On November 16, 2022, Prof. Reinhard Slenczka, the first rector of the Luther Academy, was laid to rest in the city of Würzburg, Germany.
Archbishop Jānis Vanags was unable to attend the funeral due to illness, thus ELCL was represented by Prof. R.Slenczka former student, Reverend Andris Krauliņš. Rev. A.Krauliņš read the message from Archbishop J.Vanags at the tomb.
Excerpts from the message: "I offer you my heartfelt condolences as we part from the dear and honourable Professor, Dr. Reinhard Slenczka. Judging by the testimonies of many German theologians and scholars on the important role of the respected professor in their faith life, Dr. Reinhard Slenczka has indeed been an influential German theologian. However, I will allow myself to count him among the most eminent Latvian theologians.
First of all, because he devoted eight years of his life to Latvia and our Lutheran Church. Secondly, because he learned Latvian in a short time. For us Latvians, it warmed our hearts a lot. For half a century, we lived among immigrants from Russia who never learned a word of Latvian. The professor set an example by learning Luther's Small Catechism in Latvian by heart, which is hardly known by any of our Lutherans. The respect that the professor showed in this way to our nation and language made him truly ours.
No matter how important Dr. Slenczka was in German theological education, nothing can resemble the impression that his work and personality left on Lutheranism in Latvia. He was the first rector of our Luther Academy. A large, perhaps even the majority of Latvian Lutheran pastors are his students. It has shaped our church identity and laid the foundations for our theological thought. Riga was probably the first capital of the Reformation after Wittenberg. The professor's work restored the connection of Latvian Lutheranism with a real tradition of German Lutheran theology, to which both liberal laxity and sectarian barbarism are equally alien. He was an example of a theologian and pastor to many. Heartfelt sympathy to the professor's family.
Special thanks to Mrs. Gisel, who was always there for her husband and whom we also consider ours. Both of them have recorded their names in gold letters in the history of the Latvian Lutheran Church. May the sincerely respected Professor Reinhard Slenczka rest in peace with God's blessing."
Heartfelt sympathy to the professor's family. Special thanks to Mrs. Gisel, who was always there for her husband and whom we also consider ours. Both of them have recorded their names in gold letters in the history of the Latvian Lutheran Church. May the sincerely respected Professor Reinhard Slenczka rest in peace with God's blessing."
Mrs. Gizela Slenszka thanked the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia and Archbishop for their condolences. She continues to be a diligent reader of ELCL magazine "Svētdienas Rīts". She sends greetings to all her brothers and sisters in Christ in ELCL.