Omsk Mennonite Church (Omsk, Siberia, Russia)
Omsk Mennonite Church was established in the Omsk Mennonite settlement in Western Siberia in 1906. The church was first known as the "Sibirische Mennonitische Kirchengemeinde" and later as the Alexandrovka Mennonite Church, since the church building was located in the village of Alexandrovka. Originally the Mennonites and Mennonite Brethren settling along the Trans-Siberian railroad west of Omsk forming the Omsk settlement, and who came from the Ukraine and Samara, worshiped together in private homes. When the Mennonite Brethren organized the Tchunayevka Mennonite Brethren Church steps were taken to organize a Mennonite church. B. Fast and Jakob Gerbrandt took the initial steps at a meeting held in Margenau in 1906 under the leadership of Jakob Peters, where B. Fast was chosen as the leading minister. Twenty-one baptismal candidates were given instruction and were baptized by Gerbrandt in 1907. On 22 September at a meeting attended by the elders H. Unruh and H. Peters of the Molotschna settlement, a constitution was adopted, and a decision taken to erect a church. On 24 September Jakob Voth was ordained minister. Under the leadership of B. Fast, who visited the scattered members of the large settlement, the congregation grew. P. Bergen, W. Funk, P. Isaak, Käthler, and P. P. Fröse were added as ministers.
On 27 November 1911 the congregation decided to elect its own elder. Peter P. Bergen was elected and ordained by Elder Boschmann. In Kiryanov, the center of the "Apostolische Brüdergemeinde", an Adrian was elected minister. Enns and Wiebe were added to the ministry to serve in the area of the city of Omsk. By 1913 a total of 97 persons had been added to the Omsk Mennonite Church by baptism. On 6 October 1913 the first meetinghouse in Alexandrovka was dedicated.
Unser Blatt regularly carried reports of the work of the Omsk congregations from 1926-1927. During this time B. Bergen was the elder. Ministers named are A. Isaak, P. P. Fröse, Harder, B. Fast, and Johann Teichgräf. The congregation was very active in Bible conferences, song festivals, and mission work. It supported the Ob Mission. In 1927 the congregation had a membership of over 400. The church observed a harvest festival on 2 October 1927. In addition to the Alexandrovka church there were numerous other smaller congregations about which little information is available. In the smaller communities the Mennonites and the Mennonite Brethren continued to worship together.
P. P. Fröse of Ekaterinovka, reporting on his visit to the scattered members of the church during the winter of 1925, relates that he preached in Neu-Datchino north of Omsk, from where he proceeded to Kiryanovka, Trussovka, Deveterikovka, Khaldeyevka, and Ivanokva, all of which belonged to the followers of Hermann Peters, the "Apostolische Brüdergemeinde", at that time under the leadership of Heinrich J. Warkentin. He found a good reception and had an opportunity to preach in the churches. He particularly visited the Chortitza village in which members of various groups resided but which had no minister.
During the 1930s the organized religious activities had to be discontinued and most of the religious workers were exiled. After Stalin's death in 1953 a revival of interest in religious and church work was noticeable. Helena P. Petkau near Luzino, Omsk Region, wrote that Mennonites have started to meet and worship together because of hunger for the Word of God, although they had no minister (Mennonitische Rundschau, August 1955: 14). (See also Omsk Mennonite Settlement.)
Fast, Gerhard. In den Steppen Sibiriens. Rosthern, SK: J. Heese, 1957: 142 ff.
"Ueber Gründung, Stand und Arbeit der sibirischen mennonitischen Kirchengemeinden 1906-1913." Mennonitisches Jahrbuch No. 10 (1913): 125 ff.
Unser Blatt I: 29, 129, 174; II: 373; III: 11, 73.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 57-58. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Krahn, Cornelius. "Omsk Mennonite Church (Omsk, Siberia, Russia)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/O566.html.
APA style: Krahn, Cornelius. (1959). Omsk Mennonite Church (Omsk, Siberia, Russia). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/O566.html.