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Bishop From Nowosibirsk Visits

Bischof von Nowosibirsk zu Besuch

"Bishop From Nowosibirsk Visits." Volk auf dem Weg, November 1993, 8.

Translation from German to English by Ingeborg Wallner Smith, Western Springs, Illionois


Joseph Weth, Bishop of the diocese of Siberia, headquartered Nowosibirsk, in extent the largest diocese in the world, spent the beginning of October as guest of the Russian-Germans in Baden-Württemberg. While there he took part, among other activities, in the pilgrimage of the Russian-Germans, visited homes of resettlers and baptized and confirmed his fellow countrymen. Bishop Joseph expressed skepticism about settlement efforts of the Russian-Germans in the former Soviet Union, even though they were supported by Baden-Württemberg via St. Petersburg with contributions in the millions. Neither with the Germans on the Volga nor in Ukraine do these projects have good prospects, the bishop made clear during a conversation with Minister-president, Erwin Teufel in the Baden-Württemberg ministry. After endless expulsions and suffering almost all of his countrymen had only the wish, as far as possible without detours, to resettle directly to Germany.

“The people pay attention to the bishop in almost everything, not only in the matter of the resettlers,” explained Bishop Werth. Even the prospect, that after the change in Russia, living conditions will probably have shown some improvement in a few years – also through great efforts of the church – does not deter the Germans from returning to the land of their forefathers. Radical demands in Germany to stop any settlement from abroad only intensify the emigration pressure on the Russian-Germans. In agreement with Erwin Reufel he expressed himself in favor of leaving the door open.

Since the change in Russia, through the help of the world church the number of priest in Joseph Werth’s diocese in Siberia has risen from four to forty. He asked Bishop Walter Kasper, the Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, for a Caritas professional to build up a Baritas in Sibera. Among the greatest difficulties in Siberia at the present time he includes, that even now, as everywhere in Russia, the most rigid communists are in charge, particularly in the villages. However, in spited of the dismissal of the “Prince of the Province” Mucha by President Yeltsin, Siberia is among the most peaceful regions.

At this time Bishop Werth is having a children’s home for fifty orphans built, and on August 6, 1994 he will dedicate the new cathedral that is still under construction.

After: KNA Stuttgart

Our appreciation is extended to Ingeborg Smith for translation of this article.

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