Pastor Nicolai pastors our sister church located in Kanev, Ukraine. This church began over 30 years ago with a small group of older people. Our sister church relationship which started in 1992 has helped bring much growth and is reaching families. Calvary’s involvement is to come alongside our sister church in order to help them with whatever they feel God is leading them to do. We have helped with children’s Bible camps, evangelism to schools, nursing homes, and government offices and businesses. We help with men’s and women’s Bible studies, teen camps in the woods for unbelievers, marriage seminars and spiritual gift seminars. We have also helped with outreach and church planting to 7 village churches in the surrounding area
The official language is Ukrainian, but Russian is heavily spoken throughout the eastern and southern part of the country. Romanian, Polish and Hungarian are also spoken as they are neighboring countries.
The official religion is Ukrainian Orthodox. Russian Orthodox is also common, with a minority of evangelical Christians and some Jews.
Evangelical Christians make up 3.8% of the population in the Ukraine. While Evangelical Christians in Ukraine are on the fringe, and even considered cultish by their Orthodox counterparts, this is changing. After the collapse of communism, there was an ope interest in religious traditions, primarily because it was so anti-Soviet. Many missionaries came into Ukraine, helping with the evangelical infrastructure like seminaries, as well as charity outreach to these desperately needy people. Ukraine is an evangelical “hub”, providing training and resources for believers, as well as sending out their own missionaries into Russia and other Eastern countries.
The history of the Ukraine is one of constant changes in power and domination, including the Huns, Goths, and Avars. In the mid-1500’s Poland and Lithuania formed a union which resulted in serfdom to the Ukrainians. The Ukrainian Orthodox were also persecuted. Many Ukrainians fled and formed a military order known as the Cossacks which fought against the Polish rule. Wars ensued, and Ukraine had a very brief independence in 1918. However, communist rule came and brought a lot of hardship on the Ukrainians. German Nazis then came in, first seen as liberators of communism, but soon recognized as another form of harsh treatment. Even after World War II, Ukraine suffered much in order to gain their independence, which finally happened in 1991.
Cultural fun facts: Ukrainians have a “Russian serious” sober persona. But as they come to know Christ, joy seeps in!