East-West Church & Ministry Report
Vol. 4, No. 2, Spring 1996, Covering the Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe

News Notes

Disparity Between Faith and Practice in Russia
According to a 1993 poll conducted by the Russian Center of Public Opinion and Market Research (VTZIOM), based on a sample of 1,650 people representing the adult population of Russia, 41 percent of Russians consider themselves Russian Orthodox.  In 1989 VTZIOM recorded 16 percent as Russian Orthodox.  By late 1994 the percentage had reached 48.

Only 10 percent of the Russian Orthodox attend church at least once a month, and 50 percent never read the Bible.  According to Priest Innokentyi, only 3 to 5 percent of the population attend church regularly and live within the norms and values of Christian morality.  Often, religion has more to do with national self-identity than with a commitment to Christian values. Fewer Russian Orthodox than the general population believe that Jesus is the Son of God (36 percent versus 41 percent).  Over one-third (38 percent) either doubt the claims or existence of Jesus or don't know what to say.  Like the general population, less than one-half believe that the Bible is the Word of God, however defined.  Almost an equal number don't know what the Bible is (36 percent).

Excerpt reprinted with permission from Tony Carnes, "Modern Moscow: Its Religious and Moral Values," Urban Mission 13 (March 1996), 29-41.


Dr. Thomas Drobena and Rev. Wilma Kucharek, a clergy couple, were elected as co-chairpersons of the Slovak Zion Synod's International Relations Committee (IRC).  The IRC oversees the Synod's mission outreach to Lutheran churches in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.  Source: The Zion 71 (January-February 1996), 1.


The CoMission, a cooperative effort of 84 Evangelical ministries to introduce Christian ethics curricula in post-Soviet public schools, is scheduled to conclude in December 1997.  King Crow, CoMission executive director, recently announced that an ad hoc committee of CoMission executive committee members and sending agency leaders, meeting in January 1996, had "agreed unanimously that the CoMission should honor its original plan to end on December 31, 1997."  However, agencies which "wish to remain and follow up on the work of The CoMission teams should have a cooperative mechanism for doing so."  Goals of the new CoMission II will be to continue training teachers in Christian ethics curricula and "developing nationals to lead and multiply cell groups."  Source: E-mail letter from King Crow, 1 May 1996.

In February 1996 The CoMission released the following statistics:

Source: The CoMission Biweekly, 2 February 1996.


Kyiv, Not Kiev.  In keeping with the recommendation of the Ukrainian government, the capital of Ukraine in the future will be transliterated from the Cyrillic alphabet as Kyiv in the East-West Church & Ministry Report, rather than Kiev, the Russian variant.

According to Anatoly Koval, chairman of Ukraine's State Committee for Religions, as of February 1996 Ukraine had 18,000 registered religious communities representing 70 confessions.  The number of parishes in the largest confessions follows:

Jan. 1994 Feb. 1995 Feb. 1996
Ukrainian Orthodox Church--Moscow Patriarchate 5,998 6,130 6,564
Ukrainian Eastern-Rite Catholic Church 2,932 3,031 3,079
Ukrainian Orthodox Church--Kyiv Patriarchate 1,932 1,753 1,332
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church 289 616 1,209
Source for 1995-96 statistics: Metaphrasis, no. 31 (8-14 March 1996).
Statistics for 1994 are from Andrii Krawchuk, "Religious Life in Ukraine: Continuity and Change," Journal of Ecumenical Studies 33 (Winter 1996), 62.

News Notes, East-West Church & Ministry Report, 4 (Spring 1996), 14.

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1996 Institute for East-West Christian Studies
ISSN 1069-5664

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