Naryan-Mar (a port-town on the Pechora river and administrative center of the Nenets autonomous district in Northern Russia), August 25, 2015
Clergyman of the Naryan-Mar Diocese Priest John Malikov visited the Yamb-To nomadic community of reindeer-breeders. His task was to tell the local residents about the Christian faith, reports the Arkhangelsk Diocese’s press service.
The Yamb-To community consists of around 100 people. Fr. John related that the reindeer-breeders have more recently been influenced by Baptist preachers. The head of the community, Athanasy Semyonovich, has been Baptist for 18 years and he actively preaches that faith among his people. One reason he does this is to maintain social order: the Yamb-To members neither drink alcohol nor smoke.
“It is always difficult for Orthodox missionaries to reach the camps of nomadic Nentsi – the main transport facility is helicopter.
Bishop Yakov (James) of Naryan-Mar cited the main reasons for the Baptists’ success. It was much easier for Baptist preachers to come from Vorkuta, as they are supported by Norwegian and American Baptists, who generously provide them with hard currency. Snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles enabled them to reach the unspoiled and ingenuous Nentsi. Nevertheless, he says, since recent times the Naryan-Mar Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, with support of the Governor of the autonomous district, has been able to reach the flock that was once enlightened by Orthodox missionaries. Proof of their Orthodox past is that absolutely all the Nentsi, even those who have not been baptized, bear the names of Orthodox saints. The work begun by the enlighteners of the Russian North must be continued, Bishop Yakov said.