A Church Fellowship with an Endangered Future

Regarding the present state of the “Evangelical-Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession”

K a l i n i n g r a d – After the departure of five of approximately eight total bishops during the past 20 months, Moscow’s “Evangelical-Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession” (ELTsAI in Russian) appears to be on its last legs. The nearly 40 congregations of yore have shrunk to six: Irkutsk, Barnaul, two in Moscow, Vladimir und Kaliningrad. Congregations along from the very beginning such as Ryazan, Kaluga and Voronesh have made their exit and are now attempting to...


39,7 Million – not 200 Million

Report on a visit of Chinese journalists to Moscow

M o s c o w -- Evangelicals in the USA and in Russia have something in common: Both view the Christian church of China as persecuted but growing rapidly. Yet according to two young Chinese journalists who visited Moscow in mid-December at the invitation of the Russian Evangelical Alliance, both perceptions are essentially false. Westerners speak of as many as 200 million Christians in China. But these journalists’ English-language news service, the “China Christian Daily”,...


Reasons for Hope in Eastern Ukraine

A Moscow pastor reports on his visit to Lugansk

M o s c o w -- During a meeting with Moscow Baptist pastor Vitaly Vlasenko on 14 December, Lugansk Metropolitan Mitrofan stressed that “Evangelical-Christians, Baptists and Pentecostals belong to the traditional confessions within our region”. The Orthodox cleric promised to do everything in his power to normalize relations between Protestants and the breakaway “Lugansk People’s Republic” (LPR) in war-torn Eastern Ukraine. Since 15 October, all 48...


America in the Russian Far East

The remarkable humanitarian efforts of Alexander Kaiser

G v a r d e i s k – When a Russian-Orthodox region advertises a search for new settlers, it is often least happy to bless the arrival of Pentecostals. This is true also for the Amur region north of Blagoveshchensk, which is located directly across the river from China. There, it’s not only Orthodox believers who express reservations: A congregation belonging to the “Novoe Pokolenie” (New Generation) movement has repeatedly produced negative headlines there. This denomination,...


“It was God’s calling”

Willy Peters (1940-2016), a Mennonite pastor who knew how to serve

N o v o s i b i r s k -- Willy Peters, or Vassily Yakovich Peters in Russian, was born in the Ukrainian Mennonite colony of Chortiza on April 30, 1940. But times were highly unsettled and the baby WiIly had little chance of growing up in Ukraine. After the massive German attack on the USSR of 22 June 1941, an edict of the Supreme Soviet on 28 August decreed that all ethnic Germans in Western USSR be deported eastward away from the approaching Wehrmacht. By the following year,...


“Wonderful things are happening in our country at present.”

An Economic Miracle in Siberia


G v a r d e y s k – An economic miracle is afoot in a western Siberian village founded by Mennonite settlers from Ukraine in 1911. Two men around the age of 40, Jacob Dirksen und David Epp, have created a farm there with 14.826 acres of land and 40 employees.

Their village was originally called “Waldheim” and was named after a location in the Mennonite Molochna colony of eastern Ukraine. The Russian village is known better...


The Threat of a Hole in the Mosaic

The World’s Largest Territorial Lutheran Church Must Make Do with Very Few People

A report

V l a d i v o s t o k – Even in the Russian Far East it can be the state that keeps a Protestant congregation from throwing in the towel. A Lutheran house church had already received a green light from church leadership to close its doors. Yet when the city informed them that deregistration would cost 60.000 roubles (1.800 euros at the time), the congregation changed its mind.

How fortunate that bureaucracies can also...

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