German Russian Conference for the 150th Year of Remembrance of the Diocese of Tiraspol


March 7, 1998
Ornbau, Germany

With Bishop Dr. Walter Mixa, Eichstätt, Germany
and Bishop Josef Werth, Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia

Ladies and gentlemen, dear German-Russians!

The Bishop of Eichstätt and we, the organizers of the Referat Weltkirche, want to extend a warm welcome and wish you all the best for the new year.

We relay special greetings from the Apostolic Administrator in Novosibirsk, Joseph Werth. It is of great importance to him to remember the founding of the Diocese Tiraspol 150 years ago. He wants to do this at the grave site of the two former bishops of the Tiraspol diocese, Franz Xaver Zottmann and Josef Alois Keßler, who are both buried in the Franconian city of Ornbau. He wants to invite you all to these festivities.

The Diocese of Eichstätt welcomes his desire because it is the home diocese of Bishop Franz Xaver Zottmann. Preparations and organization for this day of remembrance were made by the Referat Weltkirche of the diocese of Eichstätt in close collaboration with the town and the pastoral office in Ornbau.

All inquiries, registrations and information are to be directed to: Referat Weltkirche, Luitpoldstraße 2, 85072 Eichstätt, tel.: 011-49-8421-50678, fax: 011-49-8421-50609.

As we unfortunately have only limited knowledge of locations of present German-Russian residents, we ask you to support us and extend this invitation to Catholic German-Russian brothers and sisters. If it is possible for you, publish this invitation in the proper newspapers and point out the registration deadline. Thank you for your support.

We hope that this German Russian conference will be a memorable event.

We are already now looking forward to meet Bishop Joseph Werth and all of you at the grave site of the two Bishops from the Volga, Franz Xaver Zottmann and Joseph Alois Keßler.


Father Joseph Schmidpeter
Referent für Weltkirche

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Mayer
Diözesebeauftragter für Weltkirche

Dear countrymen and friends,

The history of the Tiraspol diocese is closely tied to the history and the fate of the Germans from Russia. In 1848, it was established for Catholic settlers as the Diocese Cherson by the Dnjepr River and transferred to Tiraspol in 1852.

The first bishop, Ferdinand Helanus Kahn, chose Saratov on the Volga where his successors lived until 1917, as residence. In 1914, the diocese comprised 350,000 Roman Catholics of whom 90% were Germans with 100 pastoral offices and 179 priests. The pressure of the Russian government in WWI against the Germans, the hardships, famine and then the persecution of Catholics in the Soviet Union led to the disintegration of the diocese.

We want to remember this short yet turbulent time in the history of the church and to invite you because many gave their lives as witnesses of their faith and for being German. The last bishop, Joseph Aloisius Keßler, died in exile "cast out from the pastorate and the homeland" because of Bolshevism.

Looking forward to meeting you in Ornbau,

Fr Eugen Reinhard
Beauftragter der deutschen Bischofskonferenz für die Seelsorge
an katholischen Rußlanddeutschen
Referat Weltkirche

Father Joseph Schmidpeter
Luitpoldstraße 2
85072 Eichstätt, Germany

German Russian Conference
in Ornbau, Germany
on March 7, 1998


9:15 am "Bishop Zottmann: his life, his work"

Lecture by Prof. Dr. Ernst Reiter, Eichstätt, Germany
Where: Pfarrkirche

10:00 am Special service with

Bishop Dr. Walter Mixa, Eichstätt, Germany
Bishop Josef Werth, Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia

11:30 am Procession to the cemetery in remembrance of

Bishop Franz Xaver Zottmann and
Bishop Josef Alois Keßler

2:00 pm Opening words

"150 Years Diocese Tiraspol"
Lecture by Pastor Peter Macht

3:45 pm "The Diocese of Novosibirsk Today"

Slide program by Bishop Joseph Werth

5:00 pm Festivities conclude

Our thanks to Father Eugen Reinhardt, SVD, Sekretariat der Seelsorge für die Katholischen Rußlandduetshen, Postfach 1303, Bishof-Kindermann-Straße 3, 61463 Königstein, Germany, for sharing the information about this historic event commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Diocese of Tiraspol.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller