His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus Heads the Consecration of St Nicholas Chapel at the Cathedral of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in Munich


On the feast day of the Translation of the Relics of St Nicholas of Myra the Wonderworker, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York, performed the consecration of St Nicholas Chapel of the Munich Cathedral, along with His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan, His Grace Bishop Michael of Boston, His Grace Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart, the clergymen of the Cathedral and visiting clergymen, with an enormous number of faithful in attendance. On this day, His Grace Bishop Ambroise of Vevey officiated at services at the Russian Orthodox Church in Bari.

During World War II, Orthodox services of the German diocese were performed in the historic church Salvatorkirche in the center of town. Divine services were held in Slavonic and, in part, in Greek, since the church traditionally belonged to a Greek community. After the war, this church was transferred in its entirety to the Greek community, but since the number of Russian faithful there was enormous, a parish dedicated to St Nicholas was organized next to Salvatorkirche, in a large hall of a music school, one of 14 parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in post-war Munich. The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was also based in Munich at the time, headed by Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky, +1965) of blessed memory.

After the massive exodus of Russians from Bavaria to the countries across the Atlantic, the number of parishes in Munich began to diminish. The Synod departed for the USA in November, 1950. St Nicholas Parish had the largest space for worship, and after the death of His Eminence Archbishop Benedict (Bobkovsky, +1951), the new head of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany, Archbishop Alexander (Lovchy, +1973), made the church his cathedral on May 9/22, 1952.

At the end of the 1970's, a young generation of Russian Orthodox Christians began gathering funds to build this church and to seek out a site for it in Munich. After the glorification of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in November, 1981, it was decided that the future church should be dedicated to these newly-canonized saints, but it was decided that it was not appropriate to forget the protector so dear to the Russian heart, St Nicholas, and that one altar or a chapel was to be dedicated to him. For years, the efforts to purchase a plot of land for the church were fruitless, until 1993, when a site was obtained with a church belonging to an American military base in the south of Munich. When the American Army left Germany after its unification, Russian Orthodox faithful, with God's help, were able to take advantage of the situation and in December 1993, finally, obtained their own church. The newly-acquired church, built in the basilica style, needed interior renovation first. On the feast day of the New Martyrs, February 6, 1994, a stone with a decree was laid into the eastern wall, and a cross was erected in the middle of the altar. The necessary work on the interior was completed by Pentecost. On Sunday, June 12, the first solemn hierarchal service was held in the church.

The northern portion of the church first served as a storage area out of necessity, in which it was difficult to construct an altar and iconostasis for services. But by the end of 1995, the time came for the chapel of St Nicholas. It was decided to completely remove the northern wall and widen the interior by a third, to build an apse on the eastern side, and on the western side, where the entrance was simply a concrete booth, to set up a narthex, and in the future to construct the main entrance in the style of a Pskovian bell tower.

In March, 1997, Archbishop Mark performed the minor consecration as soon as the iconostasis was ready. At the same time as the chapel was being expanded, further work on the south side was being performed: the concrete entrances to the refectory were removed and the construction in their place of classrooms, a wooden balcony to the refectory and an expanded kitchen.

The planning of the external view of the church was performed by a parishioner, the architect VA Esikovsky (now the Parish Warden). The technical work was headed by architect Herbert Krach. The roof of St Nicholas Chapel was covered in copper, with woodwork over the apse executed by G Rushchak, as was the crowning of the doorway in which a gilded steel eight-pointed cross was erected. On Great Wednesday in 1998, the cupola and cross over the chapel, donated by the Tittmann family, was consecrated.

The frescoes were painted by Tamara Sikoev, wife of Priest Andrei Sikoev of the Berlin parish.

All these years, until this day, services are performed at St Nicholas Chapel on weekdays, minor feasts and during Great Lent. The chapel also holds services in German with a German-language choir. Baptisms, molebens, pannikhidas, unctions over the sick and other services are held there as well.

At the end of the divine services on the day of the great consecration of St Nicholas Chapel, Archbishop Mark expressed his gratitude to His Eminence the First Hierarch, the archpastors, clergymen and all those who helped organize and conduct this celebration

The following days, a regular session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was held at the Cathedral, ending with a pilgrimage to the site of the repatriation of the Cossacks on the Drawa River near the city of Lienz, to mark the 60th anniversary of that tragic event.