Christian Mission in Eastern Europe

By Kozhuharov, Valentin | International Bulletin of Missionary Research, April 2013 | Go to article overview

Christian Mission in Eastern Europe


Kozhuharov, Valentin, International Bulletin of Missionary Research


Europe's division into East and West after World War II was conditioned by both political and ideological motives and actions. The regimes spawned by Communist ideology oppressed the peoples of Eastern Europe politically, and they also tried to eradicate all religion from people's minds and hearts. Though the Communists never succeeded either in ideology or in the field of religion, the oppression they spread did prevent the churches of Eastern Europe, whose very existence was at stake, from undertaking any missionary activity. With the regime shifts of 1989 came changes in both ideology and religion, as the countries of Eastern Europe received both political and religious freedom. The churches in each country experienced amazing growth and expansion. But what of mission on the part of the Eastern Orthodox churches--did it expand and grow? This question is the focus of the present article.

Western Christian churches have "done mission" on a large scale (especially in the last two centuries), but the forms of mission used by Western Christians have never been part of the experience of Orthodox Christian churches. Therefore, though the 1990s saw the restoration of Orthodox churches' ecclesiastical and spiritual life, there was not a corresponding resurgence of their mission. For an Orthodox Christian the word "mission" sounds strange, even unknown; the closest equivalent is "witness'--that is, believers bearing witness to Christ and his Good News among other nations and peoples.

Some Orthodox theologians hold that the Eastern churches have in fact carried out mission, both now and in the past, as far back as the early centuries of the Christian era. (1) We need to understand, however, that this mission was usually done within national or other local boundaries in which an Orthodox presence already existed. The examples usually given--the Slavic missionaries Sts. Cyril and Methodius, the Russian missions of the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, the missions to Japan, China, Korea, and so forth--represent dual missionary endeavors undertaken by the church and the emperor together, in which so-called caesaropapist relations between church and state are evident. Orthodox mission has always consisted primarily of "internal mission" on the part of the church in witnessing to the truth, not external ecclesiastical endeavors or missions in foreign lands, whether in the form of crusades or of some other sort. Examples exist of church planting done by local Orthodox churches in various countries on all continents today. But Orthodox churches' predominant concern continues to be internal witnessing; Orthodox missionaries are mainly engaged in the work of catechizing and liturgical "planting" of the truth in people's mind and heart.

This historic character and ethos seems to explain the fact that no substantial missionary movement has appeared within the Orthodox churches of Eastern Europe since 1989. Beneath the surface of the slow and sometimes painful restoration of church life in Eastern Europe, however, we can now see tiny mission movements taking form. These are movements that engage increasing numbers of Orthodox Christians in obeying Jesus' call "Go therefore and make disciples" (Matt. 28:19), drawing them out of seclusion within the church's fence and leading them to serve their society and other peoples in their own country or abroad. Although these endeavors continue to be generally overlooked by observers, they seem to be increasing pace and are becoming more evident and influential both within the church and in society. In fact, missionary movements within the Orthodox churches of Eastern Europe after 1990 may be divided into two large groups: the mission of the Russian Orthodox Church and the mission of the other Orthodox churches.

Russian Mission

The mission of the church is God's mission, reaching out toward the whole of creation and, viewed in historical perspective, carried out in practical ways by Christians in light of their local circumstances. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Christian Mission in Eastern Europe
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.