The Church of the Holy Prophet Elias in Stuttgart

December 1, 1985, Wernau December 1, 1985, Wernau
    


First rector of our parish, Igumen John (Buecheler) First rector of our parish, Igumen John (Buecheler)

The history of our parish began on December 1, 1985. On that day, Igumen John (Buecheler), a thirty-four-year-old priest of a German descent who lived in the city of Stuttgart, founded an Orthodox community in the German town of Wernau and entrusted it to the heavenly care of the Holy Prophet Elias (Elijah).   

The community worshipped in small premises with the total area of about 548 square feet. A larger part of the Liturgy (which was celebrated monthly) was in German. Later, in 1989, the community moved to Stuttgart.

  

Igumen John (Buecheler) Igumen John (Buecheler)
    

The Protestant Church allowed the community to worship every Sunday at St. Luke’s Chapel after the end of their services. Before every Liturgy the community would install the icons and lecterns, vest the altar and the table of oblation, and bring the candles. The first parishioners who would come here from far afield did their utmost to build and develop the parish.

Evangelical Church of the Apostle Luke in Stuttgart, 1989 Evangelical Church of the Apostle Luke in Stuttgart, 1989
    

The community had a reader, a choir director, and an icon-painter. It was the largest Orthodox parish of the time in Germany.

Holy Friday 1998 Holy Friday 1998
    

On November 8, 1992, the future Igumen Mitrofan (born Michael Hauser) was ordained, and several weeks later, December 9, the rector of the Church of the Holy Prophet Elias Igumen John (Buecheler) died after a protracted illness. Igumen Mitrofan (Hauser) became his successor.

On November 8, 1993, Archbishop Longin of Klin tonsured Priest Michael (Hauser) with the name Mitrofan in honor of the Holy Hierarch Mitrofan (Metrophanes) of Voronezh.

Igumen Mitrofan (Hauser), Holy Friday 1999 Igumen Mitrofan (Hauser), Holy Friday 1999
    

Igumen Mitrofan learned the Divine Liturgy in Church Slavonic by heart so that his Russian-speaking parishioners could feel at home in this parish. The parish kept growing. The church rector, Igumen Mitrofan, decided to move to new and larger premises.

Building in Gablenberg that our parish moved to in 1999 Building in Gablenberg that our parish moved to in 1999
    

First service in the new location, May 30, 1999 First service in the new location, May 30, 1999
    

On May 30, 1999, the feast of the Holy Trinity, the first service in the new premises (Stuttgart-Gablenberg) was celebrated. From that day on, every Sunday and on major Church festivals the parish served Liturgies, prayer services, funeral services, performed Baptisms, Church marriages, and organized festal meals. Vespers and Vigil Services were held every Saturday. In a word, the parish of the Prophet Elias became a full-fledged church.

Installation of the iconostasis Installation of the iconostasis
    

Our iconostasis Our iconostasis
    

A Sunday school opened at the church; the community began to organize Orthodox summer camps and pilgrimage trips, and to arrange study groups.

Consecration of the altar by Archbishop Theophan of Berlin and Germany, October 17, 1999 Consecration of the altar by Archbishop Theophan of Berlin and Germany, October 17, 1999
    

The consecration of the altar by Archbishop Theophan of Berlin and Germany (1954-2017) on October 30, 1999, was a significant event in the life of the parish. By that time the iconostasis, the altar and the table of oblation had been installed, and all the necessary things for the celebration of regular services had been obtained.

Choir, under the direction of George Lange Choir, under the direction of George Lange
    

Patronal feast, 1999 Patronal feast, 1999
    

Archbishop Theophan of Berlin and Germany actively contributed to the prosperity of his parishes – he would regularly visit the churches of his diocese on their patronal feasts, perform ordinations and monastic tonsures.

In 2003, His Eminence Theophan of Berlin and Germany ordained Deacon Paul Sohnle (1942-2008) a priest. Fr. Paul served in our parish till the end of his life.

