The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Russian Empire During the First World War

By Eugene Zaitsev


Eugene Zaitsev is director of the Biblical Research Institute and the Institute for Bible Translation at the Euro-Asian Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

First Published: May 2, 2022

Pre-War History

The Adventist message reached the Russian Empire in the 1880s and was spread mainly in German settlements in the Crimea, Volga, and the North Caucasus regions. It came in the form of tracts and other Adventist literature sent to relatives and friends by Russian German immigrants who were converted to the Adventist faith in the U.S.1 The first Adventist missionaries, who came in response to the emerging interest in the Adventist message from America and Europe, were also of German background. They preached mainly in German colonies, and Russian Germans who were raised in the Protestant tradition (Lutheran, Mennonite, and Baptist) gladly accepted the new doctrines.2 The German language and culture of these evangelists were useful. It should be noted that the Russian Germans were granted freedom to follow their own or any other religion while conversion of native Russians to other faith was prohibited and severely persecuted. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Adventist congregations already existed in such large cities as Kiev, Riga, Revel (Tallinn), St. Petersburg, etc., although the majority of members were still Germans.

In 1905 the Edict of Toleration, issued by the Russian government, gave legal status to the religions not of the Russian Orthodox. This was followed by the official recognition of the Seventh-day Adventist Church by the czarist government. In 1906 rapid growth of the SDA Church in Russia began. After January 1908, the Russian Union Conference (organized in 1907) began to function separately from the German Union, where Adventist congregations from Russia first belonged. Russian Adventists began to interact with European Adventists and the worldwide church on a new level. The president of the Russian union of that time was J. T. Böttcher, and the headquarters of the union were located in Riga. Growth of the church in Russia demanded reorganization to function more effectively. On January 1, 1911, the Council of the European General Conference’s decision came into effect—to divide the Russian Union into two parts: the Russian Union Conference and the Siberian Union Mission. It should be emphasized that, at that time, the ethnic composition of the Seventh-day Adventist Church continued to be predominantly German.

In 1911 S. D. Bondar, official of the Russian Interior Ministry, described the nature of the Russian Adventism in his report as follows:

Along with baptism and evangelical Christianity, the Russian Adventism shows a particular vital activity. The Adventist movement captures more new areas of European and Asiatic Russia, showing a steady commitment to continuous numerical growth. The Adventist Mission is conducted persistently and vigorously. . . . The power of the Seventh-day Adventism is in its excellent organization and community structure. Adventist central organizations take care of the best direction of the Adventist mission, unite its actions, and direct it towards one common goal. With the close cohesion of Adventist congregations and internal autonomy, their missionary undertakings of central organizations find unanimous support in the collective activity of each congregation. It turns the Adventist sect into a living and active religious society.3

Bondar also wrote regarding Russian lay members’ and leaders’ political preferences in a sealed official reference dated January 11, 1911:

At the conferences, which took place under the supervision of the Department of Religious Affairs of the Interior Ministry of Russia in February and March 1910 in Moscow, Warsaw, and Mitava, the leaders of the Adventist movement in Russia stated bluntly: “We are not enemies of the government but friends. A true Christian must obey the commandments of God, which in turn require obedience to the current authorities.”4

This Adventist position of loyalty to the current government did not help the Russian Adventist Church in later years, which were marked by significant changes, both in Russia's foreign policy and in the area of church-state relations.

Foreign Policy Factor

The beginning of the second decade of the twentieth century was marked by aggravation of the Russian-German relations. Positive relations between Russians and Germans were of great importance for the church, since it was still mainly German in its ethnic composition. We will see later what kind of consequences the church experienced with the beginning of the First World War.

Prior to World War I, some attempts had been made in anti-German circles to restrict the basic civil rights of the Russian Empire’s German population. P. A. Stolypin drafted legislation to restrict German colonists’ rights of land ownership and land tenure in three provinces of Western Russia. The draft legislation was sent to the Imperial Duma in 1910. In those years patriotic deputies already began to advance a thesis of the "fifth column" in the Russian rear represented by Russian Germans. In addition, German publications played no small role in fueling the conflict between government circles and the Germans, who were living primarily in the border provinces.

With the outbreak of the Great War, the anti-German campaign became especially emphasized; it gained validity and became all-Russian in scope. The law dated February 2, 1915, “on termination of land ownership and land tenure of subjects and natives of the warring states with Russia” was published in the Russian press5 and contributed to the problem. The ultimate goal of the campaign carried out by the czarist authorities was clearly stated in the report of lieutenant-general Kurlov—to make Russian Germans “disassociate themselves from the Germans, to forget about their common origin, to forget about their common language, and to completely wipe out from their memories their relatives who are fighting in the army of our enemies.”6

The czarist authorities did not stop at the restriction of property and other civil rights of German colonists. They also made the unprecedented decision to deport residents on the basis of their ethnicity. In December 1914 the Supreme Commander of the Grand Duke Nicholas issued a decree “on the eviction of all German colonists from the Privislinsky region.” On January 11, 1915, General N. N. Yanushkevich, the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Commander, extended an eviction zone to all front-line regions. It was intended to deport Germans to other Russian provinces where the martial law had not been declared. The military authorities had to supervise deportation while all issues connected with reception, accommodations, and settlement of the expelled Germans had to be solved by civil authorities.7

Changes in the Church Policy of the Russian State

Since 1911 several changes had been made in the church policy of the Russian state. A new policy was established regarding all non-Orthodox religious movements and associations. The Russian Orthodox Church played an important role in this situation and chose peculiar tactics in stimulating the fight against ever-increasing sectarianism. It took an active part in elections to the Imperial Duma, resulting in triple the number of the Orthodox Church clergy, a total of 45 people, in the Imperial Duma of the third convocation.8 In 1910 the czarist government, instigated by Orthodox Church clergy, sent a series of circular letters and decrees that restricted the Edict of Toleration and other acts of 1905 and1906.9 The number of such circular letters sent out from the Russian Interior Ministry and limiting the rights and freedoms of the Russian citizens increased after a murder of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and the Minister of the Interior P. A. Stolypin in 1911.

The Interior Ministry’s circular letters targeted primarily Protestants of Western origin. For example, according to the circular letter dated March 31, 1910, foreign subjects residing in Russia had no right to organize any societies, meetings, or congresses. Persons under 21 years of age could not be present at constituency meetings. The collection of offerings during constituency meetings was prohibited. An official from the Interior Ministry had to attend all meetings. One had to report on conducting a church constituency meeting to the Interior Ministry two months in advance.

