Sunday, February 3, 2008

Siberian Lutherans

Today in Bible study, in place of Jeremiah, we heard a visiting Lutheran bishop for whom our church had donated money to help build a church. Some factoids from his slide show:

  • 6th cent. original church in Kiev. 988: "Baptism of Russia."
  • Majorities--Lutheran and Russian Orthodox--rights (schools, hospitals). That changed during the Russian Revolution because communism can't coexist with Christianity. 360K Christian clergy/laity killed in 1st 4 years. 1941--last Lutheran pastor killed.
  • Churches are concentrated in southern Russia, with some at each E/W end.
  • Transportation, in decreasing order of frequency: horse, car/train, plane.
  • Most congregations don't have their own, nor permanent, buildings.
  • Common ministry: caring for the deaf. Use sign language for confession and absolution, sharing the Gospel, etc.
  • Rampant alcoholism --> people steal car parts for money. Rampant TB too.
  • Neighbors may love you, but they love your property more...
  • Chapel--bedroom-size! (~10' x 14')
  • Some regions--Buddhism is the government-supported religion.
  • Cities--bricks from churches used for monuments of Lenin.
  • Parasails but no instructors (one church youth group) --> sent several children to heaven :-/ (dark Russian humor...).
  • Angela Merkel visited a government-supported Lutheran church build for historical value.
  • The church (a former apartment building) we paid for is in process of being remodeled.

No comments: