Bishop Joseph Werth is Awarded the Federal Cross of Merit
Verleihung des Bundesverdiesntkreuzes an Bischof Josph
"Bishop Joseph Werth is Awarded the Federal Cross of Merit." Volk auf dem Weg, April 2006, 3-4.
Translation from the original German-language text
to American English by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado
|Bishop Joseph Werth following his acceptance
of the award
On September 26, 2005 the bishop's church "Verklaerung des
Herrn" [Transfiguration of the Lord] celebrated an extraordinary
event as Bishop Joseph Werth was awarded the Federal ross of Merit
for his contributions to the Federal Republic of Germany. In attendance
were the German Ambassador in Russia, along with his wife, the German
General Counsel at Novosibirsk and his wife, representatives of
the State, the Church and of social organizations, as well as the
faithful of the bishop's church.
In his acceptance speech, Bishop Werth commented as follows (excerpted).
"Honored Ambassador, through you I wish to express to the
Germany, Herr Koehler, my sincere thanks for this decoration.
What should I do, and what am I to day? I shall not attempt to
that I do not merit this high honor.
In reality, with today's awarding of this order of merit, the Catholic
Church in Russia and its German-Russians are being honored. If that
were not so,
I could scarcely imagine this award being possible. It is into this
and into this People that I was born, and a Catholic and a German-Russian
The first memories from my childhood are associated with the happy
the religious climate of "thawing" in the mid-1950s, which
followed the long
dark night of persecution and suppression. I must not neglect to
gratitude to all those priests and lay people, those pioneering
the 1950s, including my own mother, who for us children was both
priest and who passed on to the Lord on July 23 of this year; to
person of faith, Frau Gertrude, who prepared me for receiving the
to certain people of the clergy including Bishop Alexander Chira,
Bukowinski, Father Stephanus, who under impossible circumstances
duties secretly and illegally in the underground. All of these have
meanwhile gone to the Lord.
When the Catholic Church finally received official status in 1991,
See thought it proper to send me to Novosibirsk in order to establish
the minimum of ecclesiastical structures required to make it possible
visit and spiritually serve our people scattered across 13 million
kilometers. My gratitude today also goes to my fellows in the struggle
followed the call for help and today, under difficult circumstances,
perform their duties. Also thanks to the faithful, who overcame
fear and the
post-Soviet syndrome and who streamed to the newly opened churches
houses. I can't say how today's teaching of history interprets the
personality throughout history,' but I would like to say that it
is due to
the multitude of workers in the Lord's vineyard -- and thanks to
and actions of the faithful -- that the Catholic Church in Siberia
is what it
is today, with its pastoral and social services for the people.
gratitude for all acts of assistance and support goes to our benefactors
and to State authorities in the new Russia.
I wish to thank Germany for all they have done for our more than
German-Russian emigrants during the past 15 - 20 years. I wish for
consideration by the Catholic Church in Germany on behalf of them,
from a very Catholic tradition, even though they were born and raised
atheistic country. I believe that the fact that so many of our people
both Germany and Russia their home country can contribute to good
between these countries and to build firm bridges between them.
May God bless and protect Germany and Russia!"
We wish to add our own congratulations and thanks to his Excellency,
Joseph Werth, our longtime friend, whose word and support we have
valued. We also thank him for always encouraging us and that he
made the effort,
and continues his efforts, on behalf of the emigre Germans from
his concrete assistance, his cooperation despite a heavy workload
and his own
worries and responsibilities that cannot be compared with our own
concerning spiritual care. There was not a single year that he did
participate in our events and pilgrimages. He always put in a good
governmental, ecclesiastical and social representatives, for the
needs of his German-Russian compatriots in Germany. His word was
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation
of this article.