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The Lutheranism in Russia have long-term tradition, since XVI century when the first Lutheran parishes were founded and since the Lutheran tradition has strongly entered into culture of Russia, becoming its component. The Russian state is much obliged for those great achievements, discoveries and feats wherethrough the persons served it confessing a Lutheranism throughout the centuries.

Unfortunately, now the Lutheranism in Russia is experiencing the evil days. Atomism of Lutheran churches, commitment to the personal interests by the some leaders to the prejudice of the general unity, don’t allow to realize the full potential which the Lutheran tradition which can enrich in many respects modern Russian culture, and also help to get the firm theological basis and correct reference points in activity and development of numerous Protestants in Russia.

Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession (ELC AC) - Lutheran denomination, founded in 2006 (was officially registered in 2007), positioning itself as a supra-national church. ELCAC was established after the failure ELCI & ELKRAS and take part in new Lutheran communities established on territory of Russian Federation. ELCAC repeatedly shows an initiative to integrate with other Lutheran churches, declaring the purpose of its creation – to enable the legal registration of the Lutheran communities which are not taken in the pre-existing churches. [1] .

HISTORY OF ELC AC (RUSSIA)

This denomination was organized 28 June 2006 by three pastors - Konstantin Andreev (who also served as head of the Russian branch of the “Lutheran Hour Ministries”), Daniel Sobolev and Vladimir Solodovnikov . At the same time the president of the General Synod of the ELCAC was elected Pudov Vladimir , who was previously a significant position in the leadership ELKRAS [2] . The new church structure includes groups created with the participation of LHM.

In 2007 Vladimir   Kyunttsel (former probst of ELKRAS in Moscow) moved into ELCAC,  who became a bishop of the ELCAC (by decision of general synod of the ELCAC, which was held on 28-29 June 2008 in Moscow)[3] . He resigned in 2010 due because of illness.

In 2007, the ELCAC Vladimir Solodovnikov has left ELCAC  [4] .

Since 2007, the ELCAC has started negotiations of the Partnership [5] with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Uzbekistan (one of the churches of the land included in ELKRAS), which led to the conclusion of a treaty between the two denominations[6] . ELCU did not exclude the possibility exit from ELKRAS [7] .
In December 2010 the head of ELKRAS archbishop August Kruse, in his epistle mentioned about the possible return of the clergy and parishioners ELCAC in  ELKRAS’s bosom:

With respect to communities of ELCAC, in our Church we agreed that they could be made members of ELKRAS, if they can confirm their Lutheran identity. The decision to adopt may be taken in conjunction Bishop and Dean of the region. In the transition ministers ELCAC & ELKRAS will be considered as having theological education and ordination  and will be allow an opinions of ELCI in those cases where a minister formerly belonged to ELCI.

 

- Epistle from the Archbishop ELKRAS August Kruse.

In 2011 General Synod ELCAC elected a bishop of the church – pastor of St. Michael parish in Moscow, Konstantin Andreev [8] .
In 2012 Pastor Igor Knyazev was elected and became a bishop of the North-West district of ELC AC in Russia. [9]

 29-30 March 2012 ELCAC hosted the conference of Russian Lutherans “that all of them may be one”. This conference was organized by the Evangelical – Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession (ELCAC). The participants were: representatives of the Lutheran churches, the Protestant denominations, public and international religious organizations, government, religious scholars, scientists and lawyers. The main theme of the conference was an initiative of ELCAC on the integration existing Lutheran churches in Russia in the united Lutheran alliance with the prospect of creating a unified Lutheran Church in Russia. Summing up the conference, the participants agreed on the need of this integration.[10]

ELCAC consistently establishes cooperation with Lutheran churches outside Russia, in particular with the Lutherans in Germany [11] and Finland [12] .
28 April 2012 delegation consisting of the Bishop of the ELCAC Konstantin Andreev and the Bishop of North-West church district ELCAC Igor Knyazev, after three months of coordination and preparatory work has entered into an agreement on cooperation and collaboration with the Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary. The agreement will begin seminary training staff ministers ELCAC in September 2012. MECS is announced on the set of full-time and part-time branch of the university. Confessional objects in a special group of Lutheran students will be read by invited experts and pastors of ELCAC. [13] .

STRUCTURE

Vladimir Pudov is the President of the General Synod of ELCAC. Bishop is Konstantin Andreev. There are also regional bishops: Igor Knyazev – The Bishop of the North-West church ditrict, Franz Alexander – Bishop in the Altai (Siberia). The church has 40 communities located in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Voronezh, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Krasnodar, Novorossiysk [14] .The main one is the parish of St. Michael the Archangel [15] (named in memory of the first Lutheran congregation in Moscow). So far the community has its own church building, and meetings are held in a hall belonging to the “Society for promoting Christian broadcasting”. St.Michael plans to build a church in Khimki (near Moscow) .