According to the circular letter dated October 4, 1910, from that time and on, all congregation had to be registered to conduct worship. Moreover, a congregation was eligible to register only if there were at least fifty adult members, officially detached by a letter from the Orthodox Church. According to the decree, all preachers had to get special permission from the governors giving them the right to preach, and only subjects of the Russian Empire were eligible to receive this right.

Since the beginning of the war, the situation for Russian Protestants had deteriorated significantly. Many of them, especially the Protestants of Western origin, were charged as followers of “German” faith, ready to switch the sides and join the German army. German newspapers were closed. The use of German language in communication and public preaching was prohibited. In 1916 even the teaching of the German language was forbidden in all educational institutions of the Russian Empire. Pursued by authorities, the Lutheran Church suffered the most from this policy. Thirty pastors were deported to Siberia, three were taken to military tribunal, two were convicted, and many others were evicted by force or forced to leave their parishes.10

The Baptist Union of Evangelical Christians was under great pressure too. Several reports about the leaders of this Union claimed that they had a “close relationship with the militant Germanism,” resulting in many leaders’ banishment to remote places in Siberia.11 In many places conducting worships or prayer meetings was subject to the strict control. Thus, the governor of Astrakhan implemented such restrictions, writing to the district police officers and district province governors about the need to “establish the strictest surveillance of Baptist preachers.... No conversations of preachers with those who attend the meetings can be allowed.... To exercise control, one should certainly inform the local Orthodox missionary about any permitted prayer meeting.... The police is obliged to prevent by any means the Orthodox believers from attending Baptist worships.”12

One could also see the prejudice against Russian Protestants from the following report on the state of the diocese of Kharkov of 1916:

By 1916 sectarianism was silenced, people realized that it was advanced from the West and lives on German money in order to undermine the Orthodox Church. Parish priests are happy that sectarians put aside their militant approach and do not impose their beliefs, and that many leaders of stunda were taken to the war. Thus propaganda and seduction of the Orthodox believers was weakened.... People remember the words of the sectarians that they did not need a victory for Russia, on the contrary, it would be better for them if their patron Wilhelm won the victory, and they pray about his victory.13

However, in spite of oppression, the position of Russian Protestantism during World War I was not seriously undermined. It had some success even in this difficult time. The main reasons of its success, as T. Nicholskaya says, were “not so much in its active efforts to attract proselytes but rather the spiritual crisis of society; namely, the mass dissatisfaction with the official church, which in fact has become a part of the state apparatus and the mouthpiece of the nation-state ideology. In this situation, simply restrictive regulations could not significantly undermine the position of the Russian Protestantism.”14 Sympathy with the Protestants in certain parts of society during the World War I was won through their charity ministry organized in many congregations. For example, in the very first month of the war by the initiative of V. A. Fetler, the House of Gospel organized in St. Petersburg a hospital for wounded soldiers. Nurses who cared for wounded soldiers there were members from the local Baptist church. A collection of offerings and donations to the “The Good Samaritan” fund was announced in Baptist and evangelical Christians’ congregations. This fund was organized for establishment and maintenance of infirmaries in St. Petersburg and Moscow as an aid to the families of killed and wounded soldiers, as well as for free distribution of Scripture and other literature among those who were going to the front lines.15

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in a New Reality

It is quite clear that the Seventh-day Adventist Church could not operate properly under new regulations and with the church structure established in Russia. First of all, almost all church leaders and many ministers were foreign citizens. Therefore, they faced a dilemma: either to apply for Russian citizenship or to leave their positions, allowing the church to form new leadership. Second, most Adventist congregations or companies of believers were simply outlawed because they could be registered only if they consisted of at least fifty members.

However, there was another option: to keep the existing organization and continue to work illegally. The Council of the Russian Union decided to go forward in this way; it had a long experience of unofficial existence, which proved to be beneficial for the church. In 1912 all mission fields were divided into smaller geographical units to make it easier to minister to congregations and groups scattered all over the country. Pastors received instructions on how to work under the new circumstances. An emphasis was made on the self-reliance and determination of local ministers in the field. It was the first time Russian minister K. Shamkov was entrusted to lead the newly created Belorussian field where he moved from Odessa. Just before that, in November 1911, K. Shamkov, leader of the congregation in Odessa, was falsely accused of acting against the doctrines of the Orthodox Church. The Adventist Church continued to hold general church meetings of conferences and mission fields where reports were presented once a year as usual, but meetings were held more confidentially.

The Tractate Society in Riga continued to publish literature in German, Latvian, and Estonian. However, on March 13, 1912, it was closed by the decision of the Senate. J. T. Böttcher’s petition was rejected; the General Directorate of the Press motivated their refusal as follows: “all editions of the Tractate Society were written entirely in the spirit of the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventists and pursued the goal of artificial propagation of the ideas of this sect among the Orthodox population.”16 Not able to operate legally, this society presented itself as private publishing houses whose names publishers made up themselves, such as “Jacob Draiman,” “Berea,” “Boettcher & Co.,” etc.

At that time Ivan Lvov (1879--1958), a graduate of the Adventist seminary in Friedensau, active missionary, and future editor and administrator of the church, began to play an active role in the dissemination of the Adventist message through the printed word. The authorities noted his fast growing authority in the church. In the archives of the Department of the Religious Affairs of Foreign Confessions, a letter signed by the assistant Moscow mayor says:

Lvov, Ivan Aleksandrovich, is a follower of the Seventh-day Adventist sect and is a mentor of the congregation of the named belief in Moscow. His lifestyle is modest and quiet. He has no personal funds, and lives at the expense of his wife, who owns a small estate in Petrograd and donations, offered by the members of the Adventist congregation, which is about 100 rubles a month.... Lvov is considered as an authority among Adventists and uses his influence to increase the number of the followers of his teachings.17

Due to the strained relations between Russia and Germany, the printing of the magazine Olive in Hamburg had become quite problematic. However, in 1913, Lvov, together with S. Efimov, began to publish the magazine Good News with an insertion called Herald of Christian. Later the magazine was renamed Blagovestnik (Messenger of the Good News).

