(by Yuri Levchenko, pastor of Reflection Presbyterian church of Dmitrov, Moscow region)
At the end of March right after the intensive course in St. Petersburg we went to Kazan where we saw a very interesting architectural complex called the Temple of All Religions or the Universal Temple build by Ildar Khanov. It’s really unique because it consists of several types of religious architecture including an Orthodox church, a mosque, and a synagogue, among others. Therefore we can see a Christian cross, a Muslim crescent, David’s star and a Chinese dome. It’s one of the sights of the city which describes the character of Kazan very well. Islam has been the state religion of the city since its foundation in 1005. The first Christian church was built only in the XVI century when Ivan the Terrible conquered Kazan. Today predominant faiths of Kazan are Sunni Islam and Orthodox Christianity. But there are also Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Baha’is.
They don’t hold any worship services in that Universal Temple. It’s just a building. But you know what building is located right in the center of Kazan? The Qol Sharif Mosque. And it is active, of course.
I’m sure, in terms of soteriology, the Church of Jesus Christ takes a central place in every city. Even if it’s small and located in the outskirts of the city.
There is only one Reformed church in Kazan and that’s where we went together with Blake. We wanted to encourage people of that small church and show that their church is not small at all because it belongs to the great Church of Jesus Christ and is always under His care. On Sunday l preached and Blake shared his experience in child raising.
A year and a half ago God called the pastor of this church. Truly, “the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance” (Ps. 94:14). God have kept this small community and even built it up. Vladislav Larionov the elder serves as a caretaker pastor. He comes to St. Petersburg to participate in the intensive courses of the SRS seminary. So does another member of this church – Andrey Dyatlov – who is an official student of our seminary now.
Please pray for this church so that the Lord would provide a pastor for them who will love them and lead in worshipping God in Kazan.