This post was shared by LCMS missionary and theological educator, Rev. Matthew Heise.
On Sunday, January 27, Ingrian Lutheran Bishop Arri Kugappi ordained Vladimir Yakushev, recent graduate of the Ingrian seminary,
as a pastor of the Lutheran congregation in Murmansk. Also ordained into service as a deacon was seminary student Konstantin Volkovinus, a native of the Ural Mountains’ region known as Udmurtia.
In addition to the ordinations, Pastor Ivan Laptev of St. George’s Lutheran in Koltushi baptized Alexander, a native Buryat from the
Siberian region by Lake Baikal. The theme of the day was that the Gospel calls all people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. That
message was echoed by the bishop in his sermon for the day. He remarked that since the Ingrian people suffered for their faith in the
Siberian gulag during the communist years of repression, some of them considered their people superior to others. The bishop, though,
emphasized that no one people group is above another in God’s eyes.
Quoting St. Paul in Romans 11, Bishop Kugappi spoke of the tree of faith where God can graft in wild olive branches. This is surely what He
is doing today in the Ingrian Lutheran Church in Russia, a church with Finnish roots that is branching out through the power of the Holy Spirit to all people groups in Russia with the saving Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.