of Munich, Rector of Holy Resurrection Community of Dachau and Munich (Moscow Patriarchate), told the participants of the procession about the history of the Dachau camp and its Orthodox Christian prisoners, among whom was St Nikolai (Velimirovich) of Serbia (1881-1956). At the beginning of the war, St Nikolai was imprisoned by the Nazis in the Serbian Racovica Monastery, and later, via Vojlovica, he was transferred to the Dachau camp, where he underwent horrible sufferings. Yet the Lord preserved St Nikolai, who after his emancipation made his way to America, where he took up educational and theological work.

The young pilgrims participated in evening and morning services at the convent, and on May 9, boarded minivans and departed for the Monastery of St Job of Pochaev, where they learned of the history of this community, founded in a suburb of Munich in December 1945.

The procession of the cross towards Dachau took several hours. Priest Ilya Limberger of St Nicholas Church in Stuttgart, member of ROCOR’s Synod Youth Department and organizer of the event, said that the young people not only came to know each other on their way to the memorial complex, but also prayed, singing Paschal songs, and during brief stopovers read excerpts from the works of St Nikolai.

Fr Nikolai and Fr Ilya then performed a pannikhida and a short moleben to St Nikolai at the Orthodox chapel in the former concentration camp. At its conclusion, the youth heard an appeal written by a resident of Munich, 90-year-old invalid Margarita Borisovna Kotikovskaya, who survived the Blockade of Leningrad. Her name is known to Russian television viewers from the recent documentary “Margarita’s List.”

Fr Ilya noted at the end of the procession that the idea of creating a “youth diocese” in Germany is making its initial manifestation at this event.