“And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you. . . that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deut. 8:2-3, ESV)
This Bible passage prefaced a prayer service led by Bishop Ivan Laptev at the memorial cross in Lembolovo, Leningrad Oblast, on Sunday, August 22, 2021. It is from this site where the church of the first established (1611) Lutheran congregation in Ingria once stood that the history of the Ingrian Lutheran Church begins. The memorial cross you see in the photos once topped the last Lembolovo parish church which was built in 1764 and existed until it was demolished by the Soviet authorities in 1935. The surviving cross was erected as a memorial sign in the 1990’s.
After the first hymn, Rev. Dean Pavel Krylov of the ELCIR West Ingrian Deanery shared an overview of the history of Lutheranism in the land of Ingria. Rev. Arvo Survo, a leader of the Ingrian church revival, joined in online from neighboring Finland with a word of encouragement. After the prayer service, Vadim Simonov recited some of his wonderful poems about the church revival.
The prayer was followed by a divine service at the Lutheran church of Steklyanny, celebrated by Rev. Dean Ivan Hutter of the ELCIR St. Petersburg Deanery. A special sign of God’s grace was the presence of sister in Christ Milli who was baptized at the church of Lembolovo in 1933. Thanks be to God for the years of mercy and trial! May He keep His Church!
Soli Deo Gloria!