PUBLICATION Guardian (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)
DATE Sat April 20 2002
PAGE NUMBER C4
HEADLINE: Churches hold Service to bring faith to Ukraine
A Spring Festival of Praise and Readings will be presented by five area churches at St. Andrew's United Church, Vernon River, on Sunday, April 21, at 7 p.m.
This celebration of faith event brings together a community of worshippers who are concerned about the word of God being offered to the dark corners of the world.
The participating churches include: Christ Church Anglican, Cherry Valley; Hazelbrook Baptist Church, St. John's Presbyterian Church, Belfast; St. Joachim's Roman Catholic and St. Andrew's United, Vernon River.
Over 65 years of communism has left the Ukraine people with little hope.
During the years of communism, men and women were sent to prison for simply owning a Bible.
Today the door of the gospel has been opened and a spiritual hunger is bringing people to a renewed interest in God's word. Teachers and leaders are not only asking, but begging, for Bibles to be sent.
Rev. Douglas Woods, P.E.I. district director of the Canadian Bible Society, states the Ukraine government is encouraging the Bible Society to place scriptures in schools, hospitals and prisons.
Everyone is warmly invited to attend this post-Easter festival of praise. A reception will follow the service.
It doesn't surprise me that some of these other "churches" are up to this sort of thing, but for a Roman Catholic church to be in on it just boggles the mind.
We can be honest and say that probably the majority of Ukraine's people have not really heard the Gospel. But to think that what's needed are more "missionaries" from various fly-by-night make-it-up-as-we-go-along "churches", makes me ponder that Ukraine needs to get tough on heterodox missionaries like Russia has.
Well, my own take on it is that if they all want to send Bibles over there, that is fine.
The Bible translation the Bible Societies use in Ukrainian is that of the Orthodox Metropolitan Ilarion Ohienko.
It is the best Ukrainian-language translation around and the most popular. I use it myself and have sent many copies over seas.
It is the official Bible translation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches and of the Ukrainian Protestant Churches.
Ukrainian Protestants often gather at the grave of the Metropolitan in Winnipeg to hold thanksgiving prayer services for this Orthodox cleric for his 20-year labour to translate the Bible.
As for the Protestant evangelizing, you know my views on that.
One such Protestant street preacher was distributing bibles to people in Kyiv.
He said he was shocked when he saw each person take the bible - then cross themselves before they kissed it!
One Ukrainian Orthodox nun went up to him to thank him for helping to spread Orthodoxy in Ukraine.
She wouldn't let him speak when he tried to explain he was a Protestant.
Another Evangelical preacher, as shrewd as can be, when confronted with the question of his denominational status, said that Christ didn't bring Catholicism or Protestantism, but Christianity and this was what he was bringing too.
But sending Bibles in the Ohienko translation is a good thing.
Perhaps the RC's could send a copy to Archbishop Law?
[ 04-22-2002: Message edited by: Orthodox Catholic ]
By the content, ISTM that this report was prepared by some Protestant denomination/reporter. It does not mention what exact participation the RC parish had. It does not mention if their praise efforts were in support of Ukraine, or if Ukraine is considered a non-Christian country. I wouldn�t care too much about this kind of "reports".
Anyway if the RC pastor was unaware of the facts about Christianism in Ukraine, that shows, at most, that silly things can be done trying to be ecumenical.
The Lord be with you.
Dear Hector and RichC,
My contribution to keeping an English Pentecostal minister out of Ukraine was to give him one of those Ukrainian language bibles.
I convinced him he shouldn't go over there until he learns the language.
Assuming he doesn't miraculously and quickly add Ukrainian to his roster of speaking in tongues, perhaps by that time the Church there will be back on its feet again . . .
Though I am not condoning some of the current Russian policies, especially regarding this Roman Catholic Bishop, perhaps you can see why so much of the paranoia is there.
You may find the following interesting because it kind of explains how things are seen from a Russian perspective. Right, wrong, or indifferent. When you have Lutherans in Russia & Ukraine celebrating the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, Baptist building churches, with gold cupolas and three bar crosses, and naming them 'Christ The Saviour Cathedral' then you have deception in its lowest form. And, unfortunately that deception has its consequences and evryone suffers. The following is from a 1997 article from the 'Christian Science Monitor' and written by a Russian correspondent. I submit it without further comment -
> > The Christian Science Monitor
> > Opinions & Essays
> > Tuesday October 28, 1997 Edition
> > Why Russia Restricts Religions
> > By Andrei Zolotov Jr.
> > As the plane landed over the western Siberian city
> > of Syktyvkar, I saw a red brick cathedral with a
> > giant, shining, gold dome dominating the drab
> > skyline. I was inspired, feeling that it's not only
> > in Moscow that Orthodox church domes are rising as
> > symbols of Russia's return to its faith.
> > But I was mistaken.
> > Syktyvkar's new Russian Orthodox diocese is
> > headquartered in a much smaller church on the
> > outskirts. The Orthodox cathedral in the central
> > square was razed by Bolsheviks, and the church has
> > just received from the government its fifth small,
> > dilapidated place of worship in town.
> > And what about the new red-brick, gold-domed wonder?
> > It's a Baptist church.
> > How many gold-domed 3 bar cross Baptist churches are there in
> > the world? The philosophy behind such an unusual
> > architectural decision is easy to guess.
> > Gold-domed churches are what real churches are
> > supposed to look like to people of the Orthodox
> > culture. This Baptist church is deliberately
> > confusing to the spiritually hungry and
> > ideologically disoriented people of post-communist
> > Russia, where visible forms of religious life were
> > nearly completely uprooted during decades of
> > state-sponsored atheism.
> > The majority of people in this region are of
> > Orthodox Christian descent. By building a church so
> > clearly designed to attract people of the Orthodox
> > culture - and even naming it "Christ the Savior
> > Cathedral," after a famous Orthodox church in Moscow
> > - local evangelicals and their German and
> > Finnish sponsors inspire the feeling among Orthodox
> > Christians that they are trying to steal the souls
> > of Russians whose destiny, but for a 70-year
> > communist detour, would have been the Orthodox
> > Church.
> > And that would seem fair in a situation where the
> > competition of various faiths has been a tradition.
> > Limiting the competition is fair
> > But in Russia, the history of the Orthodox Church is
> > inseparable from the history of the Russian culture.
> > From the predominant Orthodox perspective, the
> > future of Russia should include the return of the
> > millions taken away from the mother church by the
> > communist persecution.
> > That ideology is behind Russia's new law on religion
> > - adopted against the protests of the West, but
> > overwhelmingly passed by the parliament and signed
> > by President Boris Yeltsin.
> > The law, inspired by just the kind of
> > "nontraditional" influence seen in Syktyvkar, aims
> > to protect the Orthodox Church by limiting its
> > competition.
> > While stating that individuals have full freedom to
> > choose a religion, the law sets up a two-tiered
> > system of religious organizations.
> > New religious "groups" would be on a 15-year
> > probation, during which their institutional rights
> > would be limited. After 15 years they could apply
> > for the status of "organization," which would permit
> > them full rights of property, publishing, education,
> > and access to public institutions.
> > The law says much about Russia's post-communist
> > search for identity. Critics of the law call it
> > discriminatory and antidemocratic: That is, it
> > doesn't correspond to liberal Western, namely
> > American, norms.
> > The new law is, indeed, a step away from Western
> > liberalism, which triumphantly arrived here in an
> > American wrapping in the early 1990s and was
> > imitated in every field of public life.
> > Russia's 1990 law on religion introduced freedom of
> > conscience in its American form of complete
> > separation of church and state and full equality of
> > all religious groups. It was a radical departure
> > from state atheism and strict government control of
> > the few religions allowed a limited existence in the
> > Soviet era.
> > But that sudden transplantation of religious freedom
> > was a shock. The Russian Orthodox Church,
> > handicapped by decades of persecution, was
> > tragically unprepared.
> > As the only public institution predating communism,
> > the church is seen, even by many nonbelievers, as a
> > key symbol of national identity.
> > But turning millions of largely atheist Russians
> > into pious, churchgoing Christians overnight is a
> > miracle the church has been slow to perform. Imagine
> > the fear and indignation of the troubled Orthodox
> > Church when foreign missionaries of all possible
> > kinds flooded into Russia in the
> > early 1990s aiming, with the backing of their richer
> > western churches and the more sophisticated selling
> > techniques of their market economies, to "convert
> > the godless Russia."
> > In the post-Soviet religious boom, the Baptist
> > cathedral in Syktyvkar was completed even before the
> > Orthodox Church could name a bishop to that
> > Texas-size Siberian region where only three Orthodox
> > churches existed in the 1980s.
> > Respectable non-Orthodox churches such as the
> > Baptists, Methodists, and Pentecostals, as well as
> > dubious sects seemed to just trample into Russia,
> > unaware of the fact that it had a rich, 1,000-year
> > Christian tradition. Their dollars bought a lot -
> > not just a gold dome in Siberia.
