South Russian Conference (Russian Empire)

By Jón Hjörleifur Stefánsson

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Jón Hjörleifur Stefánsson, M.A., is a Ph.D. candidate, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

The South Russian Conference covered the territory in the Russian Empire that today is southeastern Ukraine and the North Caucasus. It operated from 1908 to 1912.

Territory and Statistics

Period: 1908-1912

Territory: Governorates of Bessarabia, Taurida, Yekaterinoslav, and the area between Don and Donetz1

Population: 12,599,2002

Membership: 5703

Churches: 224

Origin of Seventh-day Adventist Work in the Territory

Mission work began in Russia in the late 19th century. In 1890 the Russian Mission was formed, and in 1901 it was divided into three fields: The Northern Russian Mission, the Middle Russian Mission, and the Southern Russian Mission (and soon conference).

During this time the believers were divided into church units, to some extent along ethnic lines: the Germans belonged to the South Russian Conference and the Russians—including those who lived in the territory of the South Russian Conference—belonged to the Middle Russian Mission.5

Over the next few years members increased by the hundreds and German and Russian believers of the southwestern Russian territory eventually agreed to associate in the same conference. These reasons gave rise to organizational changes in 1905 which took effect in 1906. All members who lived in the territory of the South Russian Conference would associate together in the conference (now renamed the East Russian Conference). Furthermore, a part of the conference was cut off to form the South Russian Mission at a later meeting.6 The mission comprised the governorates of Bessarabia, Kherson, Taurida, and Yekaterinoslav, and Don District II.7 By the end of its first quarter, the mission had 366 members.8 Initial officers were D. Isaak (president), M. Fritz, R. Jurkin, and Mr. Albrecht.9

Organizational History

At the annual meeting of the South Russian Mission, in Bender, Bessarabia, on September 22 to 29, 1907, the members organized the mission into the South Russian Conference.10 The change took effect on January 1, 1908. The South Russian Conference became part of the Russian Union which had also been organized the previous year and came into effect at the start of 1908.11 The conference territory remained the same as that of the mission, with the addition of the governorate of Kharkov, which was cut off from the Middle Russian Mission.12 At the end of its first quarter the conference had 505 members.13 Initial officers were D. Isaak (president), W. Schlegel Jr. (secretary), J. Perk, M. Demidov, P. Thiessen, and J. Albrecht.14

At the Russian Union meeting in Moscow on March 18 to 29, 1908, the Kharkov governorate was apparently cut off from the South Russian Conference to become part of the Little Russian Mission organized at the same meeting.15

At the Russian Union meeting at Riga in April 1912, the South Russian Conference was divided and its name changed. The governorates of Bessarabia, Kherson, and Podolia were organized into the Black Sea Mission. The first two governorates were taken from the South Russian Conference, and the third from the Little Russian Mission. The now smaller South Russian Conference was renamed Azov Conference.16

List of Presidents

South Russian Mission: D. Isaak (1906-1907).

South Russian Conference: D. Isaak (190817-1912).

Sources

Annual Statistical Report. Washington, D.C.: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1911-1912.

“Berichte der Russischen Union vom 1. Januar bis 31. März 1912.” Zions-Wächter, May 20, 1912.

“Berichte der Russischen Union vom 1. Oktober bis 31. Dezember 1911.” Zions-Wächter, February 19, 1912.

Böttcher, J. T. “Russia.” ARH, May 13, 1909.

Conradi, Ludwig R. “The Meeting at Alexandrodar.” ARH, March 8, 1906.

Conradi, Ludwig R. “New Developments in Eastern Europe.” ARH, July 4, 1912.

Conradi, Ludwig R. “Reise-Erfahrungen,” Zions-Wächter, December 2, 1907.

Dail, Guy. “A New Russian Conference.” ARH, December 5, 1907.

Schuberth, H. F. “The Meetings in Russia.” ARH, December 27, 1906.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1907-1913.

Turowski, H. “Sitzung des Russischen Union.” Zions-Wächter, December 16, 1907.

“Vierteljahrsbericht der deutschen Union-Konferenz vom 1. Januar bis 31. März 1906.” Zions-Wächter, May 7, 1906.

“Vierteljahrsbericht der Russischen Union vom 1. Januar bis 31. März 1908.” Zions-Wächter, May 4, 1908.

Notes

  1. “South Russian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1912), 116.

  2. Annual Statistical Report (Washington, D.C.: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1911), 6.

  3. “Berichte der Russischen Union vom 1. Oktober bis 31. Dezember 1911,” Zions-Wächter, February 19, 1912, 89.

  4. Annual Statistical Report (Washington, D.C.: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1911), 6.

  5. Ludwig R. Conradi, “The Meeting at Alexandrodar,” ARH, March 8, 1906, 14-15.

  6. Ludwig R. Conradi, “The Meeting at Alexandrodar,” ARH, March 8, 1906, 14-15; H. F. Schuberth, “The Meetings in Russia,” ARH, December 27, 1906, 16; “East Russian Conference” and “South Russian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1906), 73, 75.

  7. “South Russian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1906), 75.

  8. “Vierteljahrsbericht der deutschen Union-Konferenz vom 1. Januar bis 31. März 1906,” Zions-Wächter, May 7, 1906, 153.

  9. “South Russian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1906), 75.

  10. Guy Dail, “A New Russian Conference,” ARH, December 5, 1907, 14-15.

  11. Ludwig R. Conradi, “Reise-Erfahrungen,” Zions-Wächter, December 2, 1907, 394; H. Turowski, “Sitzung des Russischen Union,” Zions-Wächter, December 16, 1907, 409; “South Russian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1908), 112.

  12. “Middle Russian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1907), 83; “South Russian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1908), 112-113.

  13. “Vierteljahrsbericht der Russischen Union vom 1. Januar bis 31. März 1908,” Zions-Wächter, May 4, 1908, 183.

  14. “South Russian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1908), 113.

  15. The article about the meeting states that all the territory for the Little Russian Mission was taken from the Middle Russian Mission. J. T. Böttcher, “Russia,” ARH, May 13, 1909, 19. The Yearbook, however, includes Kharkov governorate, not under the Middle Russian Mission but the South Russian Conference before the formation of the Little Russian Mission. “South Russian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1908), 112-113; (1909), 115. In 1910 it then states about the Little Russian Mission: “Cut off from Middle Russia, and South Russia.” “Little Russian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1910), 110.

  16. For the division and territory of the fields, see Ludwig R. Conradi, “New Developments in Eastern Europe,” ARH, July 4, 1912, 11-12; “Azof Conference” and “Black Sea Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1913), 110-111; “Little Russian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1912), 117. The two new fields were already listed in the first quarter report of 1912 in Zions-Wächter. “Berichte der Russischen Union vom 1. Januar bis 31. März 1912,” Zions-Wächter, May 20, 1912, 215.

  17. H. Turowski, “Sitzung des Russische Union,” Zions-Wächter, December 16, 1907, 409.

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Stefánsson, Jón Hjörleifur. "South Russian Conference (Russian Empire)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=EICN.

Stefánsson, Jón Hjörleifur. "South Russian Conference (Russian Empire)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access May 13, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=EICN.

Stefánsson, Jón Hjörleifur (2021, April 28). South Russian Conference (Russian Empire). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 13, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=EICN.