Neo-nazis are threatening an Orthodox community in Berlin

April 17, 2015. Ultra rightist extremists are threatening the community of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles, in the Marzahn-Hellersdorf district in east Berlin (Germany), report Tserkovny Vestnik and Pravoslavie.ru.

The day before Easter unidentified people set off an explosive that they had placed inside the church mailbox.

In addition to this, members of the “Königsberg Legion” group over a period of two months dropped leaflets on the territory of the church with threats and insults. “Russian witches! We will not tolerate you in Marzahn-Hellersdorf any longer. Push off at once, otherwise there will be no mercy,” read the leaflets which also contain threats to set the church building on fire.

At the present time the police do not have any information regarding the people behind the “Königsberg Legion” organization. However, it is clear that this is a neo-Nazi group. “Now the police have taken the situation under their control. The incident has drawn a wide response and the Bundestag has got interested in it. Thus, Vice-President of the German Bundestag Petra Pau sent an appeal to the Police President of Berlin concerning the investigation of this matter,” said Rector of St. Vladimir’s Church Archpriest Peter Pakholkov. According to Fr. Peter, this is the first attack by neo-Nazis on a Russian Orthodox parish. Earlier they mostly attacked representatives of the Muslim community.

During her phone conversation with editor of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, Frau Pau thus commented on the incident: “This action of extremists is filling us with serious apprehension. Not only did the Church of St. Vladimir, but also the German-Russian school in Marzahn last week became victims of aggression of the extremist groups. No doubt, these are neo-Nazis who for the past months have been spreading panic among the foreigners residing in the Marzahn-Hellersdorf district, including those with a refugee status, and threatening them with physical violence. I do hope that the Berlin police will take this incident seriously. I am personally extremely worried about the incident as it is almost the first time in decades that activities of neo-Nazis have taken the form of open violence.” According to Petra Pau, lately she has more than once received personal threats from right-wing extremists.

The incident has provoked indignation among the local residents who are interested in maintaining good neighborly relations with immigrants. They hope these things will not be repeated, but, according to the police’s advice, they keep exercising vigilance. Members of the parish community are doing the same. “I am just going from the church. I should say that in recent days there has been no special neo-Nazis activity, but we are constantly on the alert. The police have warned us that we must be ready for possible provocations, particularly before Victory Day,” said Fr. Peter.

A temporary wooden Church in honor of Holy Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles, in the Marzahn-Hellersdorf district, was constructed and consecrated in 2014. Its total area is 225 square meters (square feet) and it can accommodate up to around 250 worshippers. In the future on the site of the present wooden church a new spiritual and educational center will be constructed. The center will comprise a stone church for 400-500 people, a Sunday school, a library, a small hotel for pilgrims, a hospice, a nursery school and so on.

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