> > Aum Shinri Kyo, the Japanese-based cult involved the
> > 1995 nerve-gas attack on a Tokyo subway, bought the
> > connections it needed in the defense ministry to
> > have its cadres trained at a top-secret Russian
> > military installation. The Church of Scientology in
> > 1993 held a lavish party in the Kremlin for Moscow
> > intellectuals.
> > Domestically bred prophets, like Maria Devi Christos
> > of the doomsday White Brotherhood, also appeared in
> > large numbers, ready to convert a disoriented
> > Russian populace.
> > The marketing of salvation was unprecedented in
> > Russia.
> > Orthodoxy is Russia
> > The Russian Orthodox Church sees itself in its
> > ancient historic role as the Rus-sian national
> > church, representing the majority. Without the
> > church, Russia would not be Russia - but some other
> > country.
> > Russian Orthodox Church thinking goes like this:
> > Millions of sons and daughters were taken away from
> > Russia's mother church by force and religious
> > persecution, and should rightfully be returned to
> > it.
> > Though it is certainly a questionable stance, the
> > Orthodox Church sees every descendant of Orthodox
> > believers as its prospective son or daughter. Any
> > church that wins their souls first is seen as a
> > thief, taking advantage of Orthodox weakness after
> > years of persecution.
> > Race for Russian souls
> > The Orthodox Church doesn't really question the
> > individual's freedom to choose a religion, but it
> > strongly opposes the complete freedom of various
> > churches and cults to proselytize on Russian
> > Orthodox "territory." This is part of Russia's
> > broader, wounded sense of justice - fueled by the
> > nation's post-Soviet loss of standing, and its
> > identity crisis over rapid economic, political, and
> > spiritual change.
> > Polls show that about 50 percent of Russians
> > identify themselves as Orthodox Christians, but
> > hardly more than 4 percent are regular churchgoers.
> > The church has a lot to do to narrow this gap.
> > The new Russian law on religion - anathema to an
> > American standard of democracy - is not aimed at
> > banning new religious groups altogether. But it does
> > attempt to level the playing field in the race for
> > Russian souls.
> > And supporters of the law - the parliament and the
> > president - just don't see that as unfair.
> > Both Russia and the US are multiethnic and
> > multireligious countries. But their genesis could
> > not be more different. The US was largely built by
> > religious minorities that fled persecution in
> > Europe. Hence, the American model of church-state
> > relations.
> > Russia was built by the Russian Orthodox Church,
> > which, in turn, tolerated and even cooperated with
> > other religions - such as the Lutherans and Roman
> > Catholics, as long as they preached in their German
> > and Latin languages and did not try to convert
> > Orthodox Christians. The church mentality hasn't
> > changed - and from this perspective, the ideology of
> > the new law is consistent with Russian tradition.
> > The notion that democracy and capitalism will
> > eventually make Russia another US has disappeared
> > from the minds of even the most Westernized Russian
> > reformers. But the West seems to find it hard to
> > swallow.
> > As it is with economics, foreign policy, or
> > constitutional law, the new religion legislation is
> > constructing - for better or worse - a Russian model
> > for the future of Russia, which will be part of the
> > modern world, but not quite American or European.
> > In a nation that, after all, is known for the way
> > its laws don't work, it is too early to say what
> > kind of imprint the law will have on the faith of
> > Russia, if any.
> > * Andrei Zolotov Jr. is a staff writer for The
> > Moscow Times and a member of the Russian Orthodox
> > Church.
Actually, Orthoman has put his finger on a truly disgusting side to western denominational expansionism throughout the lands of Rus'
It is true that there is an "Eastern Rite" Lutheran Church in Ukraine that has been there since after the last world war.
But they and others are simply being dishonest in the way in which they present themselves to the unsuspecting Orthodox public.
I met a Ukrainian Catholic priest who was in Kyiv and who preached and presented himself as "Ecumenical Orthodox" with a play on the word "Ecumenical" "Vselensky."
I told him that was being downright dishonest and how could he? I also told him that if I was Orthodox, I would certainly boot him out etc.
The Bible Societies as well print the Ukrainian Language Bible of theirs in the large format with an ORTHODOX CROSS on the front. That's nice, but I hope that isn't a missionary thing.
There was a Protestant missionary church to the Russians here that sported a three-bar Cross as well.
