An orphanage for children from poor Pentecostal families worked in Kivertsi, Lutsk County.
An orphanage for children from poor Pentecostal families worked in Kivertsi, Lutsk County.
At the same time, Schmidt’s attention is drawn to Ukrainian Pentecostals who came from the United States in the early 1920s: I. Geris, P. Ilchuk, J. Antonyuk, and others. They actively traveled to the villages and towns of Galicia, Volhynia, and for five or six years grouped around a group of like-minded people. In 1929, the First Congress of Pentecostals of Eastern Poland, Western Belarus and Western Ukraine took place in the village of Stara Chovnytsia, Lutsk County. It was decided to establish the Union of Evangelical Christians (CEE) with its center in Lodz. I. Panko, G. Fedyshyn, P. Ilchuk, D. Kosma, T. Nagorny, K. Leonovych, S. Yarmolyuk, I. Zub-Zolotarev, and M. Verbytsky entered the leadership of the Union from the Ukrainian Pentecostals.
The union, which was actively supported by the Danzig branch, as well as the Assembly of God, quickly established missionary work and propaganda. He managed to establish three publishing centers, for which editors were trained on special courses. The center in Łód (published literature in Polish, in particular the magazine “Access” (published in 1936-1939) edited by A. Bergolets. The publishing house in Danzig published the Russian-language magazine Pridyt Prymititel (Will Come to Reconciliation) ( published in 1929-1939, edited by G. Schmidt). Pentecostal literature was published in Ukrainian in Kremenets: in addition to a series of pamphlets, singers, and collections of spiritual poems, the Evangelical Voice magazine was published (in 1936-1939; edited by G. Fedyshyn, then M. Verbytsky). The union had about 30 Sunday schools. Most of them existed in Volhynia. An orphanage for children from poor Pentecostal families worked in Kivertsi, Lutsk County. The majority of Pentecostal Ukrainians were peasants, workers, and burghers.
In 1937, the union had 500 communities and 18,197 believers. Of these, 7,639 Pentecostals lived in Volhynia. The main places of distribution of the current in the Ukrainian ethnic lands are the districts of Brest (communities existed in 4 settlements), Kamin-Kashirsky (3), Kovel (3), Kremenets (17), Lubomlsky (2), Lutsk ( 4), Luninets. 4), Molodechny (2), Pinsk (11), Rivne (31), Sarny (9), Volodymyrsky (2). However, the communities were small. As for Galicia, especially Peremyshl, Lviv, Stanislavsky voivodships, where there were also Pentecostal communities, there are no similar statistics.
In essence, the Union of CEE Assemblies was the only Pentecostal church structure in Western Ukraine, similar to the Union of CEEs in Eastern Ukraine. At the same time, there were a number of smaller groups that remained at the sect level. Evangelical Christians in the apostolic spirit should be called a sect. GuiltIn 1913 in Finland and St. Petersburg, however, as a result of the post-revolutionary emigration of some members to Western Ukraine, it spread to Volhynia. The leaders of the sect were Ukrainian Ignatius Kozachuk and Russian Mykola Smorodin. The largest group of evangelical evangelical Christians (100 people) was in the villages of Brest County – Stradeh and Medny.
The name of the sect is associated with the Pentecostal doctrine of the possibility for every believer to receive the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit, as was once the case with the apostles of Christ. Its peculiarity is the denial of the Trinity and the observance of the Sabbath. Evangelical Christians in the apostolic spirit believe that the only God is only Jesus Christ (that is why they are also called Jesuits or single fighters).
In the early 1930s, a group of Pentecostals from another American union, the Church of God, appeared in Volyn. Since 1935, the community, led by an active religious figure, writer and topics for narrative writing editor Dmytro Harasevych, has been operating under the name Church of Christians of the Church of God and published the magazine “Building of the Church of God” (published in Kremenets in 1935-1939). In terms of doctrine and cult, this center did not differ from the Union of CEE Assemblies. He left many pamphlets, poetry and song collections, attempts at political reviews and historical investigations of past Protestantism in Western Ukraine.
In 1932, a sect of Karpivtsi (named after the leader Karp Babi) was formed in the town of Lishnivtsi, Kovel County. Adhering to the dogmas of baptism and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, its adherents at the same time recognized the Orthodox cult, receiving the gift of glossolalia often in the Orthodox Church. The number of members of the sect did not increase; from 1939 there is no information about it.
Close to the Pentecostals was another sect with elements of religious fanaticism, widespread in Western Ukraine, the evangelical Zionist Christians. The name of the sect is associated with the famous idea of the second coming of Christ on Mount Zion and the establishment of the earthly millennial kingdom in Palestine. The sect arose in 1932 in the village. To the waxmasters of Rivne district after the sermons of Ivan Murashko, which became a kind of mixture of Pentecostal, Adventist, Jehovah’s Witness and Stundist ideas. Murashko himself, as S. Grelevsky writes about him, a native of Razmyrki, Brest County, was in the United States for twelve years, where he joined the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but disagreed with certain principles of their teachings. Returning to Ukraine, he “began to proclaim a new faith in Volhynia … He preached in Ukrainian, reading the Bible at every turn.”
