More Unity Among Ukraine Christians Following Elections

After being under control for more than a decade, Christians in Ukraine are pressing forward for a national transformation in the former Soviet republic, CharismaNow new service reported in its most recent edition.

Since last November’s allegedly rigged election drew hundreds of thousands of demonstrators out to the streets in protest, many believers came together in unity to back recently elected Viktor Yushchenko who has promised to steer a new course for Ukraine—away from corruption and political cronyism and into the European Union.

"What is happening here is an answer to prayer," Sunday Adelaja, pastor of the 25,000-member Embassy of God Church in Kiev, told Charisma magazine in its February issue. "It is unbelievable. The Christians are in unity. The Baptists are standing beside the Orthodox people—which is amazing because the Orthodox hated us before."

Since Ukraine gained independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, religious tension has been high in the nation. But while there were only 250,000 evangelical Christians in a country dominated by nominal Orthodox Church adherents, today there are reportedly three million evangelicals.

"That is 1,000 percent growth in a decade," noted theologian Gary Kellner, who believes Yushchenko's victory shows that evangelical churches have become a powerful force in Ukraine. "What God is doing in Ukraine is unprecedented."

When hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in central Kiev to protest in November, many feared the protests would lead to disaster. But while emotions ran high, the atmosphere was charged not with anger but with eager goodwill, according to Slavik Radchuk, vice president of Christian Aid Mission.

Demonstrators’ moral integrity seemed as strong as their political fervor, Christian Aid reported in December. "There was an air of celebration, but without the drunkenness one may expect," the mission agency added. "In fact, stores in Independence Square, where the demonstrations were held, reported extremely low sales of alcohol, despite their expectations."

Many onlookers also agreed that the unity and human kindness that was present during the non-stop protests were greatly facilitated by the presence of members of indigenous evangelical churches.