2 January 2010, 19:13 | Major Religions | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

The Baptist Church is one of the most widespread Protestant confessions in Ukraine. In 16th century Ukraine, there were Anabaptists, the predecessors of today’s Baptists.

The first Baptist baptism in Ukraine took place in 1864 on the river Ingul in the Yelizavethrad region (now Kirovohrad region), in a German settlement. In 1867, the first Baptist communities were organized in that area. From there, the trend spread to the south of Ukraine and then to other regions as well. After the liberalization of religious legislation in the Russian Empire in 1905, the communities were legalized. One of the first communities was registered in Kyiv in 1907 and in 1908 the 1st All-Russian Convention of Baptists was held there, and the All-Russian Union of Baptists was established in the town of Katerynoslav (now Dnipropetrovsk).

The Evangelical Baptist movement became more active after the Bolshevik coup of October 1917. With the blessing of the 1st All-Ukrainian Convention of Baptists in October 1918, active missionary and evangelization activity started. In 1921, at the 2nd Convention in Yelizavethrad, the All-Ukraine Union of Baptists was established.

From the 1920s, Evangelical Christians and Baptists were illegal in Soviet Ukraine and the whole USSR. To some extent, they were revived during and after World War II. In 1944, Baptists and Evangelical Christians united in the Church of Evangelical Christian Baptists (ECB). They were later joined by other smaller Baptist and Evangelical trends. At the end of the 1950s, 75% of the believers of the All-USSR Council of ECB lived in Ukraine.

During the large anti-religious campaign in the USSR at the beginning of the 1960s, the All-USSR Council of the ECB was divided. As a result, a parallel structure, the All-USSR Council of Churches of the ECB was established, which was in stronger opposition to the communist regime.

In the 1970s, another revival began. Today, Evangelical Christian Baptists are one of the most active Christian confessions in Ukraine and the world.

Nearly 90% of Baptists in Ukraine are united in the All-Ukraine Union of the Association of Evangelical Baptists (AUU AEB), established in 1994 at the 22nd Convention of the ECB of Ukraine. Today, the union includes 3 seminaries, 2 universities and 15 bible colleges. The union is engaged in publishing activity and has an extended mass media network. The AUU AEB is governed by a council composed of senior presbyters (bishops) of regional associations headed by the president of the council. In 1990—2006 the council was headed by Hryhorii Komendant. From May 2006 it's headed by Viacheslav Nesteruk. The union closely cooperates with Ukrainian Baptists in the diaspora. The AUU AEB is a member of the European Baptist Federation and the Baptist World Alliance.

In addition to that, there are other associations of Baptists and Evangelical Christians, individual communities and missions in Ukraine.

Since 1993, the Korean Baptist Church has operated in Ukraine. It is an autonomous national-religious association oriented towards the Korean diaspora in Ukraine. The preachers there are Americans of Korean descent.


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