Shtundists

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The Shtundists (Russian: Штундисты, Shtundisty; Ukrainian: Штундисти, Shtundysty) are any of several Evangelical Protestant groups in the former Soviet Union and its successor states. More specifically, the term refers to sectarian Christian groups that emerged among Ukrainian peasants in southern regions of the Russian Empire (present day Ukraine) in the second half of the 19th century. Unlike Russian Spiritual Christian sects, the Shtundists were heavily influenced by German Baptists, Pietists and Mennonites that settled in the southern parts of the Russian Empire.

The word Shtundist is derived from the German word Stunde ("hour"), in reference to the practice of setting aside an hour for bible study.[1] The term was originally used in a derogatory sense, but has also been adopted by many adherents to this tradition.

Another self-denomination is the name Evangelical Christians (Евангельские христиане, Yevangel'skiye khristane) which first appeared in 1909 when several Shtundist groups, led by the engineer Ivan Prokhanov and mostly rooted in the Pietist tradition, formed a nationwide association in St Petersburg, the All-Russian Evangelical Christian Union. These evangelical groups came under pressure in Soviet times, with many adherents being incarcerated or deported. Conditions changed somewhat during the late 1940s, when most evangelical, Baptist and Pentecostalist groups were led—with some pressure from the Soviet state—to form the Association of Evangelical Christian Baptists (Всесоюзный совет евангельских христиан-баптистов, Vsesoyuznyy sovet yevangel'skikh khristan-baptistov abbreviated ВСЕХБ, VSYeKhB), which was later also joined by Mennonites. In Russia, the Evangelical Christian Baptists (Евангельские христиане-баптисты, Yevangel'skiye khristane-baptisty) still form the largest Protestant denomination with about 80,000 adherents.

During the late 20th century, Shtundism also extended its influence to Germany when many former Soviet citizens of German origin emigrated there and set up parishes and gospel halls, mostly referring to themselves as "Evangeliumschristen" ("Gospel Christians").

The Shtundists helped many Jews in Ukraine hide from the Nazis during the Holocaust.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ "ШТУНДИСТЫ". Soviet Historical Encyclopedia.