Ingria has a New Bishop

A New Lutheran Bishop for the Ingrian Church


Ivan Latev was inaugurated on 9 February


L a d u s h k I n -- On 9 February Ivan Sergeyevich Latev was inaugurated as bishop of the St. Petersburg-based “Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia” (ELCIR). He replaces Arri Kugappi (born 1953), who in 1996 had become this church’s first Russian-born bishop and citizen since the 1930’s. Kugappi now carries the title of “Bishop-Emeritus”. Latev had been elected bishop on 19 October 2019.


Ivan Latev, who had been born in an eastern suburb of St. Petersburg in 1979, had become a catechist for the church in 2000. He was ordained a pastor in 2011 and appointed head of Ingria’s division for mission a year later. In 2015 he became rector of the church’s seminary in the vicinity of St. Petersburg. Latev is said to be a gifted communicator and teacher. His denomination has Finnish roots and he is reported to also speak Finnish.


During the celebratory event in Petersburg’s “St. Mary’s Church” on 9 February, hands were laid on the new bishop by bishops from Latvia, Estonia and Finland. Besides Kugappi, the sole other Russian bishop involved in the act was Vsevolod Lytkin from the Akademgorodok-based “Siberian Evangelical-Lutheran Church”. The ELCIR regards itself as a conservative, confessional church which takes the Book of Concord from 1580 seriously. In North America it is allied with the Missouri-and Wisconsin-Synod churches. Observers regard Latev as a committed Lutheran confessonalist who will not judge an understanding with the larger  to be an initial priority.


As reported in our release from 3 December 2019, the Omsk-based “Evangelical-Lutheran Church in the Urals, Siberia and the Far East” is very much interested in healing the rift with  Ingria. As a church with a conservative, pietistic orientation Omsk, it could be regarded as a potential intermediary between the more liberal, Moscow-based ELC and Ingria. The Omsk church itself is a regional segment of the larger ELC. Dietrich Brauer of Moscow is the ELC’s archbishop; Alexander Scheiermann is bishop in Omsk.


Along with the ELC, Ingria remains a member of the Geneva-based “Lutheran World Federation” (LWF), which is rare among confessional Lutheran churches. The LWF lists the membership of Ingria as 15.000 and the ELC as 27.450.


Ivan Latev is married to Irina; the couple has two sons and two daughters.


William Yoder, Ph.D.
Ladushkin, Kaliningrad region, 10 April 2020


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 #20-09, 370 words.