Minority report: Lutherans and Methodists in Russia

Read Amy Frykholm's interview with Dietrich Brauer, archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Russia.

In 2012, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia chose 29-year-old Dietrich Brauer to be its archbishop—the first Russian ever to serve in that post. The same year, the United Methodist Church elected 42-year-old Eduard Khegay to lead the church’s Eurasia Episcopal Area—the first bishop of the region to hail from one of the lands of the former Soviet Union. Khegay is pastor of the Raduga United Methodist Church in Moscow and has served in numerous administrative positions in the denomination. Brauer, in addition to being archbishop, is pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Moscow.

Brauer and Khegay represent the new faces in Russia of what in the West would be called mainline Protestantism. Although small in numbers and negligible in social and political influence, the Lutherans and Methodists offer an important theological alternative both to Russian society’s secularism and to traditional Orthodoxy. As young Russians seek greater democracy and pluralism in their society, inevitably the nation’s religious landscape will shift. These churches could suddenly look interesting.