J. T. Böttcher, Chairman of the Russian Union, continued to work in Russia, visiting congregations and gathering and conducting small meetings of ministers. Czarist police vigilantly monitored all this activity. Penalties were imposed for minor infringements of the law.18 Not only were church leaders subjects to repression but ordinary lay members were, as well. They were accused of being German agents more often. We cannot say, however, that harassment on religious ground permeated the country. In some provinces the situation was quite free; Adventists were treated with understanding and conducted their activities without hindrance. Thus, in spite of the straightened circumstances of this period, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Russia continued to grow steadily. At the end of 1913, the Russian Union totaled 131 congregations with 6,569 members. The Siberian Union Mission totaled 69 congregations and groups with 1,226 members. Thus, before World War I, there were 200 Adventist congregations with 7,795 members in total.

In 1913, due to the continual church growth and a desire to strengthen church activities in certain regions, the European Council of the General Conference decided to divide the church in Russia into two unions, the Eastern Russian and Western Russian, and three union mission fields, the Siberian, Amur, and Turkestan (including Transcaucasia). J. T. Böttcher was elected president of the Western Russian Union, and Otto Reinke (1875--1921), who was previously a leader of the German-Swiss Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was elected president of the Eastern Russian Union.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church During World War I

The Great War brought unprecedented hardships, sufferings, hunger, and devastation to people in the Russian Empire. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the destructiveness and loss experienced during this war surpassed all previous wars Russia ever participated in. Russia’s general casualties in World War I totaled 5 million people. In 1917, 76 percent of the country’s factory workers worked to meet the needs of the war. Two-thirds of the total industrial production went toward supplying military needs, and only one-third remained for civil consumption. Industrial mobilization and increased military production led to a breakdown of the economy. The signs of economic collapse began in the second year of the war. Agriculture deteriorated and the war led to substantial impoverishment of the people. In 1916 the Russian Empire was facing a food crisis.

The Russian government was also in a crisis. During the first two years of World War I, the government replaced four prime ministers, six ministers of interior, four military ministers, and three ministers of foreign affairs.

The war placed churches in Russia in an even more difficult situation. A general mobilization was announced in Russia; around sixteen million people were mobilized in the armed forces. Only Orthodox priests and pastors of Protestant churches who had certificates from the governor were exempted from military service. Ministers who had not such certificates together with all Germans living in Russia were evacuated to the Ural region and to Siberia. Russian ministers and elders were also evacuated as they were deemed unreliable, according to the authorities who claimed that they were in close contact with the Germans.19

Many churches were closed. Not only Adventists suffered but also all religious denominations of foreign origin. Congregations’ properties were sold, and the money went to the military fund. Thus, in its report of December 31, 1915, the head of the office for the Protection of Public Safety and Order in Petrograd wrote:

Adventists and Baptists were openly preaching against militarism, against military service, against shedding of blood even in the war. Over the years these sects clearly assumed the character hostile to the Russian state with a hint of admiration before Germany...- Since the beginning of military actions of the Austro-German against Russia... activities of sectarian congregations of Adventists and Baptists became noticeably vital. Sectarians began to vigorously spread their sectarian print publication in the army and hospitals...- Since the teaching of the Adventist sect has explicitly anti-state direction, and a minister of the sect Sergey Semenovich Efimov, a Petrograd bourgeois, made speeches, in which he blamed the Orthodox Church, then on the basis of my report of May 4, this year, # 9776 the governor of the city of Petrograd, based on p. II, article 19 of Martial Law, ordered to close all Adventist prayer meetings and to send Efimov to exile under police surveillance in the Yenisei province.20

Worship services were allowed to be conducted only in large cities such as Moscow, Kiev, and Riga and only in the Russian language, although in Riga, the authorities allowed services in Latvian. Preaching in German was punishable by a fine of 3,000 rubles or one year in prison. Functioning churches were under strict supervision.21 However, on the basis of letters received by the General Conference from O. Reinke from Petrograd and J. T. Boettcher from Riga, we could say that, during World War I, interest in the Adventist Church increased significantly. For example, J. T. Boettcher, head of the West-Russian Union, wrote: “Never before we settled in Riga have we seen such an interest in the good news. The hall for the worship is crowded on Sundays and on weekdays. During the last quarter, we baptized 25 people, and the same number still expects baptism. I do not believe that our work will stop because of the war.”22 Certainly, the war had sharply aggravated eschatological expectations of the people, and it was associated with the growing interest to the news of the soon coming of Christ.

Interchurch relations were destroyed by the war, including relations with the higher levels within the church organization. This significantly worsened ministers’ financial situation, as they no longer received a regular salary for their work. At the end of August 1914, the head of the East Russian Union decided to reduce ministers’ salaries by a third. On August 30, 1914, as he returned to Riga after a long trip through Siberia, J. T. Boettcher stopped in Omsk and informed ministers about the possible reduction of salaries. Pastors approached the situation with understanding and expressed their willingness to continue their ministry, even if they had to earn their bread partially themselves.23

State Authorities’ and Society’s Attitudes Toward the Seventh-day Adventist Church

Many trials that the Adventist Church faced in Russia during World War I were mainly related to many people in Russian people’s perceptions that Adventism was a “German faith.” From the beginning of the war, this fact was repeatedly emphasized even by the Russian press. Moreover, since the war was with Germans, followers of the Adventist Church (mostly ethnic Germans) were seen as traitors and agents of the German (Kaiser’s) Intelligence service. Many were ridiculed and persecuted. They could read the Bible and pray together only in secret. In some provinces representatives of reactionary organizations, especially of the “Black Hundred” movement, behaved very aggressively, accusing Adventists of aiding Germany and of sabotaging the mobilization policy of the state.24 For example, the provincial court of Kiev held the case against a group of Adventists in Umansk County with anti-government activities. To the disappointment of the local leaders of the Orthodox Church, the court found those who were accused to be guiltless. The head of the Department of Public Safety in Kiev wrote in his report to the Governor: "None of the witnesses could prove that the activity of the representatives of the sect or their leaders were connected with intentional attempts of infringement of interest of the state. No evidence was found that Adventists were agitating for not going to the war.”25 All these charges reflected the most unscrupulous national-chauvinistic desires of certain Orthodox circles and had nothing to do with the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s attitude toward the state.26

However, during World War I, many Adventist pastors were repressed and exiled to Siberia. Among them were A. Klement from Estonia (sent to Irkutsk province), Russian Pastor S. S. Efimov from Petrograd (sent to Eniseisk), Russian Pastor Gorelik from Odessa (sent to Tobolsk), Pastor A. E. Gontar from Poltava province (sent to Irkutsk province), the leader of Yevpatoriya congregation F. A. Kozhevnikov (sent to Tomsk province), president of the North-Caucasian Conference I. A. Sproge (sent to Irkutsk), and many others.27 Albert Ozol, president of the Transcaucasian Mission field, was sent to Narym region of Tomsk province where, in 1916, he died of typhus while taking care of patients.28

