Peace to you, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Our traditional Summer seminars were held in a rural place near Novosibirsk. More than a hundred people came from different parishes from Transbaikalia to Moscow and the South Urals.
We thank those who prayed and donated for the seminars!
In his speech at the opening of the seminars, our Bishop Vsevolod said,
Today we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of our traditional Summer theological seminars. When we organized them for the very first time (and, by the way, how many of you were there, remember? Raise your hand!)… so, when we held them for the very first time, we did not know how many more times we would be able to organize. Then we only dreamed.
At that time there was no autocephalous Lutheran Church here in Siberia, at that time we were under the cozy wing of our Mother – the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church. Then we still had almost no clergy. How many were there? There was me, there was deacon Pavel Khramov, there was deacon Daniel Burlakov (he was ordained into the deaconate in 1995).
We didn’t have church buildings then. In Novosibirsk we rented a semi-basement room.
To be honest, I hardly remember the first summer seminars. Maybe some of you remember them better. I raised my hand simply because I clearly was at those seminars. But I don’t remember the details. 25 years is a quite long time. And my memory is not the same. Saint Dementia, pray for me. 🙂
But then, we got off to a great start. We have invited the best professors from foreign seminaries, and many friends from different countries came to visit us (it is incredibly sad, of course, that this year no one of them was able to come because of the pandemically closed borders). We started with theological education. Our first candidates went to study at the Seminary in Fort Wayne.
And we talked about Christ to all those near and far, we called them to the Church, started organizing theological seminars in other locations, we invited those who were already our parishioners, and those who were near the Church, but still not inside her.
Our Church has always been distinguished by the fact that we strived to learn and to teach. In general, we Lutherans have always been “obsessed” with education, because God’s truths were given to us for our salvation. So many mistakes people make because they don’t know the Gospel! Sometimes these mistakes are fatal. People err and perish in their delusions, and lead others to perdition.
That is why it is the duty of every Christian to witness of his (or, her) faith in Christ to those around him, and the duty of the Church is to save people through the Word and the sacraments and to teach the faithful of the salvation, revealing to them the most important thing that we have, “the true treasure of the Church is the most holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God.”
So I congratulate you on this 25th Anniversary of the Summer theological seminars!
Please pray for Lutheran education in Siberia.