In 2008 the church was transferred to the building of Lutheran church in Voronezh .

In 2008, ELCAC signed a cooperation agreement with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Uzbekistan in the person of Bishop Korney Vibe.

In 2010 ELCAC was built and consecrated Lutheran church in Kaluga.

In 2011 in Novotyryshkino village (Semenov district of the Altai Territory, Siberia) Luhteran church was built and consecrated by Bishop Konstantin Andreev in the name of St.Mary.

In 2012 restoration work began in the church of St. Mary in village Rybnoe (Rybinsdorf) Ostrogozhsk district of the Voronezh region.

INTERNET ACTIVITY

Unlike other denominations ELCAC is very active in the virtual space. ELCAC owned portal “Lutheranism in Russia” (previously – official website of the Russian branch of LHM). In 2004 this site was organized an Internet Conference of Metropolit Kirill (now he is the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia ) [16] .

In addition to the main church portal, active informational support renders by the Latvian portal www.Baznica.Info , headed by former Volunteer LHM Pavel Levushkan.

LINKS (in russian)

 

  1. ↑ “Creating ELCAC – an attempt to resist the onslaught of” liberalism “and its expansion into the Russian Christianity in general” – the pastor of the community of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Russia, Vladimir Solodovnikov
  2. ↑ In Russia, the establishment of a new Lutheran jurisdiction
  3. ↑ There was a General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession
  4. ↑ Letter from the Director Vladimir Solodovnikov – mission “Service to the Lutheran Hour” pastor Konstantin Andreev
  5. ↑ Our two churches have much in common
  6. ↑ In search of recognition. Vladimir Pudov: “The General Synod became the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia a real breakthrough”
  7. ↑ The Lutheran Church of Uzbekistan leaves the Union ELKRAS
  8. ↑ There was a II-nd General Synod ELCAC
  9. ↑ Introduction to the post of vicar bishop ELCAC
  10. ↑ In Moscow, a conference “that all of them may be one”
  11. ↑ Visitation of the Lutheran church in Voronezh co-religionists in Germany dealing with the prison ministry
  12. ↑ The visit of the President of the Finnish Lutheran Church of Religious congregations ELCAC
  13. ↑ ELCAC has signed an agreement with the Moscow Theological Seminary
  14. ↑ Addresses of parishes
  15. ↑ The presentation of the book by Vladimir Solodovnikov of the oldest Lutheran parish in Russia
  16. ↑ Meets Metropolit Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad

 

 

References

 

 

ELC AC confesses:
The Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. We believe that all people are sinners. Jesus, therefore, out of merciful love, came to earth and suffered and died in our place, taking our sins upon himself. Faith in this saving work of Jesus is the only way to heaven. Those who refuse to confess and repent of their sins are not living in this faith, and upon death are eternally lost in hell. God alone justifies human beings by faith in Christ — a faith that God creates through the message of the Gospel. As ambassadors for Christ, God uses us to speak his Word and build his kingdom.

Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation.
The proclamation of God’s message to us as both Law and Gospel is the Word of God, revealing judgment and mercy through word and deed, beginning with the Word in creation, continuing in the history of Israel, and centering in all its fullness in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The Bible is the inspired Word of God in its entirety, without error or contradiction.
The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by the Holy Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God’s revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them the Holy Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world.
The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith and life, “according to which all doctrines should and must be judged.” (Formula of Concord, Epitome, Part I)

The Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of the Church. The Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.The other confessional writings in the Book of Concord, namely, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the Church.

The Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and Lutheran confessional writings, as the power of God to create and sustain the Church for God’s mission in the world. We are people who believe and confess our faith in the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We trust and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.
We believe and confess that the Bible is God’s revealed Word to us, spoken in Law and Gospel. The Bible is the final authority for us in all matters of our faith and life. We accept and uphold that the Lutheran Confessions reliably guide us as faithful interpretations of Scripture, and that we share a unity and fellowship in faith with others among whom the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached and the sacraments are administered in accordance with the Gospel.

We believe and confess that the Holy Spirit makes all who believe in Jesus Christ to be priests for service to others in Jesus’ name, and that God desires to make use of the spiritual gifts he has given through the priesthood of all believers.

We believe and confess that the marriage of male and female is an institution created and blessed by God. From marriage, God forms families to serve as the building blocks of all human civilization and community. We teach and practice that sexual activity belongs exclusively within the biblical boundaries of a faithful marriage between one man and one woman.

We believe and confess that the church is the assembly of believers called and gathered by God around Word and Sacrament, and that the mission and ministry of the church is carried out within the context of individual congregations, which are able to work together locally and globally.