In connection with upcoming military actions, on August 23, 1915, J. T. Boettcher, president of the Western Russian Union, was asked to leave Riga and to move inland based on the decision of the governor of Minsk. The headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Russia moved to the city of Saratov located on the Volga. There the head of the Adventist Church was under constant surveillance.29 On March 20, 1916, Saratov Provincial Gendarmerie (police) conducted a search in the headquarters. All financial documents, letters, and remains of money were confiscated, and warehouses with books were sealed up. In Böttcher 's personal file, a fatal postscript appeared stating that he was “spying for Germany and led anti-militarist propaganda.”30 However, the head of the Saratov Provincial Gendarmerie acknowledged in his report dated of May 17, 1916, that “there was no evidence found to support this accusation during the search.”31 On May 22, 1916, the head of the Saratov Provincial Gendarmerie wrote in his report: “In view of the predominance of Germans in the Saratov province, it is particularly important, from my point of view, to prohibit all persons, namely Boettcher, Poltrok, Reinke, Wojtkiewicz, Klemens, Shamkov, Dreimane, and Irbe to stay in Saratov province any longer.”32

Adventist church leaders with a German background were not the only religious figures who were persecuted. For example, an August 27, 1916, report from the chief of the Kuban Regional Gendarmerie described the activities of pastor G. A. Grigoriev:

As a person harmful to public order and safety, Grigoriev was prohibited to stay in areas which are under martial law or part of the theater of the war…. Activities of Grigoriev related to his traveling to areas that are in the theater of war actions can be considered suspicious and have dangerous consequences because of his relations with persons of German origin.33

In 1916 the government issued a series of circular letters against sectarian organizations. The “Stock Exchange News” of September 8, 1916, reports in the article “Special Supervision of Sectarian Congregations” on the circular letter issued by the Minister of the Interior, which was sent out to all the governors. It was recommended to use any means to prevent harmful activities of sectarian organizations and of their individual representatives in order to preserve public order and state security.”34 In the same year, a decree was issued ordering all foreign nationals who live in Russia, to leave the Russian state as soon as possible. It became apparent to Adventist leaders that Boettcher could not stay in Russia anymore. Thus, the president of the Western Russian Union left for America. O. Reinke, president of the Eastern Russian Union and also a citizen of the United States, was going to do the same, but for some reason, he delayed and remained in Russia until the revolution in 1917. Later he became the head of the Siberian Union field after Gerhard Perk had left the country. O. Reinke died of starvation in 1921 in Saratov.

As previously noted, many Adventist families, and pastors’ families in particular, were in very difficult financial situation during the war.35 In an attempt to solve the ministerial families’ financial problems and to provide support for God’s cause, J. T. Böttcher, I. Ginter, O. Reinke, L. Wojtkiewicz, and J. Draiman opened a food factory in Saratov, borrowing from the fund established earlier for the school.36 The factory soon brought good income, remaining opened untill 1917.37 However, the church leaders had to say goodbye to their dream of building the seminary for which Adventists in Russia had collected money and had dreamt of for many years. World War I hindered all these plans. Still, the money borrowed from the school fund was soon returned.

It is hard to speak of any significant activity of the Adventist Church in such a difficult situation. During the war the Adventist Church in Russia was almost not growing. Data collected with great difficulty showed that, at the end of 1916, the Adventist Church in Russia consisted of a little bit more than six thousand people.

An opportunity to overcome organizational and financial difficulties arose for Seventh-day Adventists only after the February revolution of 1917. Amnesty was granted to all political prisoners, including those serving sentences for religious beliefs. Adventist preachers who had been exiled to Siberia returned. The April issue of Blagaia Vest’ (Good News) described the situation:

The outstanding event took place for all the children of Russia, especially for those who had previously been persecuted for their religious beliefs. Despotism of the strict regime firmly closed all the pores, through which darkness could penetrate by light rays. And by God's will, it buried itself.... Messengers of God, languishing in exile and in prison, deprived of the opportunity to continue the work of God, received from God in the person of His herald angel-the Provisional Government and its response to our prayers: You are free.38

As a representative of the GC, Otto Reinke frantically tried to rebuild the church organization that was destroyed by the war and royal decrees. As a translator and adviser, H. J. Löbsack accompanied him everywhere. Conferences held local constituency meetings. H. J. Löbsack became the president of the Western Russian Union, and I. F. Ginter, previous leader of the Volga and Ural Mission fields, became the president of the Eastern Russian Union.

On July 20-24, 1917, the All-Russian Congress of the Seventh-day Adventists was conducted in Saratov in the building of the local high school. Representatives of the church from different parts of Russia attended. Actually, there were two union congresses (constituency meetings) conducted simultaneously–the West Russian Congress and the East Russian Congress. Representatives of different ethnic groups in Russia came: Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, Latvians, Estonians, and Armenians. Saratov was not chosen randomly. According to Löbsack, life in this region was more or less stable, and food was much cheaper than in other major cities in Russia.39

At this Congress I. F. Ginter gave an overview of the church’s activities from the last two years. He stressed that, despite the difficulties related to the Great War and the oppressive regime, the work of God in general was not damaged.40 While it was difficult to collect precise information on church membership, the financial report showed a considerable increase, indicating a high spirit of sacrifice despite these difficult years. As chairman in one of the meetings, H. J. Löbsack reported on significant changes to the composition of the Western Russian Union. As a result of military actions and changes to the boundaries of the Russian state, all the Baltic conferences, as well as the Vistula and the Western Russian mission fields, were transferred and went out from the union.

Delegates at the congress were all very grateful to God for His guidance and protection in difficult times of the war, and also for the return of their freedom, and for the release of all who were in prison or exiled. H. J. Loebsack had named 11 pastors of the Adventist Church who returned from different places of detention, mostly from Siberia. Those who suffered for their faith included: A. Klement, S. Efimov, A. Hontar, I. Gorelik, I. Jacques, P. Manzhura, I. Sproge, I. Gaydishar, G. Grigoriev, M. Gritz, and G. Goebel.

