17 воскресенье после Троицы
Council of Bishops of Union of Evangelical Lutheran Churches
On April 21-23 in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, bishops from the former Soviet Union together with church administrator Marina Khudenko and EKD representative Michael Hubner met to discuss common issues and to sign a new version of their agreement on mutual cooperation. In addition the participants signed an agreement related to the spiritual care of congregations in Crimea. From now on three church bodies will have the right to work there – the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of European Russia and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria. Congregations can now legally register in the Russian Federation and will be full members of the ELCER; they will also have the right to attend the meetings of the GELCU as guests with a voice, though without a vote. A third important decision was that all of the churches of the Union are given the right to independently join such international organizations as the LWF and the Conference of European Churches. It was also agreed upon that the question of the Union's membership in the World Council of Churches needs to be studied. Finally, the participants of the Union elected Yuri Novgorodov from Kazakhstan as the President of their council for the next two years.
In addition to meetings the bishops took part in ecumenical meetings with representatives of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches and found time to talk and pray together about their brothers who were unable to attend – Otto Schaude and Corney Vibe.