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WILLIAM YODER


About a mile from the Krem- lin, St. Peter and Paul Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral offers a range of ministries for peo- ple of every nation- ality in Moscow.


The winds of Lutheran change By William Yoder S


ince the March 2011 election of a young adult, Dietrich Brauer (now 29), as bishop of the Evangeli- cal Lutheran Church of European Russia (ELCER), winds of change have wafted through one of its congrega- tions—Moscow’s lofty St. Peter and Paul Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral. Perhaps Russia’s most magnificent Lutheran structure, St. Peter and Paul—one mile east of the Kremlin—is fast becoming a focal point of Russian Protestant life. Wed- dings, conventions and concerts from many Protestant quarters take place there weekly. And since January 2012, the ecumenical, space-cramped Moscow Protestant Chap- laincy has run a medical clinic for the needy in the base- ment. The cathedral also rents out office space in its outly- ing buildings, supplementing the congregation’s income. The St. Peter and Paul congregation is beginning to grow again after the previous minister’s removal and a difficult leadership transition in 2011 that led to the departure of some parishioners. Now 50 to 80 members attend worship on Sundays and prospects are bright. Sepa-


Yoder is a freelance writer living in Belarus and working in Moscow. 36 The Lutheran • www.thelutheran.org


ALEXANDER USOLTSEV/MOSCOW WALKS


Markus Schnepel, a pastor from the Ger- man Embassy (left) and Dietrich Brauer, bishop of the Evangel- ical Lutheran Church of European Russia, lead a worship service at St. Peter and Paul.


One Russian church embraces new leadership and outreach


rate German- and Russian-language services have been reduced to once a month. Regular Sunday services com- bine Russian and German elements of liturgy and music. The congregation has many hopes, including raising $27,000 to install a sound system in the massive, main sanctuary—something rejected by previous leadership. St. Peter and Paul’s beginnings can be traced to 1626. Closed in 1937 by Soviet authorities, the congregation was re-founded in 1991 when the government returned the building and grounds to church usage. The present cathedral was built in 1905, and a nearly two-decadelong restoration was finished in 2010 with reinstallation of the steeple. The edifice had long been used as a film studio, and city authorities had torn down the steeple in 1957. Last year, Latvian students helped install a neo-Gothic altar carved at the Latvian School of Arts in Riga. This is a source of joy for both Latvian and Russian Lutherans since, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, common projects are rare even among the Lutheran churches.


‘A helper, not a ruler’ Why was the youthful Brauer, a Russian-German born in Vladivostok and raised in Moscow, elected ELCER bishop? Insiders point to his strong interpersonal skills


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