A special letter was sent to the Russian Provisional Government to reveal a set of wishes in connection with an alleged elaboration of new religious laws. The letter said in particular that the church should be completely separated from the state, all restrictions’ paragraphs should be removed from the legislation, and believers should have rights to establish and dissolve the congregations. The state should neither interfere in the religious affairs nor the church in the affairs of the state.

In response to a congratulatory telegram that came to the congress from the General Conference committee, the congress decided to send an answer to Washington. Their letter in particular says: “We assure you that we use precious time and the civil and religious liberty provided to us only for the glory of God and for the good of our dear citizens.”41

Adventist ministers became vigorously involved in the restoration of the war-ravaged church. In August and September of 1917, church leaders Reinke and Ginter visited mission fields in Siberia and held several congresses in Omsk, Irkutsk, Vladivostok, and later in Baku. Changes in the sociopolitical situation were seen everywhere. Society breathed the air of freedom. The magazine Blagaia Vest’ (Good News) tells about this unusual time in national history: “The sun of the truth rises in our country, and we have healing in his rays.”42 The Provisional Government’s policies were compared to the policies of Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War.

Unfortunately, this freedom did not last long, just a few months. October 1917 was coming, bringing the tumultuous upheavals and experiences for the entire Russian nation. Along with all other religious organizations, including the Russian Orthodox Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, like all other religious organizations, including the Russian Orthodox Church, would experience new conditions in which the very existence of religion in Russia would be at stake.

The Seventh-day Adventists and Pacifism

During World War I, the movement of religious Pacifists arose. They did not agree with the justification of war “for the faith, the king, and Fatherland” and rejected military service on religious grounds.43 Religious pacifism is based on the principles of love to a neighbor and forgiveness as necessary conditions to achieve peace between people and nations. It condemns violence and war. However, cases of evasion of military service during World War I took place not only on religious grounds. The first days of the war were marked by desertions and riots of reservists who were disgruntled with the war.44 In subsequent years, the number of such cases increased markedly due to the fatigue from the prolonged war and due to German revolutionary propaganda aimed to demoralize Russian troops. Against this background the number of supporters against military service on religious grounds did not look so conspicuous.45 F. M. Putintsev, a Soviet historian of religion and an atheism propagandist, shows that by May 1917, there were 837 objectors on the grounds of conscience in the Russian Imperial army.46 Among them, 581 people were members of various evangelical denominations.47

The Seventh-day Adventist Church did not occupy a position of full rejection of any form of military service, as extreme form of pacifism did. Adventists were ready to perform their civic duty, when orders from military authorities did not conflict with their conscience and with the law of God. Daniel Heinz underlines three main reasons why Adventists accepted the principle of non-participation in military action while bearing arms: 1. They believed that participation in military actions contradicted Christian faith, especially the commandment “You shall not kill.” 2. Eschatological commitment to non-conformism with the world and detachment from all worldly things. 3. Reluctance to put themselves at risk to desecrate the Sabbath, the weekly day of rest according to the fourth commandment, while performing military duties.48

In connection with the all-inclusive mobilization to the army, Adventist church members faced a severe test of their faith. At best, they got into the military or telegraph military units and workshops, at worst they were sent to prisons or exiled because of their refusal to bear arms. About five hundred known Adventists were recruited.49 Most of them were in non-combatant unions. About seventy young men, members of the Adventist Church, were sentenced to imprisonment or hard labor for various periods of time because they refused to bear arms.50 Thus, only 14 percent of Adventist recruits took an extreme pacifist position. According to data from the St. Petersburg State Historical Archive, only 37 of the 70 were sentenced to imprisonment or exile from one to eight years. According to the description of the class of people on that list, it is clear that most of them were peasants. There were no pastors or church ministers on the list. The verdict was not announced upon the rest of Adventists who refused to serve on religious grounds till the end of 1916, when this list was compiled. Perhaps it was as D. Heinz suggests, because the trial was not over yet.51 According to F. M. Putintsev, most of them were from military districts of the following regions: Odessa–12, Moscow–11, Minsk–9, Irkutsk–8, Omsk–5, Kiev–4 and the Caucasus–4.52

Löbsack later wrote in his report to the General Conference:

It was only after the revolution had set in that we were informed by official notice from the ministry of religion that some seventy of our brethren had been sentenced to hard labor in chains with terms of from two to sixteen years. Such questions could never be discussed with the former government because even to entertain the mere thought of refusing to take up arms was supposed to be a punishable crime. All our brethren found that the only way to decide the issue was this: Seventy brethren, as in the days of old, have lifted up their fettered hands in prayer to God for Him to settle this question. Several thousand young people of other denominations have acted in a similar manner, and this was the reason that prompted the new government to issue decrees for conscientious objectors that liberated them from using arms.53

As D. Heinz notes, if one has to compare the situation with European Adventist communities of wartime, the highest number of conscientious objectors to military service on grounds of conscience was in Russia. What was the reason? The author distinguishes two basic reasons. First, the majority of Adventists in Russia were of German origin. They considered Germany as their fatherland. Many Adventist pastors got their theological education in Germany. Heinz writes: “This ethnic and cultural attraction to Germany among the first Russian Adventists was really so strong that they obviously rejected military service not only for religious, but also for political reasons.”54

The second reason was related to the religious affiliation of the first Russian Adventists. Many of them came out of the Mennonite communities where strong anti-war sentiments were prevalent. The radical pacifism of German Mennonites made them seek refuge in the Russian Empire, and the categorical refusal to perform military service in any form was historically inherent to them. Coming out of the Mennonite communities, many members of the Russian Seventh-day Adventist Church, including some leaders, remained faithful to this pacifist tradition.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Russia and the Reform Movement Dissent

A split occurred in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Europe during World War I. European Adventists, especially in Germany, were not prepared for the crisis caused by the war and, in particular, by general mobilization. Church leaders compromised under pressure from the government and gave church members permission to work and defend the fatherland even on Sabbath. This position was described in semiofficial documents addressed to the Prussian Ministry of War. This compromise on the part of individual Adventist leaders was completely unacceptable for many Adventist recruits, and they accused the church of apostasy and evasion of truth.

What was the position of the Russian church leadership on this issue? Whether at the beginning of the war or later, did church leaders issue any official statement similar to the one made by Adventist Church leaders in Germany?