The Presbyterian Church of Canada tried to evangelize similarly among the Ukrainian immigrants of the thirties by having an "Eastern Rite" with iconostases, but with no icons etc.
On the other hand, we should have the boldness of a Bulgakov, who was warmly welcomed into the World Council of Churches, and then raised everyone's ire by delivering a speech that urged the Protestant Churches to accept the 7 Sacraments, the Priesthood, veneration for the Theotokos etc.
Don't you just HATE IT when that happens?
More power to the ORTHOMAN!
[There was a Protestant missionary church to the Russians here that sported a three-bar Cross as well.]
We have a Lutheran church in NE Philly where the sign simply says in Russian 'Slavic Christian Church'. The title Lutheran is simply left out. They did an article on it in one of the local papers last year. Seems when you enter you can light candles in front of the Icons located in the vestibule of the church (similiar to so many Greek churches). It also has a three bar Cross on its service books and they have 40 day memorials for the dead and Panikhida's upon request. How many Lutheran churches do you know that have Panikhada's, three bar Crosses, and Icons to light candles in front of?
See, that's the problem the Orthodox are up against. Because we are Orthodox, were are limited in how far we can change to conform to the local culture. Where as a Protestant, and a Roman Catholic to some extent, can change to conform to Orthodox practice without losing their particular identity.
An Orthodox can't do that without losing their Orthodox identity. I don't know if I explained that right but I'm sure you all get the jist of what I am trying to say.
Not too long ago one the immigrant kids in our parish said that his DeDe in the old country heard there are woman priests in the Orthodox Church in Philadelphia. I finally figured out what Dede was referring to. It was this Lutheran Church which has a women priest that someone told him about. Apparently some of the people that go there think its 'pravoslavny'. That's using deception to prey on innocent people that were deprived of a religious education for so long that they have become innocent but ignorant and are being used because of it.
When in Florida, I bought a lapel cross that was covered in the stars and stripes.
Before lunch at a Perkins, I crossed myself and a gentleman came wondering what all the hand-waving was about and then spotted that cross.
I told him I was an "American Christian."
Proselytism in reverse, I suppose . . .
But you are right and I'm still "high" from that church goods site you shared with me!
This "Slavic Christian Church" has to be one of the strangest things I've heard in a long time. A Lutheran friend of mine from college would be having a conniption fit if he heard about a Lutheran church with Icons and "memorials" for the dead. I simply must find out more about this church, if only to satisfy my own curiosity!
However, toward the end of World War II, a number of Ukrainian Catholics in Ukraine left the Church and formed themselves into the "Ukrainian Lutheran Church of the Byzantine Rite."
I was sent information on them by a High Church German Lutheran Pastor.
They "bastardized" the Divine Liturgy by removing the invocations to the Saints and replacing the Canon with the Lutheran service etc.
They had and have icons that are not venerated and otherwise look like Byzantines.
Another thing in terms of culture and religion.
In the Ukrainian language, and in Russian I am sure, the word for "Church" is always "Tserkva" which means an Orthodox or Eastern Catholic Church.
The word for "Latin Church" is "Kostel" or the Polish word since RC's were usually Poles in that civilized part of the world.
The word for "Protestant Church" is always "Kircha" after the German word since the Lutherans were the first Protestants our people saw.
Something similar occurs for the word for "orange" which is "Apelsina" or the German word for "Chinese apples" since it was the same German Protestant traders that first introduced them in Ukraine and Russia from the Chinese traderoutes.
Believe it or not . . .
[ 04-22-2002: Message edited by: Orthodox Catholic ]
This is all VERY interesting. Although, I doubt such a "Divine Liturgy" is that Divine without the Canon!
To such a "Byzantine Lutheran", what would be the object of lighting a candle in front of an Icon, then?
And what would make that many Ukies leave their traditional churches for one so...well...German?
I clearly understand the point addressed by Orthoman and I agree with him: Misrepresentation, mistake, deception, or fraud are not honorable/ethical ways to make converts. We all know examples of those practices and know how deceptive they can be.
But I think it is unavoidable for any majority Church to be the target of some unhonorable groups.
Here, we have had our share of attacks, and that situation has made me wonder if we should have one of those laws enacted, but IMO prohibiting those groups most certainly creates a sense of being persecuted which reinforces in them the idea of being right.
IMO the great difference between Latin America and Eastern Europe is that Latin America has been exposed to that kind of proselitism for more than a century.
I think taht the best way to deal with this un-Christian practices is (1) banning them (not the group itself), (2) education of our people in the Faith, and (3) make our people aware of the subtleties of this practices.
