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Meeting in Tallinn: Consecration of Bishop-Elect is scheduled

A meeting of representatives of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church took place on March 14 at the Consistory building across from the Cathedral (Dom) in Tallinn. Bishop-Elect Vsevolod Lytkin and LTS Rector Alexei Streltsov, representing the SELC, met with Archbishop Andres Pöder, Rev. Peter Kaldur, and other officials of the EELC.

The main purpose of the meeting was the signing of an inter-church agreement and the formulation of a final agreement concerning the consecration (episcopal laying-on-of hands) of Vsevolod Lytkin, who was elected to be the first bishop of the SELC at its General Synod in August 2004. The consecration of Bishop-Elect Lytkin was originally to have administered by EELC Archbishop Jaan Kiivit, Jr., on Reformation Day in 2004. However, unresolved issues between the SELC, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States (ELCROS), and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR) led to several postponements.

Major problems appear now to have been resolved, and the planned consecration can go forward without disruption of relations between the churches. The SELC intends to maintain close cooperation with the other Lutheran Churches in Russia and looks for bright prospects in the future.

The Estonian Church has prepared the text of an inter-church agreement to each of the three Russian churches has introduced minor corrections. The formal signing of the agreement by Archbishop Pöder and SELC Bishop-Elect Lytkin took place at the meeting on March 14.

Technical aspects of the consecration were also discussed at the meeting. The liturgy of consecration will take place on May 6 at the cathedral in Tallinn. The Divine Service will be held in the English and Russian languages, and the local choir will sing Estonian hymns. It is expected that there will be a large number of guests present from Russia, Europe, and America. Pastors and deacons of the SELC will participate in the consecration liturgy, and Archbishop Pöder will formally transfer Russian priests formerly on the EELC roster to the care of the new bishop.

Following the Tallinn consecration there will be an Installation ceremony in Novosibirsk at which an official representative of the Estonian Church will officially inform the members of the Siberian Church about the canonical consecration and the new status of the SELC as an autonomous church.

It is supposed that soon after the consecration the SELC bishop will begin his episcopal ministry in Novosibirsk by ordaining new pastors and deacons for ministry in Siberia.

The Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church is an autonomous Church in Russia, registered as "Siberian Union of Evangelical Lutheran Missions." After the consecration of its bishop, re-registration of the official title of the church will be among the planned activities.


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