First of all, general mobilization announced in the early days of World War I caught Adventist leaders in Russia by surprise. The church in Russia was not ready for such a development, and there was no official position on the war or on military service in Russian Adventism. There was no official statement made on this issue by church leaders in the first days of the war that could help Adventists who were mobilized to take a stand and make a decision in such a completely new situation. As far as we know, neither J. T. Boettcher, president of the Western Russian Union, nor O. Reinke, president of the Eastern Russian Union, sent any letters to the czarist government describing the official position of the church in relation to the war.

The only information that might be helpful to clarify some Adventists’ attitude toward the war and general mobilization is found in the article by H. J. Löbsack, president of the Little Russian Conference of the SDA Church (the territory of Kiev, Poltava, Chernigov, and Kursk provinces). Titled “Kiev Adventists and the War,” the article was published in I. S. Prokhanov’s newspaper “Morning Star55 immediately after the declaration of the war and stated:

Immediately after Germany and Austria declared the war, the Seventh-day Adventists in Kiev declared their allegiance to His Imperial Majesty through the Governor and were honored to get the following message through the chief of police: “The Minister of the Interior informed the head of the region, that His Imperial Majesty wished to command to thank heartily the Seventh-day Adventists in Kiev for their allegiance expressed at the opening of military actions. There were about 25-30 brothers from the city of Kiev and the province in the theater of military operations. Some of them were enrolled in medical units, some in telegraph unions, and the rest in combatant units where they took part and are taking part in the battles. As far as we know, all of them are still alive. Several were injured and listed to the feeble detachment. Thus, with all their power, the Kiev Adventists joined the other loyal sons of our dear homeland in helping their neighbors in the present difficult time and for the glory of the Most High God. May God help us in that now and in the future.56

Taking into account the fact that all communication between German and Russian Adventists ceased with the outbreak of hostilities,57 one can hardly see any connection between H. J. Löbsack’s article expressing allegiance to Czar Nicholas II and the statements of Adventist church leaders in Germany to the government of Kaiser Wilhelm. Each party expressed their personal attitude about the situation. Later, H. J. Löbsack explained his position in his letter-report to the fortieth session of the General Conference as follows:

At the beginning of the war, the brethren who had been drafted came to us and asked what they should do. Were they to take up arms against their conscience, or were they to allow themselves to be killed by those who did? We who have endeavored to train our people to be self-reliant and to develop their individual responsibility toward God, to their conscience, and the state, could not prescribe what they should do or what they would have to consider as proper and as their duty at the post assigned to them. Only He who has created them had the right to command and the power to protect them. They made their own decisions; and the majority of the brethren, numbering some five hundred, with many of our workers, were assigned the sanitary and other noncombatant service…. Only very few of our brethren have served at the front, still fewer have been wounded, and practically no one has been killed, so far as reports have reached us.58

Löbsack’s position expressed in his report reflects the flexibility of the head of the church. It shows that, during World War I, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Russia, in spite of the pressure from the authoritarian political regime, which the czarist government in reality was, had been able to remain faithful to the principle of non-participation in military operations, at the same time providing its members with freedom of choice to perform civic duties, which did not contradict their conscience.


In conclusion, the First World War was a serious trial both for all Russian people and for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Russia. The war greatly complicated interchurch relationships, and due to the collapse of the transportation system, supervision of the congregations scattered all over the vast territory of the Russian Empire became difficult. The economic downturn affected the financial condition of the church, and the salaries of Adventist ministers were significantly cut. Nevertheless, during the war, the spirit of sacrifice church members exhibited was very high.

However, the most serious problem for the church at that time was that most of the leaders and members of the church were German, and the Russian people identified them with Germany. Thus, the Adventist Church was associated with the enemy in the eyes of overwhelming majority of people in Russia. The media constantly emphasized the Adventist Church as a German sect, and its followers were perceived as German spies. It was very difficult to carry out evangelistic work in such a context where negative attitudes toward the church prevailed.

Still, World War I with its trials and troubles increased the people’s religious feelings, pushing many of them to seek protection and refuge in God. Moreover, in spite of existing social biases against the church during the war, interest in the Adventist message remained. Statistics show that, during the war, church membership numbers did not diminish.

However, the most dramatic for the Adventist Church in Russia was probably internal differences that emerged during the war. These differences led to dissent within the church. Marite Sapiets, one of the Western scholars of the Reform Movement in the Adventist Church in Russia, notes that these differences were primarily connected with the question of bearing arms during wartime.59 V. A. Shelkov, future leader of the True and Free Seventh-day Adventists, took the same position in explaining the reasons for the dissent. In his brochure A Recurrence of Misanthropy, Shelkov negatively described all people who took the oath of allegiance to the fatherland. He cited documents written by “pseudo-Adventists” both in Russia and in Germany, drawing parallels with the declaration later adopted at the fifth All-Union Congress (constituency meeting) of Seventh-day Adventists.60 M. Sapiets argues that the declaration issued at the fifth All-Union SDA Congress in 1924 “spoke of the civil duties of Seventh-day Adventist members only in general terms, advising each member to resolve such problems according to his own individual conscience,” although this position was changed later in the sixth All-Union Congress in 1928.61

However, the problem of the Reform Movement, as it seems to us, is much deeper than just a disagreement over “the military question.” The beginning of World War I sharply aggravated eschatological expectations of Adventist believers who regarded the events related to the Great War as signs of the second coming of Christ. Some interpreted the clash of major powers as a fulfillment of the Armageddon prophecy. Reformists were so confident that 1914 would be a fateful year for the world that many of them stated: “If this is not the last war, you may tear the Bible.”62 Zealots of the Reform Movement began to appear in the church as ambassador of the Armageddon, espousing extreme views on nutrition, vaccinations, marriage, relationship with the government, etc. According to these zealots, the Adventist Church apostatized and joined the ranks of “Babylon,” along with the Catholic and the Russian Orthodox Churches. A. I. Klibanov, a known researcher of the Russian sectarian movements, also believes that, at the foundation of the Reform Movement lay the accusations against church leaders in apostasy and connection with the world, their demands for extreme asceticism in nutrition and marriage relationships—all this amid claims of the fast approaching end of the world.63

The leadership of the Adventist Church in Russia did not discredit themselves during World War I with statements that would be contrary to the official position of the church on military issues. Therefore, the internal split in the Russian church was not as dramatic as in Germany during the war. Over time the influence of the Reform Movement sprang up in Germany and would appear in Russia as well, but it would happen later, in the 1920s, when the Seventh-day Adventist Church would be in a new political reality--the communist regime. And this is the subject for a new study.


