East-West Church & Ministry Report
Vol. 2, No. 3, Summer 1994, Covering the Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe

News Notes

Delegates at the European Convention of Christians in Broadcasting in Brussels, Belgium, voted unanimously to establish the Fellowship of European Broadcasters (FEB) as a membership organization.  Under the direction of board member David Olson, the Fellowship is creating "Euronet 2000" - a computerized directory of Christians in Broadcasting.  "Euronet" will be available through electronic network systems or the Fellowship office in 1995.  For further information, contact:

The International Airline Passenger Association advises against flying over the  territory of the former Soviet Union.  "Overloaded airplanes, lack of cockpit discipline, pilot error, aging aircraft," are all common, the agency said, in the first such warning it has ever issued.  The passenger association noted that many routine safety and maintenance procedures regulated in the West are not followed by airlines of  the former Soviet Union.  (New York Times, 12 May 1994, A7).  While EWC&M Report editors share IAPA's concern regarding domestic air travel in the former Soviet Union, flights originating from the West to the region have an acceptable safety and performance record.

Lufthansa now flies direct routes to the Urals and Siberia:  Frankfurt-Ekaterinburg and Frankfurt-Novosibirsk.  The German airline makes two weekly flights on the new routes without refueling in Moscow.  Lufthansa is now the primary volume carrier in the Russian market with 53 flights each week to and from Russia, more than its major competitors, British Airways and Delta.  Dutch KLM has opened a cargo service center at St. Petersburg's airport providing freight  and logistical services, including customs clearance, storage, transport, and packaging.  Source:  Russian Travel Monthly 2 (March 1994), 1.  Finally, Austrian Air now has a direct flight from Vienna to Odessa on Mondays and Fridays.  Source:  Greater Europe Mission, Odessa Gazette 4 (June 1994):  2.

The Montenegrin Orthodox Church in the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro has declared itself an autocephalous church, independent of the Serbian Orthodox church, and elected Bishop Antonje Abramovic as its leader.  Serbian church leaders immediately denounced the move. The Montenegrin church merged with the Serbian church in 1920.  The Orthodox church in neighboring Macedonia proclaimed its independence from the Serbian church in the 1970s, but the Serbs have consistently refused to recognize it, thus blocking the acceptance of the Macedonian church by other Orthodox churches worldwide.  Frontier (1994 January-February), 25.

The Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy, an international congregation, has provided hot meals for the elderly poor of Moscow since December 1991.  This ministry has grown from serving 150 meals up to nearly 1,200 meals a day, six days a week, at a cost of $.50 per meal.  The Chaplaincy also financially assists Moscow Baptist and Orthodox Churches in similar social outreach programs.  Since church volunteers administer the program in Russian cafeterias, none of the funds received from gifts is allotted to administrative overhead.  Donations may be made to:

Open Letter to Patriarch Alexis II on the Need for Liturgical Renewal.  Twenty-two theologians and priests of the Russian Orthodox Church sent an open letter to Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow at the beginning of May 1994 concerning problems linked to "the ability of modern man to understand liturgical texts."  The continuing debate on possible liturgical reforms, notably the use of the Russian language in place of the Slavonic language, is in the process of being stifled, state the signatories of the letter to the Patriarch.  It is urgent, they feel, to open a broad collegial discussion on all problems connected with liturgical practice, rather than allow the current trend to "hunt the enemy."  To contribute to this debate, the signatories suggest, in the form of questions, a set of points for reflection:  "Is it possible to celebrate in the Russian language in some parishes in large towns, or, at least, if that can only happen sometimes, to read the Epistle and Gospel in Russian?  Should we encourage the development of congregational singing?  Can we go back to certain liturgical practices of the ancient Church which the Russian Church has specifically given up?  What can we learn from the liturgical experience of other autocephalous Orthodox Churches?" Excerpted from Service Orthodoxe de Presse et d'Information 189 (June 1994) 4-5.

In a typical Russian city of 500,000 people, it is believed that nearly half of the adult male population is alcoholic, according to Alexander V. Nemtsov, head of the drug and alcohol department for the Russian Institute of Psychiatry in Moscow.  "We're the heaviest drinkers in the world.  And our people don't consume it gradually."  The CoMission Biweekly Update 1 (10 June 1994). Approximately 18 Alcoholics Anonymous offices are now open in the former Soviet Union and East Central Europe.  In addition, Al-Anon support groups, fellowships of relatives and friends of alcoholics, total 62 in Russia and 234 in Poland.  For a complete list of offices and groups in former Soviet-bloc countries contact:

General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous 
Grand Central Station 
Box 459 
New York, NY, 10163 
Tel:  212-870-3400 
Fax:  212-870-3003
Al-Anon Family Groups 
Midtown Station 
Box 862 
New York, NY 10018-0862 
Tel:  212-302-7240 
Fax:  212-869-3757

LOGOS Biblical Training International (BTI), Fresno, CA, and International Slavic Christian Institute (ISCI), Tulsa, OK, organized Bible training courses for Slavic immigrants and resident Russian-speaking individuals beginning in 1989.  Students, mostly studying by means of extension courses, live throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Leadership for the program has now shifted from LOGOS BTI to ISCI.  ISCI's goal is to prepare future missionaries and ministers for Russia, Ukraine, and other former Soviet republics.  Enrollment is approximately 400 students.  For further information contact:

News Notes, East-West Church & Ministry Report, 2 (Summer 1994), 12-13.

Written permission is required for reprinting or electronic distribution of any portion of the East-West Church & Ministry Report.

1994 Institute for East-West Christian Studies
ISSN 1069-5664

East-West Church & Ministry Report | Contents | Search back issues | From Our Readers | Subscribe