By Editorial Staff
Published May 1, 1988
In the midst of the pomp and fanfare of the 1000th birthday of Christianity in Russia, the younger generation in the Soviet Union is apparently showing a growing interest in spiritual matters. “There has been a religious revival among young people,” said Deputy Chief Father Vladimir of the Russian Orthodoxy’s main monastic center.
Young Russians are increasingly interested in joining the clergy, according to Time magazine, and they are attending church in unprecedented numbers. For example, at a monastery that re-opened as a church after a period of government control, two-fifths of the congregation is in their 20’s and 30’s.
This growing interest in Christianity among the youth during the state-sanctioned celebration may stem from boredom, disillusionment, and cynicism – which the Soviet government is acknowleging as a problem.
Jon Utley, associate editor of The Times of Americas magazine and commentator on Voice of America, said that Soviet youth are a major government concern. Utley recently went on a tour sponsored by the World Media Association with 50 journalists, academic leaders, and activists.
“From talking to young people, we could well understand why Soviet youth are a major preoccupation of the government. There were almost no diversions. Our members (when alone) were often approached by youths for black market transactions.”
Utley attended a press conference by the Foreign Ministry. During the briefing, Communist state officials distributed a release which stated: “Young people are uncompromising in their search for truth. One can’t overlook the fact that many young people during the years of stagnation reconciled themselves to the hopelessness of attempts to attain truth and change …”
“(T)hey saw in society elements that were totally incompatible with what they knew about the nature of socialism. The example of some officials … was morally destructive.” Specifics on these officials were not revealed.
Utley also attended a meeting in Leningrad with students of the Soviet American Friendship Society. “In one discussion about human rights, a student said that Russia should withdraw from Afghanistan and was promptly answered and dressed down for 10 minutes by an older member,” he said in a report on his visit in Human Events.
Besides growing interest among youth, the official Russian Orthodox Church is becoming more vocal in the Soviet press and television on matters involving the country’s moral and cultural climate. “Glasnost and religious freedom are intimately correlated,” Vsevold Marinov told The Forerunner. Marinov is the director of the Soviet Bureau of Opinion based in Moscow. “Religious people have much more of a voice in the mass media which wasn’t the case before.”
Marinov is also a member of the Peace Committee, a delegation of Soviet citizens that recently visited the U.S. Pravda Cultural Editor Nikolai Potopov agreed, saying, “Religious people are more and more active in sharing their opinions with non-religious people on peace-related problems. Confiscated church buildings are being returned to churches.”
To commemorate the birth of Christianity, the Soviet government gave permission to the United Bible Society in Stuttgart, West Germany, for the importation of 100,000 Ukranian language Bibles. But many church leaders both inside and outside the country say that Gorbachev’s reconstructionist policies are cosmetic, and are calling for more radical changes to be made in Soviet dealings with the Church. Father Gleb Yakunin, an ex-prisoner who initiated the Russian Orthodox human rights movement in 1965, said, “The general atmosphere has changed a lot, but when it comes to actual church life, it’s like it was 30 years ago.”
Communist officials have said there may be signs of a new policy toward state control of churches. In the communist Central Committee Publication, an article stated, “The time has finally come to put an end to a suspicious and unfavorable attitude toward believers and their ideals of care for people, love and moral self-improvement. We should take into account the unprecedented historical fact that the church has managed to find its place in socialist society without detriment to its faith.”
Yuri Smirnov, spokesman for the Council for Religious Affairs, told Time, “The church could be a help in changing people’s attitudes toward work. There are too many divorces. There are many other social problems, like drug abuse. There are three to eight suicides among young people in Moscow every week. Why not use the power of the Church, since millions of people are under its influence?”
This is most definitely a far cry from the rhetoric of past Soviet regimes, which predicted total eradication of faith and Christianity by this date. As millions of nationals celebrate the arrival of the Christian gospel in the Soviet Union, and as young people return to the churches in record numbers, it will most likely open the doors for even more lively discussion in the Kremlin about the future of the USSR.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Russia, Ukraine and former USSR
Your comments are welcome!
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)