Very humble, kind and responsive, Fr. Paul’s heart ached at somebody else’s misfortunes, and he helped all comers as much as he could by counsel, good deeds, and prayers. In a word, Fr. Paul mourned with those who mourned, wept with those who wept, was sick with those who were sick, and rejoiced with those who rejoiced (cf. Rom. 12:15).

Parishioners with Fr. Paul Sohnle, 2005 Parishioners with Fr. Paul Sohnle, 2005
    

On July 13, 2008, Fr. Paul, a good pastor who was loved by everybody, reposed in the Lord peacefully after a long illness.

Hieromonk Paul (Koch) served in our parish as a visiting priest for a few years. He fell asleep in the Lord on September 9, 2004, at the age of forty-nine, after a painful illness.

Priest John Stefero served at St. Elias Church from 2001 till 2003 and later returned to the USA. Priest John Stefero, a cleric of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), a chaplain, after the September 11 attacks was among those who were helping the survivors at the Pentagon.

From 1998 till 2008 Hieromonk (now Igumen) Andrej (Gottfried) assisted Igumen Mitrofan at the parish of St. Elias. As of 2016, Fr. Andrej served as rector of the Russian parishes of Baden-Baden and Pforzheim.

From September 2007 till August 2015, Priest Vladimir Yegorov served in our parish as a visiting priest.

In April 2010, our community celebrated the last Liturgy in this premises on the feast of Pascha and had to move away because this building had been sold.

Our parish in its new church, Stuttgart-Feuerbach, May 2010 Our parish in its new church, Stuttgart-Feuerbach, May 2010
    

On May 2, 2010, we celebrated the first Divine Liturgy at our present church. We have rented this building, which belongs to the Evangelical Church (Stuttgart-Feuerbach), since then.

Our parish in its new church, Stuttgart-Feuerbach, May 2010 Our parish in its new church, Stuttgart-Feuerbach, May 2010
    

Hieromonk Laurus (Solomonov) was a visiting priest of our church from November 2015 till June 2017.

30th anniversary of our parish, December 6, 2015 30th anniversary of our parish, December 6, 2015
    

On December 6, 2015, our parish marked the thirtieth anniversary of its foundation by solemn services. A large number of guests from different parishes gathered at our church to share with us the joy of this important event in the history of our parish and to personally congratulate the rector, our beloved Father Mitrofan, who has borne this heavy cross for twenty-three years, praying for and taking care of his parish and his parishioners (like his own children given to him by God) every day.

Nativity 2016 Nativity 2016
    

Another remarkable event in the life of our community was the solemn service that was celebrated on August 7, 2016, on the occasion of our patronal feast, which gathered a great many guests from different cities of Germany, Russia, and Ukraine.

Igumen Mitrofan (Hauser) Igumen Mitrofan (Hauser)
    

The service was presided over by Very Reverent Igumen Mitrofan (Hauser), Head of the Southern Deanery of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany and rector of our church; and Igumen Maxim (Schmidt), a member of the Diocesan Council and Secretary of the Diocesan Court, rector of the Church of the icon of the Holy Theotokos of the “Sign” of the parish in honor of the Holy Martyrs Valentine and Pasicratus in the city of Ulm. Hieromonk Laurus (Solomonov), a cleric of our parish; Archpriest Dimitry Levchenko, a cleric of the Diocese of Kiev; Deacon Sergei Cherkasov from the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate (DECR MP); and Deacon Dimitry Maximovich, a cleric of the Church of the icon of the Holy Theotokos of the “Sign” of the parish in honor of the Holy Martyrs Valentine and Pasicratus in the city of Ulm concelebrated with them.

On that day on behalf of his parish Igumen Maxim presented our parish with a particle of the relics of the Blessed Matrona of Moscow.

After the service Archbishop Ilary of Makarov (1969-2018) presented St. Elias Church with a particle of the relics of the Venerable Kuksha (Velichko) of Odessa.

Another happy event for each member of our community was the acquisition of a particle of the holy relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov. It was Igumen Maxim (Schmidt) who presented our church with this great relic.

The history of our parish continues, and its future is known to God alone.

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