LET’S SUM IT UP … (Open letter to ELC Archbishop Dietrich Brauer)
In 2016 it is going to be ten years since several communities, which have been trying for a long time to become a part of an active Lutheran Church, have lost any hope to succeed, and have made a decision to found the Russian Lutheran Church (ELC AC). Despite the success of the communities in their endeavour, and the beginning of ELC AC development: quantitative and qualitative, spiritual and organizational, it has never stopped trying to come to mutual agreement and union with other Lutheran Churches in Russia and abroad. This standing was announced one more time in the report by the President of ELC AC General Synod in spring of 2012 at “May they all be one!” http://www.religare.ru/2_93521.html. Attempts to establish dialogue and to reach union were further continued after that. ELC AC has been accused of many things: that we are not “true” Lutherans, that there is something wrong with our theology, that we are impostors, and just bad people.
However, the Archbishop of Evangelical Lutheran Church was the first to call us fraudsters publicly.
On January 28, 2016 in the State Duma of the Russian Federation at the round-table meeting on Improving Laws on Religious Organization, which was one of the events of the IVth Christmas Parliamentary Meetings, Dietrich Brauer spoke about inadmissibility of state registration of “pseudo-religious organizations”, and stated that their activities “spoil reputation of the religious organizations, and break human souls” http://peter-paul.ru/news/319/ .
Later on Dietrich Brauer commented on his statement made in the State Duma on Internet on the Facebook page, where he openly called the ELC AC brothers and sisters in Christ the fraudsters:
Fraud is a legal term, which definition can be found in Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation: Fraud is theft of other people’s property or acquisition of the title to other people’s property under false pretences and by abuse of trust.
Fraud is a major criminal offence with a relevant punishment. However, only court can find a person guilty of fraud in a criminal case, thus acknowledging that he is a fraudster.
The actions of a person calling somebody a fraudster, which fact is not founded on a legally effective court ruling, fall under another Article of the Criminal Code, i.e. Article 128.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - Defamation, which is communication of knowingly false statements that disgrace, harm dignity and reputation of another person”.
In this regard we would like to ask Archbishop Dietrich Brauer, “Who we have lied to? Whose property have we stolen or acquired under false pretences and abuse of trust? Why ELC AC are fraudsters? If there is no proof, it is evident there is an apology due here…
All ELC AC parsons volunteer in Church, work, thus bringing benefit to the society, and, moreover, they spend the money they honestly earned on Church needs. No, we do not have foreign sponsors, like Dietrich Brauer has. Yes, we assert traditional Christian apostolic values, and no, we do not support liberal tendencies (female priesthood, blessing of homosexual couples, or homosexual priests http://bg.ru/society/protestanty_v_moskve-19066/). Yes, we are well aware that our existence alone likely spoils the mood of the structures that are sponsored by foreign liberal organizations, that simply cannot believe that it can be different. Nevertheless, ELC AC is expanding and developing, whereas structures sponsored with foreign money and liberal values are stagnant.
Subject to Article 152 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation: “A citizen may seek in court refutation of information that has disgraced, harmed his dignity or business reputation, unless the person, who has distributed such information, proves it to be true”.
However, we do not want to go to court, although being the citizens of the Russian Federation, we can, as we are entitled to the entire scope of constitutional rights and freedoms protected by the Government.
We are very sad and truly sorry that the person, who could have become the leader of all Lutherans in Russia, stooped to slander, thus disgracing himself and all of us.
Father, forgive Dietrich Brauer, for he knows not what he does!
It is important to remember that God is the judge of us all. Saint Apostle Paul entreating the Corinthian community wrote, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
President of ELC AC General Synod
Archbishop of Kaliningrad and the Kaliningrad Region
+ Vladimir Pudov
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