Boettcher, J. T. “Through Siberia.” ARH, January 14, 1915.

Bondar, S. D. The 7th Day Adventism. St. Petersburg: publisher house of the internal affairs ministry, 1911.

Conradi, L. “Letter to Elder W.T. Knox.” ARH, September 24, 1914.

Dizendorf, V. F. Nemci v istorii Rossii: documenti visshih organov vlasti i voennogo komandovania 1652-1917. Moscow: German Materik, 2006.

Editorials. “They Call Us.” ARH, December 10, 1914.

“Editorial.” Blagaia Vest’ (Good News), April 1917.

“Editorial.” Blagaia Vest’ (Good News), June 1917.

Grigorenko, A. Eshatologia, Millenarism, Adventism: Istoria I Sovremennost. St. Petersburg: Evropeiskii Dom, 2004.

Kurov, M. N. “Problemi svobodi sovesti v dorevolutsionnoi Rossii.” Voprosi nauchnogo ateisma 27 (1981).

Licenberger, O. A. Evangelichesko-luteranskaia cerkov i sovetskoe gosudarstvo. Moscow, Gotika, 1999.

Loebsack, H. “Kievskie Adventisti i Voina.” Utrenniaia zvezda 45 (1914).

Loebsack, H. J. “A Communication from Russia.” The General Conference Bulletin, May 25, 1922.

Löbsack, H. J. Velikoe Adventistskoe Dvijenie i adventisty sed’mogo dnia v Rossii. Rostov-na-Donu: Kavkazskaia Soyuznaia missia, 2006.

Nelipovich, S. G. “Deportacia v Rossii 1914-1918.” Voenno-istoricheskii zhurnal 1 (1997).

Nikolskaia, T. K. Russki protestantizm i gosudarstvennaia vlast v 1905-1991 godah. St. Petersburg: Publisher House of the Europe University of St. Petersburg, 2009.

Putintsev, F. M. Politicheskaia Rol’ i Taktika Sekt. Moscow: 1935.

Reimer, Ia. K. “Lojnie probujdenia i reformacia v svete Biblii.” Golos Istini 11-12 (1926).

Sapiets, M[arite]. “One Hundred Years of Adventism.” Religion in Communist Lands 12 (Winter, 1984).

Shaidurov. “Pervaia Mirovaia Voina i Sudbi Rossiiskih Nemtcev.” Altaiski sbornik. Vyp. XX. Barnaul: Altaiski poligraficheski kombinat, 2000.

Shelkov, V. “Recidiv chelovekonenavistnichestva.” Samizdat (1977).

Stele, Galina. “Lessons of God’s providence: 125 years of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Euro-Asia Division.” Ministry, October 2011.

Zaitsev, Eugene. Istoriya Tzerkvi Adventistov Sed’mogo Dnya v Rossii. Zaokski: Istochnik Zhizni 2008.


  1. Galina I. Stele, “Lessons of God’s providence: 125 years of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Euro-Asia Division,” Ministry, October 2011, 13-16. Eugene Zaitsev, Istoriya Tzerkvi Adventistov Sed’mogo Dnya v Rossii (Zaokski: Istochnik Zhizni 2008), 135-136, 139-148.

  2. German colonies were organized in southern Russia due to the colonialist policy of Catherine II, Paul I and other Russian Emperors. To a large extent, these colonies contributed to the consolidation of the Adventist Church on the Russian land. See V. F. Dizendorf, Nemci v istorii Rossii: documenti visshih organov vlasti i voennogo komandovania 1652-1917 (Moscow: German Materik, 2006); Peter M. Friesen, The Mennonite Brotherhood in Russia (1789-1910), translated from (Fresno, CA: General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches), 1978.

  3. S. D. Bondar, The 7th Day Adventism (St. Petersburg: publisher house of the internal affairs ministry, 1911), 100- 101.

  4. A. Grigorenko, Eshatologia, Millenarism, Adventism: Istoria I Sovremennost (St. Petersburg: Evropeiskii Dom, 2004), 308.

  5. Nemtsy v istorii Rossii: Dokumenty vysshikh organov vlasti i voennogo koomandovaniya, 1652 – 1917 (Moscow, n.p., 2006), 569.

  6. S. G. Nelipovich, “Deportacia v Rossii 1914-1918,” Voenno-istoricheskii zhurnal 1 (1997): 42, 39-52.

  7. Shaidurov, “Pervaia Mirovaia Voina i Sudbi Rossiiskih Nemtcev.” Altaiski sbornik. Vyp. XX. Barnaul: Altaiski poligraficheski kombinat, 2000, 48-62.

  8. The Duma was named "devout" not by chance. See M. N. Kurov “Problemi svobodi sovesti v dorevolutsionnoi Rossii,” Voprosi nauchnogo ateisma 27 (1981): 265, 244-269.

  9. O. A. Licenberger, Evangelichesko-luteranskaia cerkov i sovetskoe gosudarstvo (Moscow, Gotika, 1999), 59.

  10. Ibid.

  11. Rossiisky Gosudarstvenny Istorichesky Archiv (Russian State Historical Archive RGIA), F. 796, op. 442, d. 2783, l. 47.

  12. From the circular of the governor of Astrakhan. ROMIRA, K-1, opis 8, delo # 2. Cited from Istoriia evangelskih hristian-baptistov v SSSR (Moskva: Isdanie vsesoiusnogo soveta evangelskih hristian-baptistov, 1989), 164.

  13. RGIA, F. 796, op. 442, d. 2768, l. 32 ob.

  14. T. K. Nikolskaia, Russki protestantizm i gosudarstvennaia vlast v 1905-1991 godah (St. Petersburg: Publisher House of the Europe University of St. Petersburg, 2009), 50.

  15. Istoria evangelskih hristian-baptistov v SSSR (Moscow: Izdanie Vsesoyuznogo Soveta evangelskih hristian-baptistov, 1989), 163.

  16. From the Archive of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, # 1753, June 23, 1913.

  17. From the Archive of the Department of Religious Affairs, # 45008, October 4, 1916.

  18. For example, 28 April 1912, the magistrate of the Uman district sentenced Perk I. and J. T. Boettcher to a fine of forty rubles each with a prospect of arrest for 20 days if they did not pay the fine on time. From the Archives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, # 1592, September 14, 1912.

  19. John S. Curtis, Church and State in Russia: The Last Years of the Empire (1900-1917) (New York: Columbia University Press, 1940), 332.