As Lutherans we follow the Lord’s command to “speak My Word faithfully” (Jer. 23:28) and teach the world “all things which I [Jesus] have commanded you” (Matt. 28:28). We realize that although God’s Will isn’t always the most exciting option to our sinful nature, it is definately what people need at this time of moral decline. Confessional Lutherans teach that people are sinful, and without Christ’s redemptive work we would have no hope of eternal life. We reject that the church changes with the times in order to continue attracting members. We proclaim that God’s Word is relevant to today’s believer and confess that allowig people to decide for themselves what is or isn’t God-pleasing is non-Lutheran way to believe.

Baptism

We believe that everyone (mature and child) must be baptized in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, through the sprinkling or immersion in water. By this sacrament God gives us salvation, entrance to the Christian Church, Holy Spirit, forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

Communion (Eucharist)

Luther said that if the Lord said, “This is my body and my blood,” then I can not think otherwise. Sripture does not say that “this bread is like my body and the wine is like my blood.” so we believe that we truly receive Body and Blood of Christ in bread and wine of Eucharist. By this sacrament God gives us forgiveness of sins, eternal cure and unite participation in Christian Church.

Liturgy

Regular normal Sunday service can take place with the Holy Communion. In classical form of worship – preaching – should pass the general confession (although confession and general, each confessed to the Lord in person), after the sermon – Holy Communion. Of course, the differences in shape may be, but it is advisable to be kept to a minimum. This will allow the congregation to feel more comfortable with mutual communication between the two communities. Our church currently has four community traditions: German, Scandinavian, fraternal and charismatic.
Each of them has its own characteristics in the liturgy, but in spite of this, sometimes very strong, external differences, all of them Lutheran.

Ordination

For us, this is not the sacrament, but a single procedure – ordination pastor of the church bylaws provide. Pastor is elected community. Bishop checks whether a person is worthy to be a pastor or not, and after which ordains him (If he is not, bushop explains the reason of rejection of candidate). If the community is invited ordained pastor, Bishop’s as spiritual director, assesses compliance pastor ministry, and community expresses an opinion about it. We believe the ordination blessing to the ministry. If the pastor or bishop does not serve, they are purely titular rank.
Women in ELC AI is not ordain. Also we reject to ordain the persons with homosexual orientation.
All pastoral positions in ministry are made for male, but we bless the women to serve in community as deaconess, social worker, teacher, reader of the Scripture on liturgy, cantor and musician, but this is not a priest service, this is service of gifts of Holy Ghost through women and men. Pastor and Bishop, as well as a deacon are gifts of ministry. We also believe in the principle of “universal priesthood of believers.” Just as there is no division between “clergy” and “laity.”

Relationship with the Lutheran churches

Our church community are free to their external contacts, relations with other churches or with communities of other churches, which is rooted in Lutheran belief as we are. Communities may choose to invite preachers, priests for the common ministry and preaching, to participate in activities and joint prayers. ELC AC for many years consistently called for the unification of the Lutherans in Russia. We need to understand the challenge of last time and seek the unity in Christian faith and practice: “That they may all be one, as We are one “(John 17: 21).

We believe, teach and confess that God wants us to have the community where the word of God is preached in purity and clarity and consensus, and the sacraments were sent in accordance with the establishment of Christ, and where the faithful get that care of souls, they need (Matt 18,15-20). God’s will is to parishes and churches, with the same faith and confession, the church was carried out between a union and worked, for instance, in missionary work, and the service of charity, according to it ability.

On the Church and the unity of the Church

About the church and church unity we teach “that at all times and must be kept holy Church Christian one is the assembly of all believers among whom the Gospel is preached in purity and the holy sacraments according to the Gospel taught . For to the true unity of the Christian Church, it is enough that the gospel was preached and the sacraments were taught according to the Word divine. And for the true unity of the Christian Church, there is no need to respected everywhere uniform, men established rituals, and Paul says, Eph. 4.5-6: “There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all”

About missionary work

We believe and teach that the One Holy Church will continue until the end of the world. This church is called upon to carry out missionary work in the words and the Lord’s command: “All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth: Go therefore and make all nations my disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things what ye shall I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, to the end of time “(Mt 28,18-20). The task of the church in worship and teaching is to provide its members baptized constant preaching and teaching of the Christian faith. However, it must vigorously continue the mission of Christ, the One who came to look for the missing (Luke 15, Matt. 18,11-14), gave his life for the whole world (John 3:16), and sent his apostles around world. His good will is that “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2.4). He also said: “And this gospel will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24.14). Means for carrying out missionary work is only and solely the holy means of grace, the word and the sacraments, which are created faith and growth in faith through the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit, and where God wills. To this end, God “established righteous ministry has given the Gospel and the sacraments, with which – as a means – He says the Holy Spirit, who creates faith.”

We reject the establishment that all the baptized are Christians, and therefore do not need to do missionary work. After all, the Lord said He, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24), and the apostles are jealous in the same way that the non-believers have fallen and could again be grafted to the vine in order to be saved (Rom. 11.23). We also reject the idea in the same way that the Church grows and multiplies only human strength.

 

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