Ukrainian Monuments on the Move - Metropolitan Onufriy - Dmitry Lotov

Ukraine: Lenin Goes, Others Arrive


Monuments come and go




M o s c o w – After years of controversy, a major statue of Lenin in the East Ukrainian, Kiev-controlled city of Zaporozhye was pulled down on 19 March. The Facebook page of Sergey Rakhuba, head of the Chicago-based “Mission Eurasia”, was one of those praising God for the demise of this symbol of bygone times.


My comment: I don't like Lenin monuments either; the public squares of Eastern European look better without them. The Leninist heritage is indeed a troubling one. But one dare not start praising God for the destruction of monuments in Ukraine until the 46+ new and growing number of monuments to the fascist Stefan Bandera (see Wikipedia) also start falling. Red is preferable to brown.


Rakhuba reports on Facebook: The monument “was so dear to too many older people who were hoping the USSR would come back. It took almost 25 years to come to this decision. Eyewitnesses reported that when the demolished statue of Lenin was loaded and hauled away, many elderly in the crowd were wiping away their tears and saying a last good-bye. Some crossed themselves, bowing to the idol as it moved away.” I doubt whether many in the West attempt to comprehend the heritage and thought world of these human beings.


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Other News


In late 2015, Yuri Apatov, the long-time, Moscow-based general-secretary of the “Euro-Asian Federation of Unions of Evangelical Christians-Baptists“ moved to Israel. Reportedly, a successor has not been named; a convening of its heads is to take place in Minsk in early April. The Federation was once regarded as the successor of the Soviet-era «All-Union Council of Evangelical Christians-Baptists», for it included all of its national parts except for the Baltic Unions and Georgia. Yet the war-induced tension between the Ukrainian and Baptist Unions may have sounded the death knell for this Russian-speaking, international Baptist body.


In recent weeks, tensions and shooting were again on the rise in Eastern Ukraine. On the occasion of the beginning of Orthodox Lent on 14 March, Metropolitan Onufriy (Berezovsky), the head of the Moscow Patriarchate's «Ukrainian Orthodox Church», wrote: «The tears of widows and orphans urge all those who are embittered to depart from the road of war and enter the way of peace.» Lent begins with Forgiveness Sunday, and «peace will come again to the land of Ukraine only after forgiveness has taken place. Forgiveness is not defeat; peace is instead the only true victory. Only it can destroy sin and heal its many consequences.» He stressed in closing that «enmity dare not exist between Christians — neither on material, political, national nor religious grounds.»


Onufriy, the head of Ukraine's largest Orthodox community, is a genuine Ukrainian. He was born in the West Ukrainian region of Chernovtsy in 1944. Interestingly, Orthodox Easter will take place this year on May 1.


Already back on 29 May 2015, a Moscow “St. Peter-and-Paul” congregation headed by Rev. Dmitry Lotov was officially accepted as a member of the St. Petersburg-based “Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia” (ELCIR). This congregation meets in secular rooms, but is hoping to purchase suitable quarters once sufficient funding is available. Roughly 70 persons attended the worship service I visited on 20 March.


Two congregations carrying the same name have existed since a split occurred in Fall 2010. It’s a question of debate as to which of the congregations is the “first” or the “second” one. Pastor Lotov holds his congregation to be the original one, re-founded in 1992. It was forced to leave the cathedral in 2010. (Note our press release from 4 November 2012.)


Bishop of the Finnish-oriented ELCIR is Arri Kugappi. The congregation meeting in St.-Peter-and-Paul-Cathedral belongs to the more German-oriented „Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia“. Its Archbishop is Dietrich Brauer.


William Yoder, Ph.D.
Smolensk, 3 April 2016

A journalistic release for which the author is solely responsible. It is informational in character and does not express the official position of any church organisation. This release may be reprinted free-of-charge if the source is cited. Release #16-03.