  20. Gosudarstvenny Arhiv Rossiiskoy Federatsii (State Archive of Russian Federation) (GARF), ph. 102, op. 245, d. 167, l. 10 ob., 11.

  21. H. J. Löbsack, Velikoe Adventistskoe Dvijenie i adventisty sed’mogo dnia v Rossii (Rostov-na-Donu: Kavkazskaia Soyuznaia missia, 2006, 303.

  22. Editorials, “They Call Us,” ARH, December 10, 1914.

  23. J. T. Boettcher, “Through Siberia,” ARH, January 14, 1915, 11, 12.

  24. Thus, the Head of the Gendarmerie of Odessa in his report, dated October 31, 1915 reports that the Adventist preachers are preaching carry an antimilitarist and antigovernment character. See GARF, f. 102, op. 245, 167 d, l. 5 ob. A Head of the Provincial Gendarmerie of Simbirsk in his report, dated November 4, 1915, to Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs says that the sectarian Adventists teach their sons to go to war to be traitors; do not shoot the Germans and let the bullets harmlessly go into the air. GARF, f. 102, op. 245, 167 d, l. 5 ob.

  25. F. M. Putintsev, Politicheskaia Rol’ i Taktika Sekt (Moscow: 1935), 81-82.

  26. A. I. Klibanov, Istoria Religioznogo Sektantstva v Rossii (1860-1917) (Oksford: Pergamon, 1982), 387.

  27. Löbsack, 294 -295.

  28. Sibir’, [no author] # 195, September 15, 1916.

  29. Many other ministers of the church were under surveillance as evidenced by archival documents. See GARF, f. 102, op. 246, 132 d, l. 10, 35, 36. The reports of gendarmerie stressed that this was done in order to clarify whether the interests of the meeting serve sectarian anti-militarist propaganda.

  30. From the Archive of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, # 2789, March 23, 1916.

  31. GARF, f. 102, op. 246, d. 175, l. 11.

  32. RGIA, F. 821, Op. 133, D. 313, L. 164.

  33. RGIA, F. 821, op. 133, d. 209, l. 246.

  34. “Osobii Nadzor Nad Sektantskimi Obschinami,” Birjevie Vedomosti 5789 (8 September 1916).

  35. This was reported by Boettcher in the report on his trip to Siberia, published in ARH, January 7, 1915.

  36. The food factory was known as the Trade House "Ekstselsior".

  37. On November 8, 1916, an unknown person wrote a letter to I. F. Ginter from Saratov, saying that chicory coffee was the most popular product of the factory among the population. GARF, f. 102, op. 246, 85, l. 106 ob.

  38. “Editorial,” Blagaia Vest’ (Good News), April 1917, 78.

  39. Löbsack, 311.

  40. Ibid., 313.

  41. Ibid., 319.

  42. “Editorial,” Blagaia Vest’ (Good News), June 1917, 106.

  43. A good overview of the material on the issue of religious pacifism is the book by Peter Brock, Against the Draft: Essays on Conscientious Objection from the Radical Reformation to the Second World War (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006). For the Russian Protestants, see ibid., ch. 19: “Imperial Russia at War and the Conscientious Objector, August 1914 – February 1917”.

  44. Thus in Yekaterynoslav, recruits attacked a demonstration in support of war; attack ended in bloodshed and hassle. See D. Sanborn, Besporiadki sredi prizivnikov v 1914 i vopros o russkoi nacii: novii vzgliad na problemu// Rossia i pervaia mirovaia voina (St. Pitersburg: 1999), 208.

  45. Nikolskaia, 47.

  46. Putintsev, 96-97.

  47. Ibid., 97.

  48. Daniel Hainz, Adventisti sedmogo dnia i otkaz ot uchastia v voennih deistviah v Rossiskoi imperii// Dolgii put’ rossiiskogo pacifizma: Ideal mejdunarodnogo i vnytrennego mira v religiozno-philosovskoi i obschestvenno-politicheskoi misli Rossii (Ed. T. A. Pavlov, Moscow: Institut vseobschei istorii RAN, 1997), 173.

  49. H. J. Loebsack presented these figures in his report to the General Conference. See Review and Herald, June 15, 1922, 4.

  50. It should be noted that the special order of April 13, 1907 from the Minister of War was that sectarians who refused to perform military service on religious grounds were supposed to “promptly exempt from military service and bear arms, and according to the right of each person to determine any non-combatant military post at hospitals, warehouses, commissariat etc.” See RGVIA, Fond 970, opis III, delo 1012, l. 94.

  51. D. Heinz comes to that conclusion on the basis of “O Sektanskom Dvijenii vo Vremia Voini i Spiski Sektantov, Ukloniauschihsia ot Voennoi Slujbi,” RGIA, St. Petersburg, fond 821, opis 133, delo 314, ll. 1915-1916.

  52. Putintsev, 97.

  53. H. J. Loebsack. “A Communication from Russia,” The General Conference Bulletin, May 25, 1922, 267.

  54. Hainz, 175.

  55. I. S. Prokhanov was famous religious and political leader, the head of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians. During the First World War he supported the militarist policy of the czarist government.

  56. H. Loebsack “Kievskie Adventisti i Voina,” Utrenniaia zvezda 45 (1914), 12.

  57. L. Conradi, “Letter to Elder W.T. Knox,” ARH, September 24, 1914.

  58. Loebsack, “A Communication from Russia,” 267.

  59. M[arite] Sapiets, “One Hundred Years of Adventism,” Religion in Communist Lands 12 (Winter, 1984): 266.

  60. V. Shelkov, “Recidiv chelovekonenavistnichestva,” Samizdat (1977): 44-47. Analysis of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s position on the issue of military service, adopted at the 5th and 6th congresses of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1924 and 1928, is beyond the scope of this paper.

  61. Marite Sapiets, V.A. Shelkov and the True and Free Seventh-Day Adventists of the USSR, 216.

  62. Ia. K. Reimer, “Lojnie probujdenia i reformacia v svete Biblii,” Golos Istini 11-12 (1926), 22.

  63. Klibanov, 390.


Zaitsev, Eugene. "The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Russian Empire During the First World War." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. May 02, 2022. Accessed May 29, 2024.

Zaitsev, Eugene. "The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Russian Empire During the First World War." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. May 02, 2022. Date of access May 29, 2024,

Zaitsev, Eugene (2022, May 02). The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Russian Empire During the First World War. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 29, 2024,