Seventy-two percent of Russian adults identified as Orthodox Christians in 2008 – but that didn’t translate into church attendance – only 7% attended church. Protestant Christians make up between 1 and 2 per cent of Russians. “After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russians couldn’t get enough evangelical preaching,” says Victor Ignatenkov, pastor of Smolensk Central Baptist Church. “They packed cultural centres for special services and snatched up free Bibles… But these days people are indifferent”, he adds.
Igor Petrov, of Kursk Trinity Bible College, claims that, “It is becoming evident that Protestant believers will not be able to bring large sectors of the Russian populace to faith in Christ.” But he sees “Reformation” among certain sectors of the Russian Orthodox Church, being enriched by theology and practice borrowed from the evangelicals. For instance, the present head of the Kursk Orthodox Eparchy Mission Department is a former charismatic believer… Now his preaching and his weekly Sunday morning TV programmes are focused on Christ, salvation by grace, genuine faith, and true Christian life.
The Moscow Patriarchate and its Missionary Department pays close attention to increasing preaching and evangelism, and strongly encourages all parishes to establish and develop a Sunday school in each church. It’s not uncommon to find Protestant resources revised and rewritten by Orthodox writers, then published under an Orthodox “cover.”
Source: East-West Church and Ministry Report
BIBLE STUDY: Romans 3:25-26
PRAISE: God for reformation within parts of the Orthodox Church. Pray that Russians may know the Gospel and turn to Jesus in true faith.