New Life is Springing from the Stump
M o s c o w – On September 3, Moscow’s St.-Peter-und-Paul-congregation joyfully celebrated the 15th anniversary of its resurrection. In his sermon, Bishop Siegfried Springer (Moscow) compared the congregation’s traumatic history with a tree stump. But the ELCER head (“Evangelical-Lutheran Church - European Russia”) assured: “The tree has been gravely damaged by historical circumstances. But thanks to God’s goodness – new life is springing from the stump!” By now, the old tree’s remains have grown into a respectable tree with branches and twigs offering parishioners “plenty of space for the varying expressions of life and human development”. According to the Bishop, of vital importance for the future is that “the believers stick together and remain rooted in the Holy Scriptures and in the active trust of Jesus Christ”. In 1936 Pastor Alexander Streck and the entire church council had been arrested, deported and later killed. Following these traumatic events and decades of humiliation and deprivation, the congregation was able to reconstitute itself in 1991 and begin meeting again at its traditional location.
The congregation’s pastors, Dimitri Lotov and Gottfried Spieth, were responsible for the liturgical segments of this memorable service. They were assisted by two guest pastors: Alexander Raeder of Yaroslavl, Russia and Harry Asikov of Tblissi, Georgia. A choir directed by Eduard Hubert from the Lutheran congregation in Bayreuth-Altstadt, Germany provided the musical surroundings.
The Peter-and-Paul-Church hails back to 1626, the present cathedral was consecrated in 1905 Following its expropriation and the start of inappropriate usage in the late 1930s, the congregation’s house of worship was finally returned 15 years ago. Restoration work has been continuous since then. The main sanctuary has been sufficiently restored to offer a dignified atmosphere for worship services. The Sauer organ, a historical treasure transferred from Moscow’s destroyed St.-Michael’s-Church to St.-Peter-and-Paul, is making glorious music following its major restoration.
Moscow’s St.-Peter-and-Paul-Cathedral is home to a congregation of the same name and is also seat of the ELCER-bishop. This church consists of 170 congregations and groups, making it the largest provincial church belonging to ELCROS, the “Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Central Asia”. ELCROS is headed by Archbishop Dr. Edmund Ratz in St. Petersburg.
Dr. William Yoder and Gottfried Spieth
Berlin and Moscow, 7 September 2006
A press release of the “Evangelical-Lutheran Church - European Russia” (ELCER). Press release Nr. 9, 355 words.