West Russian Mission

By Jón Hjörleifur Stefánsson

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

The West Russian Mission was a Russian church unit that operated from 1908 to 1917, in territory that now belongs to Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine.

Territory and Statistics

Period: 1908–1917

Territory: The Governates of Grodno, Kovno until 1912, Minsk, Poland until 1912, Vilna, Volhynia1

Membership: 191 (1914)2

Churches: 13 (1914)3

Origin of Seventh-day Adventist Work in the Territory

The first report of the West Russian Mission listed thirteen villages, towns, and cities with Adventist Churches. Work in these locations had started decades before. Adventists began mission work in Russia in the late nineteenth century. The work was then organized into the Russian Mission that comprised the entire empire. During its operation, work began in at least three towns and cities in the territory that later became the Western Russian Mission: Bereznik, Łódź, and Rovno. As the work expanded, the Russian Mission was divided into three fields. One of them was the North Russian Mission. In that part of the Northern Russian Mission which became the West Russian Mission, Adventists founded churches in Adamoska, Alexeievka, Blumental, Iulianovka, Kleschtschie, Krötental, Loppasch, Warsaw, Werbe, and Żyrardów.4

Organizational History

In 1907 the growing work in Russia called for the formation of a separate Russian Union and a reorganization of the church units within it. With this prospect in mind, the North Russian Mission was absolved at a meeting in Riga, September 1907.5 At the same meeting, part of its territory was reorganized into the Baltic Conference. The remaining territory was organized into the West Russian Mission at a meeting on October 20, 1907.6 Its territory comprised the Governorates of Grodno, Kovno, Minsk, Vilna, and Volhynia, and those of Congress Poland.7 Membership was 270.8 Initial officers were Director D. P. Gäde, Secretary D. H. Torowski, Treasurer N. Schlatterer, and H. Schmitz, K. Rempfert, A. Arnhold, and A. Klich.9 The church unit started officially January 1, 1908, and became part of the newly formed Russian Union.10

The West Russian Mission lost some territory in 1912. At the meeting of the Baltic Conference in St. Petersburg, January 25–27, 1912, when the Baltic Conference was divided into the Baltic and Neva Conferences, the former gained some territory from neighboring Missions, including the Governorate of Kovno from the West Russian Mission.11 A few months later, at the Russian Union meeting in Riga in April 1912, the West Russian Mission itself was divided in two: The West Russian and the Polish Missions.12

At the European Division meeting in Budapest, October 30–early November 1913, it was decided to divide the Russian Union in two. The changes took effect the following year, and the West Russian Mission became part of the West Russian Union Conference.13

World War I made it impossible to give regular reports about Russia. The West Russian Mission last appears in the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook in 1917, where it is stated that it is “now a part of the Little Russian Conference.”14

List of Presidents

D. P. Gäde, 190815–1909; H. J. Löbsack, 1910–1914; J. Perk, 1915–1917.

Sources

Annual Statistical Report. Washington, D.C.: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1914–1915.

Conradi, Ludwig R. “European Division Council in Budapest.” ARH, December 18, 1912.

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

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

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1907–1917.

Sprohge, Joh. “Die erste Versammlung der Baltischen Vereinigung.” Zions-Wächter, December 2, 1907.

Turowski, H. “Allgemeine Versammlung des Westrussischen Missionsfeldes.” Zions-Wächter, December 2, 1907.

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

“Vierteljahrsbericht der Deutschen Union vom 1. Oktober bis 31. Dezember 1907.” Zions-Wächter, February 3, 1908.

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

Notes

  1. “West Russian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1916), 124.

  2. Annual Statistical Report (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1915), 6.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Compare the Table in the article for The Russian Mission and the last report of the North Russian Mission with the first report carrying the Western Russian Mission. Jón Hjörleifur Stefánsson, “The Russian Mission;” “Vierteljahrsbericht der Deutschen Union vom 1. Oktober bis 31. Dezember 1907,” Zions-Wächter, February 3, 1908, 63; “Vierteljahrsbericht der Russischen Union vom 1. Januar bis 31. März 1908,” Zions-Wächter, May 4, 1908, 182.

  5. Ludwig R. Conradi, “Reise-Erfahrungen,” Zions-Wächter, December 2, 1907, 394.

  6. Joh. Sprohge, “Die erste Versammlung der Baltischen Vereinigung,” Zions-Wächter, December 2, 1907, 400–401; H. Turowski, “Allgemeine Versammlung des Westrussischen Missionsfeldes,” Zions-Wächter, December 2, 1907, 413.

  7. “West Russian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1909), 116.

  8. H. Turowski, “Allgemeine Versammlung des Westrussischen Missionsfeldes,” Zions-Wächter, December 2, 1907, 413.

  9. “West Russian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1909), 116.

  10. Ibid.

  11. P. Brandt, “Ausschuß-Sitzung der Baltischen Vereinigung,” Zions-Wächter, March 18, 1912, 129; Ludwig R. Conradi, “New Developments in Eastern Europe,” ARH, July 4, 1912, 11–12; “Baltic Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1913), 110; “West Russian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1912), 117.

  12. Ludwig R. Conradi, “New Developments in Eastern Europe,” ARH, July 4, 1912, 11–12; “Polish Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1913), 110, 112.

  13. Ludwig R. Conradi, “European Division Council in Budapest,” ARH, December 18, 1912, 12; “West Russian Union Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1914), 111–12.

  14. “West Russian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1917), 131.

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

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Stefánsson, Jón Hjörleifur. "West Russian Mission." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=FIBG.

Stefánsson, Jón Hjörleifur. "West Russian Mission." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access May 13, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=FIBG.

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