Russia’s Lutheran Pietists are not Alone

Alexander Scheiermann consecrated as bishop of Siberia and the Far East

M o s c o w -- Elected on 16 October, Alexander Scheiermann was consecrated as bishop of the “Evangelical-Lutheran Church in the Urals, Siberia and Far East” (ELCUSFE) in Omsk on 23 April. Looks can be deceiving: Though representatives of the “Evangelical Church of Germany’s” (EKD) Department for External Relations usually appear in the front row at major Russian Lutheran events, the coming of the tall, soft-spoken and amiable Alexander Scheiermann to Siberia proves that...


Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Future of Russia

How anti-Western are the churches?

Commentary M o s c o w -- Russian Protestant rejection of the prohibition of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in early April appears virtually unanimous. It usually runs along the lines of the quote from the revered German church leader Martin Niemoeller (1892-1984): “When the Nazis came for the communists, I did not speak out, as I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I did not speak out, for I was not a...


Baptist Developments in Moscow

Vitaly Vlasenko Resigns as “Foreign Minister” of Russia’s Baptist Union

M o s c o w -- In mid-March, Rev. Vitaly Vlasenko resigned as the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists’ “Director for External Church Affairs”. He had held this position since 2006. One issue of controversy was financial practice, but insiders claim the reasons for his resignation are more complex than that. Some of his tasks for the Russian Union will be taken over by Sergey Belov in the Moscow office. Belov does not speak English, but...


Healthy Debate is Needed

A conversation on the Baptists of Georgia

M o s c o w – Despite controversies, Elimar Brandt of Berlin, a Baptist pastor and long-time director of Christian health-care facilities, see reasons for hope within the Baptist church of Georgia. After five years of post-graduate studies in Oxford/UK, its long-time head, Dr. Malkhaz Songulashvili, returned to Georgia in April 2014. Yet soon he was no longer archbishop: that position is now held by a more conservative colleague, Merab Gaprindshvili....


A Conflict Crying for Compromise

A Commentary on Gennady Mokhnenko

M o s c o w -- On his Facebook page and even on California-based Russian TV, Mariupol/Ukraine’s Gennady Mokhnenko repeats the political positions typical for Ukrainian evangelicals. A cultural Russian and non-speaker of Ukrainian, this Pentecostal leader is the legal father of 30+ orphans and a military chaplain. He decries pacifism and regularly portrays himself in camouflage. According to this political slant, evangelicals expressing basic loyalty...