Christ is Risen!
I've run across a few groups that I feel are very deceptive. One such group tours the U.S. giving concerts and producing very impressive recordings. Many faithful in the Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox communities buy these recordings and become unwitting supporters of a Presbyterian
effort at proselytizing. Here's a web-site for you to check out. http://www.musicmissionkiev.org/mmk.php
Notice the mock-up of the "Christian Center" they are planning to build... http://www.musicmissionkiev.org/center.php?page=gallery&spage=1&id=23
A quote from their site...
"A Christian Center is a new concept for Ukraine. The Orthodox Church has no building for teaching, ministry and fellowship. The Reformation never came as far east as Ukraine, and therefore there is no interest in Christian education shone by the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches. Their church buildings are beautiful temples, but demonstrate their lack of interest in serving the laymen of the church."
Just my $0.02 worth.
Fr. Deacon James
Is the Ukraine stilla non-Christian dark corner of the world?
You must understand, that to a dedicated and true Presbyterian Calvinist, EVERYONE and EVERYPLACE which is not Calvinist is a non-Christian dark corner of the world.
So you gave your .02 worth, eh? Well, here's my $10.00 worth (I never was one to mince words when I feel something passionately).
"I was referred to your website by a poster at the Byzantine web site. You invite comments on your work -- therefore I give them to you:
I was brought into the Byzantine Catholic Church last year after spending my whole life (53 years) in various forms of Protestantism. This includes the last 13 years in the PCA. I am, therefore, fairly well acquainted with the teachings of John Calvin, although not extensively. I did learn them well enough to defend the Calvinist position when I practiced it, and I practiced it with vigor and commitment.
I cannot take any particular pleasure in what you are doing in the Ukraine, inasmuch as you are there to take people out of the historical Christian faith of Holy Orthodoxy and give to them a truncated and intellectual version of Christianity which has no connection to the Christian faith of the Apostles and the Early Church in general. I realize that you think that you are bringing to "...poor, benighted souls living in Christless darkness" the truth of the Gospel, but that is only because you have no understanding of the historicity and Biblicism of the Orthodox Faith. This is not necessarily your fault, as I found that the Church history and the writings of the Early Fathers which I actually heard in the Presbyterian Sunday Schools I attended were snippets of their writings and not representative of the larger corpus of their works. Had I read the entire works of the Early Fathers, I probably would have converted to the holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christianity long before last year. It is simply unmistakable that the doctrines and practices which the Apostles and the Early Church held to are those which both the Catholic and Orthodox Faiths practice today.
I do not think that the Lord Himself is particularly pleased at your attempts to proselytize Orthodox Christians away from the sacramental riches of the Church in which the souls of the faithful are not only fed spiritually, but are, according to our Lord's words in John 6: 53-54, given eternal life. There is simply nothing in the empty rituals of Presbyterianism (again, I speak from a 13 year history here) which compares to meeting with Jesus in the Eucharist. And while not all Orthodox may fully understand what is happening, and be at differing levels of spiritual maturity regarding the Sacraments, their lack of understanding does not make the Sacraments of any less efficacy. It is a particularly Western concept that one must thoroughly understand to have the faith be active and valid. If that were so, then John the Baptizer could not have been filled from his mother's womb.
In general, in reading the stories of those who left the Catholic and Orthodox Faith and then returned later, I find that folks like you have your best success in picking off those who are not well grounded in the Faith and therefore offer little resistance to your efforts. By means of cunning words and twisting of the Scriptures, one can pretty well make the Bible say anything you want it to say, as clearly attested to by the HUGE number of Protestant sects, isms, cults, and denominations. All of them use the Bible as their "foundation" and swear that they have the proper and correct interpretation, but obviously, since there is one God and one Truth about Him, someone is kidding themselves. As a Catholic and a believer in Christ's promise that He would protect the Church from error and the gates of hell, I happen to think that the ones who are kidding themselves is every Protestant denomination. That might not sit particularly well with you, but I do happen to have a rather large bone to pick with those who tried to teach me that the Early Church was particularly Presbyterian in makeup and governance when it is obvious to anyone who would even do a smattering of reading that it was distinctly of the Faith shared by the Catholic and Orthodox. Bluntly put, such lies (such as "all Catholics go to hell....etc.") kept me out of the beauty that is sacramental and liturgical worship for years and I have to constantly remind myself that the Lord expects me to forgive those who practice such deception.
