Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe is often identified with countries that were once part of the Soviet Union or under its sway. Despite post-Communist atheism, the Eastern Orthodox Church wields considerable influence in the region. Protestants remain a small, often opposed minority.

After the fall of the Communist bloc, many Eastern Europeans came to faith in the early 1990s through Evangelical missionaries, who planted churches and established seminaries. Although Church growth has slowed substantially, Eastern Europeans continue to take up Christ’s Great Commission.

Decisions from Moscow still affect the entire region. The Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 led to war in Eastern Ukraine that portended the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. In response, Christian schools like Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary, Odessa Theological Seminary, and Tavriski Christian Institute are evacuating and housing the vulnerable, transporting food and medical supplies, and feeding hundreds daily – while also offering prayer, distributing Bibles, preaching the Gospel, and responding theologically to urgent questions of identity, trauma, and theodicy. Even as war continues, the schools have resumed online courses, training pastors and chaplains during this difficult time.

Neighboring countries in Eastern Europe – especially Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova – have since received millions of Ukrainian refugees. University Divitia Gratiae in Moldova has taken its place among a network of Christian institutions caring for displaced Ukrainian women, children, and elderly people, and helping them make arrangements for long-term safety.

Through the Vital SustainAbility Initiative, ScholarLeaders has collaborated with University Divitia Gratiae in Moldova; Kuban Evangelical Christian University and Saint Petersburg Christian University in Russia; and Odessa Theological Seminary, Tavriski Christian Institute, and Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary in Ukraine. Currently, we are helping the Ukrainian seminaries and other affected schools rebuild theological education in the wake of war. Through LeaderStudies, ScholarLeaders has supported 18 Christian leaders from Belarus, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.

Through the generosity of many donors, ScholarLeaders has mobilized over $800,000 in funds for relief and rebuilding theological education in Ukraine. Our 2022 Annual Report includes an update about the Ukrainian Relief Fund. The latest issue of our InSights Journal for Global Theological Education features Ukrainian voices. Read Taras Dyatlik’s Global InSights, Speaking of Pain and Waiting. A Ukrainian, Taras works for our partner in ministry, Overseas Council, and advises our Vital SustainAbility Initiative in Eastern Europe. He also helps coordinate our Catalytic Ventures – Church & Society initiative on gospel-driven responses to war.

Join us in praying for our sisters and brothers in Eastern Europe, as they “shine like stars in the world, holding forth the word of life” (Phil. 2:16). Pray for war to cease in Ukraine and for God’s righteousness to rise “with healing in its healings” (Mal. 4:2). Pray for wisdom and resilience for all who call on Jesus’ name, that they might persevere as agents of hope in Eastern Europe and beyond.

Photo: “Kyiv, Ukraine” (2019) by Robert Anasch (Unsplash)

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Elilo Ezung from Nagaland

Due to our complicated political history with India and the failure to reach a ‘solution’ to date, Nagas continue to search for peace and reconciliation within our fragmented society and with the Indian government.

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