Rev. Oleg Sevastyanov, an Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR) pastor who received his Master of Divinity at Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, founded a Lutheran mission congregation in Narva, Estonia. It is the first Russian-speaking congregation in Estonia. Rev. Sevastyanov is an Alliance Missionary who receives support from the ELCIR and from The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). He moved to Estonia at the invitation of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) over 9 years ago to primarily reach out to Russian-speaking people in Estonia. Before he arrived, there hadn’t been any Lutheran worship in the Russian language in Estonia for 300 years. Since then, through proclaiming God’s grace in Christ in Word and Sacrament, Rev. Sevastyanov has founded a Russian-speaking congregation as part of a larger local EELK parish based in the Alexander Cathedral in Narva. Rev. Sevastyanov has also founded a Russian-speaking Lutheran congregation in Tallinn. As he celebrates the divine service for his Narva congregants on Sundays, Rev. Sevastyanov leads the worship in Tallinn on Saturdays.
Pastor Oleg also writes and hosts two programs at local radio stations and visits a prison to reach out to the inmates.
On Radio Eli, he has produced and hosted a weekly program titled Here I Stand talking about spiritual search, the thoughts of famous and less famous theologians, and the history of the Reformation and in particular Lutheranism.
Another radio program authored by Rev. Sevastyanov is titled In Search of the Way, the Truth and the Life airing on a Christian station called Pereraadio. In earlier broadcasts from this series Rev. Sevastyanov talked about the world’s religions from the early primitive to Christianity. The next series that he is currently recording covers the life of the Christian Church from Pentecost to this day. This program is scheduled to go on the air for one and a half years starting in September.
Of his work with his two congregations, Rev. Savastyanov says:
It is my firm belief that God has always a “unique thread to each individual heart.” This is evidenced by the New Testament. Individual case[s] [have] an important place in Christ’s ministry. Like in the parable of the lost sheep. He leaves the 99 and goes to search for the lost one. For the ten years of serving in Estonia, I’ve learned from experience it’s the most effective method. It doesn’t produce a large-scale result, but the very few you approach very individually stay in the church forever. Accordingly, I always leave for Tallinn the day before my worship service to have a chance to meet with the people who have a real need in the spiritual realm. I’m approached by different people, sometimes people who are very distant from the Church.
Pastor Oleg’s recent congregational ministry includes the baptism of two children in the Alexander Cathedral in Narva. On June 5, he inaugurated an exhibition of paintings by a young artist in the cathedral’s bell-tower. It was organized by sponsors from St. Petersburg and Narva as part of an international exhibition project called Yedinenie based in St. Petersburg and working with impaired children, adolescents, and adults, mostly with those with Down syndrome.
This is not their first exhibition here as they collaborate closely with the Lutheran congregation in Narva. The current exhibition presents the works of a mobility-impaired young man who depicts themes from A. Pushkin’s poetry and prose.
- Please pray for Rev. Sevastyanov’s continued work in Estonia.
- Learn more about Rev. Sevastyanov.
- Are you interested in supporting work in Estonia by helping to support Rev. Sevastyanov, our Alliance missionary there? Then please contact Mission Advancement: By telephone: 888-930-4438. By email: Mission.Advancement@lcms.org.