You state that the Reformation never came as far as Russia. Well, there is a real good reason for that. Holy Orthodoxy never participated in the DEFORMATION of the Church, therefore, there was NO NEED FOR REFORMATION. Our Orthodox Faith is genuine and historic Christianity which has been around for 2000 years. Our Liturgy goes back to St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom. Do you even KNOW who these great saints were? Have you ever read of the deep and rich spirituality of the Russian peoples that existed before the Communist takeover? Of course you haven't! I know this because I know that ALL AMERICANS, when they hear the word "Russian" think of one thing -- COMMUNISTS! You probably don't even know who St. Seraphim of Sarov was, and he was a pretty recent saint.
My suggestion to you: go find Franky Schaeffer and sit at his feet for a year or two. Since he came to Holy Orthodoxy from the evangelical background his famous father gave him, I think he, unlike the unlearned you are out there picking on, will be able to set you straight in a while.
I quite frankly wish you would leave the Ukraine and leave the people there alone. They have enough problems without you bringing in spiritual confusion of the kind you are promoting, especially in the way you present yourselves as some kind of Orthodox with your gold domed Presbyterian assembly room. (I will not dignify it to call it a church. You must have a priest, validly and licitly ordained to offer the Sacraments, to have a church.)
Such duplicity alone should shame you to the soles of your feet. Remember the part about "bearing false witness?" If you really want to help the Christians over there, convert to the Orthodox Faith, go learn it for about 10 years so that you become quite Eastern in your thinking, then return with the zeal you have for the errors you are teaching right now. I wonder how many other brands and varieties of Christianity the Ukrainian government will allow to come into the country before they decide they have had quite enough and want to protect their people."
Quite frankly, I applaud the Russian government for banning all the wolves who are showing up at the door in shepherd's clothing. Protestantism is an abberation and UNTRUTH!! Anything they have which is truth came from the historic apostolic Faith which we, as Orthodox and Catholics share. I am neither eccumenical nor desire to be with regards to Protestant error.
Unkind? Perhaps. But it was this keen nose for truth which God used to bring me home to the Church. Don't ask me to abandon it now that I am Home.
Cordially in Christ,
Christ is Risen!
Mention was made in an earlier post of a Lutheran "revision" of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. I remember having seen the text on the internet a couple years ago. Well, here's a link to it for those who are interested... http://www.angelfire.com/ca4/saintsophiaseminary/liturgy.html
Fr. Deacon James
Amen, Amen, Amen, and wiht the fullest meaning of these words PREACH IT BROTHER!
As you can tell from this above statement I was a former southern babtist, that is till I realized Protestantism is nothing but heresy and error.
I suggest we all say a Rosary/Molebem for these people's immediate conversion to the Holy Apostolic Faith which can only be found in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
Perhaps we can compose a Moleben in a Protestant style - and see how they like it?
Dear Father Deacon,
Yes, this is an interesting liturgy. But, unlike the goings on of today's Protestant missionaries, that liturgy was composed for the purposes of Ukrainian Catholics who voluntarily left their church in the 1930's.
They had crossed swords with their local priests and hierarchs over a number of issues and decided to leave.
Their decision was not, I am informed, based on missionary work among them by Lutherans, but other considerations.
To be Orthodox in western Ukraine at that time was a no-no. One would be under suspicion of being pro-Russian etc.
They wanted to leave Catholicism period and so decided to join with the other group that was the German Colony in Ukraine - the Lutherans.
I met one of these German Ukrainian Lutherans - he spoke perfectly in both languages.
Again, they imagined that there wasn't that much difference between the two faiths.
This mix-up also occurred in the U.S. when Lutheran immigrants arrived there and American Protestants, seeing their vestments et al. thought of them as Catholics and therefore Lutherans suffered discrimination along with the Catholics.
Lutheran preachers would often leave the Catholic ritual alone for the most part in Scandinavia, that was Christianized rather late by comparison the rest of Europe.
People followed their leaders in terms of religious affiliation and often didn't see the difference when little change was introduced in the public services.
There is a Lutheran group in the U.S., however, that is going the opposite way. That is, they are Lutherans who are "Orthodoxising" themselves, by embellishing their Lutheran liturgy to resemble that of St John Chrysostom, invoking saints etc.
They are in talks, I believe, with the Antiochian Orthodox Church to be accepted into union with it and thereforew with World Orthodoxy.
They are the "Evangelical Catholic Church." One issue is that Martin Luther is in their calendar, they say he was favourably predisposed toward Orthodoxy (which is true).
In every other which way they resemble the High Church Anglicans.