Scholars in the study year 2020-2021
Excursion to Höxter: The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Corvey and the Coptic Monastery of Brenkhausen
In order to know more about the Catholic Church in Germany, the learning journey of the new scholars started on the 15th of September 2020, as they participated in their first excursion, accompanied by Dr. Johannes Oeldemann and Ruth Nefiodow.
The excursion to Höxter started with the visit to the wonderful Princely Abbey of Corvey (Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey). Not only did the world heritage site offer to observe the fascinating former monastery/baroque castle, but also it was a place to explore the medieval period of North Rhine-Westphalia and the historical social and cultural impact of the Catholic Church within that time.
The next and final stop was the Coptic Monastery of Brenkhausen - a former Cistercian monastery. The group was warmly welcomed by His Eminence Bishop Anba Damian and invited to a delightful lunch. The tour at the monastery, guided by Father Ikladius, introduced the group to the Coptic Orthodox Church and its long-standing tradition. Remarkably, the fact that the monastery complex includes an active Catholic Church could let the scholars experience directly the ecumenical witness and the brotherly coexistence of both Churches in Germany.
by Antranik Manoukian
At the Hermann monument and the open air museum Detmold
Somewere in the North-Estern of Paderborn, after a 30 minutes drive you can find the city of Detmold, wich is modest but on the other hand very impressive at preserving an important part of the history of the passed centuries in the land of Nordrhein-Westfalen.
Our day began from early morning, when the sun was still very shy. After we arrived at the first destination, we walked for several minutes to the top of the hill where a metalic 53 meters giant called Hermann waited for us only to tell us his glorious story about defeating the romans at the Teoutoburg forrest ( year 9 AC).
From this hill you could easily see a great part of Ostwestfalen. There where also many trails trough the forest wich converged all in the same point: the statue of Hermann. While walking on one of this trails we found an outdoor amphitheatre in the middle of natrure.
Our second destination was Freilichtmuseum Detmold LWL, an outdoor museum. Here we had the great oportunity to see and to learn how the people form NRW lived in the last five centuries. There were houses of a large variety: from the clasic clay and reed roof to the ones made from brick and tile roof.
In the begining we were visiting the "Lippischer Meierhof", where the houses had at least 300 years old, and were built out of clay on a wooden structure.
Not less worth to montion the fact that at that time people used to live in their houses together with the animals. The reason was a practical one, because in the cold season it would be easier to heat the entire house.
The „Paderborner Dorf” had by far the most similarities to the nowadays village. In this village the profession and the social category of the inhabitants could be determined more than the rest of the villages by the type of the houses.
Our next destination in the outdoor museum was the "Sauerländer Hof". Here the houses had an interesting specific: they are all in black and white. Altough they look very old, they were representative for the historical period of the year 1900 because we could find inside the houses some of first electricity consumer such as the light bulb.
Our last stop in the LWL Museum was the "Gräftenhof", a village surrounded by water. These houses were builted from brick on a wooden structure but with a tile roof. Even though the brick is considerd to be a better material when it comes to insulation, the houses were also designed for living with the animals.
After the museum visit we decided to end this great day with a walk in the city center of Detmold, which was not less impressive at all.
by Florin Nicolaie
Hike to the chapel "Hilligen Seele"
In order to use the few possibilities within the pandemic, we decided to hike to the "Hilligen Seele", a chapel at the gates of Paderborn. The weather was kind to us and the sun gave us its first beneficial rays after this long and cold winter.
Even if the way was a bit rough, we all arrived at "Hilligen Seele" glad and happy. Here Dr. Oeldemann gave us a little introduction about the importance of this place: people have been making pilgrimages there for centuries to worship the holy cross. Despite the eventful history of this place of pilgrimage, people still come today to honor the cross of Jesus.
In a small prayer in the chapel, we prayed especially for all those affected by the pandemic. After a little refreshment, we started our way back and arrived back at the college safe and satisfied.
Visit of the Russian Orthodox Archbishop Tikhon of Ruza to St. Irenaeus College.
Archbishop Tikhon did us the honor of spending an afternoon with him at St. Irenaeus College. Our Russian Orthodox scholars were especially happy about this meeting with a bishop of their church. After having coffee together, during which Archbishop Tikhon had the opportunity to learn a little about the residents of the college, the bishop took extra time for a personal conversation with the three Russian Orthodox scholars.
This beautiful afternoon was rounded off with a common prayer in the chapel of the college.
Trip to Marburg
Our excursion to the historic and beautiful city of Marburg allowed us to delve deeply into the history of the Reformation in Germany.
The now protestant Elisabeth Church, where Saint Elisabeth has been venerated since her death, and which was one of the largest pilgrimage sites in Europe in the Middle Ages, was just as impressive as Marburg Castle, where Zwingli and Luther once discussed while the "Marburger Religionsgespräch". We also climbed up the steps, called "Zwingli Stairs", that the reformer himself once climbed to the castle, and from the top we enjoyed the beautiful view of Marburg.
Another Reformation legacy we encountered in Marburg was the "Alte Uiversität", the oldest Protestant university foundation, which has survived to this day and where also the theologian Rudolf Bultmann taught for many years.
After the historical tour of Marburg, we concluded the day with culinary delights in the charming old town.
Trip to Hildesheim
The colorful historic half-timbered houses, which with their time-honored splendor shape the image of Hildesheim's marketplace, welcomed us at the beginning of our exploration tour of Hildesheim on this hot and sunny summer day. But not only these magnificent houses, destroyed during the war but later rebuilt true to the original, impressed us, but also the two world cultural heritage sites, the Hildesheim St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Michael's Church, which allowed us to dive deeper into the history of Hildesheim, whereby especially the artistically painted ceiling of St. Michael's Church made a great impression on us and some scholarship holders felt reminded of their Orthodox churches in their home country by this abundance of colors.
Sensually fragrant, the Magdalenengarten with its 1500 roses in full bloom welcomed us and gave us the opportunity to marvel at this diversity of different varieties, colors, shapes and scents.