For several years he organized a group of sympathizers. He called himself Jesus Christ, the “father of Zion,” his assistants the apostles, and his “spiritual” wife Elena Kirilchuk the virgin Mary. They traveled in such a group *, telling, for example, how “the Virgin Mary had a dream about the destruction of the world in a terrible war, when only Murashko and Kirilchuk will save people.” According to their sermons, the one who would join the sect and receive the “seals of the Lord”, ie the cuts on the body of the believer made by Murashko, could join the future salvation. Kirilchuk became the first to be marked with “seals”; blood from her cuts was collected in bottles, mixed with water and used during communion.
From the Pentecostal doctrine, Murashko’s followers recognized the dogmas of baptism and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (primarily the gifts of glossolalia and healing). The eschatological preaching of the evangelical Christians of the holy Zionists was concretized by the assertion of the possibility of building an earthly Jerusalem by the forces of the faithful. They envisioned Jerusalem as a model farm, built on the principles of the commune with the obligatory submission of the faithful to the apostles, led by Murashko. It is in the commune that we must wait for the second coming of Christ, who will come for “his children and raise them to the holy mountain.” There was even an attempt to create such a commune – first in the village. Navetsky, under which Murashko bought 700 acres of land, then – in the village of Zarechytsia, Dubovets district, where Murashko’s supporters from some places in Polissya and Volyn began to gather in the mid-1930s. However, the sect did not last long. After 1939, when I. Murashko emigrated again, only a few dozen of his supporters remained in Western Ukraine.
By the early 40’s of XX century. most Pentecostal sects (we have named only the main ones) in Eastern and Western Ukraine have ceased to exist. Some of them joined the more organized currents of evangelical Christians and evangelical Christians.
The youngest Late Protestant movement, prevalent mainly in Western Ukraine, is Jehovah’s Witness. In 1884, in the state of Pennsylvania (USA), the former Adventist preacher Charles Russell founded the Society of Bible Researchers (since 1931 – the Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses) and began publishing the Watchtower magazine. Like any creator of the new doctrine, Russell delivered an ardent sermon on the revision of established dogmas and the purification of the true faith, a return to early Christianity. According to Russell, Luther and other reformers never managed to complete the radical renewal of Christianity, and then the Reformation era further departed from the true faith. This faith must be the doctrine of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Indeed, the dogma and cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses are in many ways reminiscent of the early Protestant rationalist tradition. Yes, they deny the Trinity (and in monotheism they approach Judaism). God the Father is professed as Jehovah God: He is the source of life, the creator of all things visible and invisible, omnipotent and wisest. Jehovah is the founder of the universal ethical law, the embodiment of the highest morality. Christ was created directly by Jehovah. He is His son, but not God, but only a perfect man, destined to carry out God’s plan (echo of Arianism). The Holy Ghost is, first and foremost, Jehovah’s power in creating the world, doing God’s will, and preparing people for salvation. Jehovah has given his power to Christ, and he is fulfilling God’s saving mission on earth. Thus, the followers of the current adhere to the main Protestant principle, as well as the principle of the general priesthood of believers. Their teachings are based only on the Bible, preferring the Apocalypse and the Books of the great and small prophets.
Cosmology occupies a prominent place in the rationalist-religious constructions of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In the imagination of the followers of the current, God is the root cause of the world, which develops according to previously developed laws. The universe appears to be the only great field of relentless struggle between the Divine and Satanic forces. On the side of the former – Jehovah’s Witnesses, the latter – the whole modern world, which represents Satan. It is impossible to change the world, so it is necessary to destroy Armageddon in the holy war, after which the Kingdom of God will come to earth for all the righteous.
Thus, the current imitates heretical dualism, but at the same time shows commonality with Adventism. Like Adventists and Socinians, Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the immortality of the soul. This is a logical link in their eschatological teaching, centered on the idea of ”Jehovah’s great day,” that is, Armageddon, when all the people who lived on the earth will be resurrected. He who adheres to the teachings of Jehovah will be saved for eternal life. Others will face a terrible death in the fire. According to supporters of the current, the era of Armageddon began long ago: its early stage was the First World War, as a result of which in 1918 there was a “spiritual”, invisible coming of Christ to earth. During 1918-1935, he gathered around him an army of devoted servants of God, which had 144 thousand soldiers, of whom, according to the latest estimates of the leaders of the current, survived about 9 thousand – the most worthy members of the Society …
Today, humanity is in a period of decisive battle between Christ and Satan, whom Jehovah overthrew long ago.