04.11.2016

Brothers and Sisters in All Camps

Russian Pentecostals hold their annual Moscow conference

M o s c o w – The big-time events produced by the “Associated Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical-Pentecostal Faith” (ROSKhVE) are memorable. Among Russia´s Protestants, no one demonstrates greater talent in holding them. On 18 October, roughly 50 guests of honour from church and politics showed up for its annual conference (“Maly Sobor”) in Moscow’s “Word of Life”, the city’s largest Protestant congregation. In addition to written greetings, approximately 25 words of greeting were...

22.10.2016

Russia’s Evangelical Alliance has Joined the European Family

News from the EEA’s Annual Conference in Portugal

M o s c o w – The Russian Evangelical Alliance has achieved a significant milestone. At its annual conference in Colares/Portugal on 12 October, the REA was accepted as a full member of the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA). According to REA-General-Secretary Sergey Vdovin, the goal was only achieved after 142 years of effort. Britain’s Granville Waldegrave (1833-1913), better known as Baron (or Lord) Radstock, who had spent time as a missionary in St. Petersburg 1874-78, was a member of the...

27.09.2016

The Continuing Journey in Opposing Directions

On the present climate among Russia’s Protestants

S m o l e n s k – The worries are self-evident since the „Yarovaya-Laws“ or the „Yarovaya Package“ were passed on 7 July. A seminar held by the US-supported “Slavic Legal Centre” on 18 July in the Russian capital was attended by 3.500 mostly Protestant listeners. ”The believers are very worried about monetary fines”, reported Vitaly Vlasenko, Director of External Relations for the “Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists”, on 20 September. “Our congregations are frequently very poor...

15.07.2016

Keep Cool and Carry On

A Commentary on Russia’s new anti-terror legislation

M o s c o w -- Despite massive lobbying by Russian Protestants, President Vladimir Putin signed off on a package of anti-terror legislation usually called the “Yarovaya Laws” on 7 July. Highly significant for evangelicals are stipulations forbidding evangelistic efforts in public areas and restricting the practice of religion to officially-designated, registered places of worship. Concerns were audible but hardly apocalyptic during Protestant...

14.07.2016

Ukrainians pity Russians - Russians pity Ukrainians

On the sad feud between next-door neighbours

M o s c o w -- Wading through Internet responses to the new Russian legislation on religion - the “Yarovaya Laws” of 7 July - one is struck by the divide between the profoundly cross-fertilized and interconnected evangelicals of Russia and Ukraine. One reaction could be described as scorn. A photo of Vladimir Putin conversing with the Pentecostal bishop Sergey Ryakhovsky and the Evangelical-Christian businessman Alexander Semchenko (both from Moscow), sports the inscription:...

21.06.2016

Not Finished Off Yet

Conversation with a Baptist pastor in Moscow

S m o l e n s k – „It’s gotten lonely among us.“ That was the conclusion of a conversation punctuated by air hammers and howling motorcycles at the Moscow subway station “Okhotny Ryad” near the entrance to Red Square on 2 June. My Russian partner was a Baptist pastor involved in the dealings of his church and country over the past 40 years.  According to him, developments on Kiev’s Maidan in February 2014 have ushered in a new era; contacts with the West have gone into...

20.06.2016

Russia and Ukraine Confront the Same Problems

An interview with Roman Lunkin

S m o l e n s k – According to Moscow's Roman Lunkin, a research fellow for Britain's “Keston College”, legislation directed at Russia’s religious communities was significantly sharpened during the summer of 2015. This refers above all to the law on “undesirable organisations” of 23 May 2015. In an interview with the author on 18 May, Lunkin reported that this legislation is vague and offers space for a wide range of interpretations. Already, according to him, “foreign missionaries attempting...

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