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Priest Albert Rauch dies on 10 January

Fr. Albert Rauch, German theologian and founder of the Eastern Churches Institute in Regensburg, died on 10 January.
Fr. Albert Rauch at the 19th International conference held by the Transfiguration Brotherhood and SFI, ‘Behold the Unity of the Holy Trinity to Overcome the Hateful Disunity of this World: Commonality, Communion, Community in the Modern World’. Moscow, 2009

Fr. Albert Rauch at the 19th International conference held by the Transfiguration Brotherhood and SFI, ‘Behold the Unity of the Holy Trinity to Overcome the Hateful Disunity of this World: Commonality, Communion, Community in the Modern World’. Moscow, 2009

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“Fr. Albert was a remarkable person representative of the Western, the German and the Catholic culture,” said Fr. Georgy Kochetkov, Rector of SFI. “He was an open-minded and resolute man dedicated to bridging culture gaps and interested in studying the Orthodox and the Eastern Christian culture in general and the Russian culture in particular. Fr. Albert was a person of impressive academic standing wonderfully combined with capacity for dialogue. He was certainly firmly rooted in his faith and lived it out, which made him a true witness of Christ in today’s world.”

Fr. Albert Rauch defended his doctoral theology thesis at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He had profound knowledge and a love of the Russian religious philosophy. Fr. Albert was fluent in many European languages, including Russian.

In 1963, with the blessing of Dr. Rudolf Graber, Bishop of Regensburg (†1992), and Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople (†1972), Fr. Albert founded the Eastern Churches Institute that provide a shared space for prayer and spiritual formation for young Christians from the Greek, Russian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Czech, Georgian, Syrian and other local Orthodox churches, including ones belonging to the ancient Eastern tradition (Coptic, Ethiopian, Indian, Syrian, and Armenian). Students and teachers, monks and nuns, priests and bishops have formed a brotherhood of theologians. “Though this, Regensburg has become a cradle of a unique community life experience and mutual learning for hundreds of Christians,” a statement by the Romanian Orthodox Church reports.

Fr. Albert Rauch was a trustee of the Saints Methodius and Cyrill Institute of Theology in Minsk. He was also awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by three schools of theology within the Romanian Orthodox Church, and received Russian Orthodox Church distinctions.

In 2000-2009, Fr. Albert Rauch participated in several conferences held by the Transfiguration Brotherhood and St. Philaret’s Institute, having maintained a friendship with SFI for many years. During his visit in 2009, he spoke about the importance of an “interreligious dialogue with all people of the world” because “the world today is a very small place... The light of Christ enlightens everyone; not only the baptised but all people. A gospel begins with these words: “He is the Light enlightening everyone who comes into the world.” If we take this seriously, we are gathered together through Christ.”

The funeral and the farewell ceremony will be held on 21 January at the Cathedral of Regensburg.

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