Faith Matters - Lutheran Archbishop in Russia - An Immense Challenge
Most Russian Lutherans are ethnic Germans. Although services are now conducted in Russian, the "Our Father” is still prayed in the language of Luther. The Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Russia has some 40,000 members and is headed by 34-year-old Dietrich Brauer, the youngest archbishop in the Lutheran World Federation.
In this report we accompany Archbishop Brauer through the Russian capital and on some of his many long journeys across Russia. There have been Lutherans in Russia since the mid-sixteenth century, but they were persecuted by Stalin and have only been able to practice their religion openly again since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today the church is headed by 34 year-old Archbishop Dietrich Brauer, whose cathedral is the Church of St Peter and Paul, in Moscow, which was built in 1695. Stalin confiscated the building and turned it into a concert hall. Later it became a cinema. When it was returned to the Lutheran community in 1990, it was a ruin. Currently, Russia doesn’t encourage pluralism. And this is where the young archbishop sees his greatest challenge. He has a vision of the Evangelical Church in Russia as becoming more than a self-contained religious community. He wants it to become an integral part of Russian society, serving not just ethnic Germans.