Dimitrij Krynský was a pastor and president of the Moravian-Silesian Conference.1
Dimitrij Krynský was born June 16, 1911, in the town of Zdolbunov along the Volyně. His Ukrainian father, Ivan Krynský, died at an early age. When the opportunity rose to repatriate after World War I (in 1923), his Czech mother sent him and his two siblings to Czechia. The authorities allowed her to return much later. When Dimitrij was 18, he encountered Adventism in Hradec Králové and was baptized.
Education and Pastoral Ministry
His desire to serve God’s cause led him to enroll in the denomination’s missionary school in Loděnice near Prague. After graduating, he worked at several locations around Prague. In 1938, leadership sent him as a pastor to Carpathian Ruthenia, which was then part of the Czechoslovak Republic. When the republic fell apart and facing serious danger, he relocated to the mining town of Ostrava as a pastor in 1940.
Having considerable influence in the Moravian and Silesian regions, Krynský was elected president of the Moravian-Silesian Conference in 1948.
Persecution, Underground Ministry and Election as Union Vice-President
Shortly before the government banned the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Czechoslovak Republic (1952-1956), authorities regarded him as a politically unreliable person and sent him to a military labor camp, where he remained for two and a half years. Upon his return, he resumed organizing the church’s underground activities and participated in negotiations to reauthorize its public ones. As state leaders found that the restrictions against the church were ineffective and that despite them it continued to grow, they allowed it to resume its work. The church elected Dimitri Krynský vice-president at a union conference in 1958.
Religiously Based Imprisonment and Forced Non-pastoral Work
At the time, the church struggled with the issue of whether it was permissible in view of the Fourth Commandment to send children to school on Saturdays. Members and pastors who did not do so faced persecution. Governmental authorities sentenced Dimitri and his wife, Jiřina, to 14 days in jail for not letting their children attend classes on Saturdays. With his conviction, Dimitri also lost his state approval for carrying out pastoral work, and so he labored as a coal miner (1960-1968).
Re-election as Conference President
Major changes for the denomination and for Dimitri personally occurred at the time of the “Prague Spring” in 1968. At least for a short time, the church gained religious freedom with its organization fully restored, and Dimitri Krynský was elected as the president of the Moravian-Silesian conference again, where he served until his retirement in 1973.
Those who knew him profess that Dimitri Krynský was a brave man who was not afraid to go after what he thought was right. Even in relation to state officials, he defended the denomination’s interests and was not willing to compromise on matters of faith. Of the five children of Dimitri and Jiřina, three became pastors of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Dimitri Krynský died in 1993 at the age of 82.
Because of decades of persecution, historical sources did not often get preserved in East European countries, and as a result, Adventist history in Czecho-Slovakia is dependent on collective family memory and oral traditions, on which this article draws.↩