Forest Fires Hit Baptist Homes

Baptists are also Victims of the Present Russian Fires


An appeal from Voronesh region


M o s c o w -- After abnormally high temperatures had ruined most of the crops, over 800 fires destroyed houses, factories and farms throughout Central and Western Russia in late July. A detailed report has reached Baptist headquarters in Moscow from the region of Voronesh, which is located 490 km southeast of the Russian capital. The local Baptist Ivan Galitsyn reports that as of 10 August, 307 houses had been destroyed in Voronesh district alone. According to him, the most serious fires occurred in the county of Verkhny Mamon 180 km southeast of Voronesh. This area is located just south of the city of Pavlovsk and 70 km north of the Ukrainian border.


Galitsyn writes that temperatures were hovering around 40 C (102 F) on 28 July when fires erupted at midday in the village of Gorokhovka. Heat and wind quickly carried the flames to the neighbouring village of Olkhovatka, covering the nine kilometres (5,6 miles) in as little as 15 minutes. When the winds suddenly turned, the fires returned to Gorokhovka and destroyed additional housing there. In all, 30 dwellings were burned in Gorokhovka. The destruction of 120 more in Olkhovatka occurred within a 45-minute period. These 120 dwellings included seven belonging to Baptist families; Olkhovatka’s Baptist meeting place was spared.


Galitsyn reports that “the believers in Voronesh and Voronesh region have not remained untouched by the need and are doing all they can to aid the suffering within the Olkhovatka congregation and the village in general. “


Pastor Ruvim Voloshin, responsible for humanitarian affairs for the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists in Moscow, reports: “The government has promised a lot, but we cannot wait for that help to kick in. We have gathered money among our believers, are looking for school clothes for the children, buying food and coal and making other preparations for the winter.” For the present, these destitute families are living with friends or relatives in the vicinity. Galitsyn confirms that construction materials are on location and that building sites are being patrolled by video camera, just as President Vladimir Putin had promised.


Persons wishing to donate funds for these fire victims are invited to contact our Baptist offices in Moscow. Email is always the best way to start.


William Yoder

Department for External Church Relations, RUECB

Moscow, 15 August 2010


A release of the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists. It is informational in character and does not express a sole, official position of RUECB-leadership. Release #10-22, 371 words, 2.298 keystrokes and spaces.