Former Lutheran Parishes in Siberia, Russia
Since the end of the 5th ILC World Seminaries Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, we have traveled to Moscow, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, and Irkutsk. In both Irkutsk and Tomsk, one can find the sits where thriving Lutheran churches once existed.
Tomsk, located north east of Novosibirsk, is one of the oldest cities in Siberia at 409 years old. It was a town where Germans had settled and the Lutheran Church along with a Lutheran school had been established. Under communism in the 1930s, the Lutheran church was destroyed and an amusement park was built in its place. A ferris wheel was built on the site of the Lutheran church. The residents of Tomsk call the ferris wheel by another name, “devils wheel.”
Some years later, the German government assisted in the rebuilding of the Lutheran church in Tomsk. Today, Saint Mary’s Lutheran Church stands near the site of the original Lutheran church.
Irkutsk was founded in 1661 on the Angara River. Both during and after the Great Northern War (Peter the Great defeated Sweden in 1721), Lutherans began to settle in Siberia, Russia. A Lutheran church was established in Irkutsk. The first Lutheran church was wooden. It was built in 1826, but burned down during the fire of 1879. A stone church was built in the 1880s. However, it was closed in 1919. Then it was used as a student hostile. In 1952 it was completely demolished, and at that location a Lenin monument was erected which remains today.(http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/01907/lutheran.htm)
Alexey Streltsov and Albert Collver sit not far from where the altar would have been located in the original church. During the communist period in Russia, nearly all (if not all) the Lutheran churches were destroyed or repurposed for other uses — swimming pools, gyms, museums, et al.
“Seventh, the holy Christian people are externally recognized by the holy possession of the sacred cross. They must endure every misfortune and persecution, all kinds of trials and evil from the devil, the world, and the flesh (as the Lord’s Prayer indicates) by inward sadness, timidity, fear, outward poverty, contempt, illness, and weakness, in order to become like their head, Christ. And the only reason they must suffer is that they steadfastly adhere to Christ and God’s word, enduring this for the sake of Christ, Matthew 5 [:11], “Blessed are you when men persecute you on my account.” They must be pious, quiet, obedient, and prepared to serve the government and everybody with life and goods, doing no one any harm. No people on earth have to endure such bitter hate; they must be accounted worse than Jews, heathen, and Turks. In summary, they must be called heretics, knaves, and devils, the most pernicious people on earth, to the point where those who hang, drown, murder, torture, banish, and plague them to death are rendering God a service. No one has compassion on them; they are given myrrh and gall to drink when they thirst. And all of this is done not because they are adulterers, murderers, thieves, or rogues, but because they want to have none but Christ, and no other God. Wherever you see or hear this, you may know that the holy Christian church is there, as Christ says in Matthew 5 [:11–12], “Blessed are you when men revile you and utter all kinds of evil against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” This too is a holy possession whereby the Holy Spirit not only sanctifies his people, but also blesses them.” (Martin Luther, On Councils and the Church, AE 41, 164-165)
– Posted by Albert B Collver on 15 August 2013 using BlogPress from my iPhone
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