Religion in the Shadow of the Kremlin: National Prayer Breakfast Roundtable Discussion

The 2018 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC

Mission Eurasia’s efforts to promote peace and religious freedom in Eurasia and raise awareness about challenges to religious freedom in the region led us to organize several strategic events centered around the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC at the beginning of February 2018. One of the key events that week was a roundtable discussion called Religion in the Shadow of the Kremlin: New Challenges Facing the Post-Soviet World. This roundtable discussion brought together key leaders in church, government, and society from Eurasia and the US to establish international partnerships and dialogue, analyze current challenges to religious freedom in Russia and territories of Ukraine that are occupied by pro-Russian separatists, and develop creative and effective solutions to the problems.

This event was organized by Mission Eurasia, and Sergey Rakhuba (President of Mission Eurasia), Dr. Michael Cherenkov (Executive Director of Mission Eurasia Field Ministries), and Viktor Kuzmenko (Short-Term Missions and Slavic Relations Manager) represented Mission Eurasia at the roundtable discussion.

Other distinguished participants included Dr. Andriy Yurash (Director of the Department of Religious and Ethnic Affairs in Ukraine), Lauren B. Homer (President of Law and Liberty Trust), Father Cyril Hovorun (Acting Director of Huffington Ecumenical Institute), Rev. Dr. Valeriy Antonuk (President of the Ukrainian Baptist Union), Dr. Viktor Ielensky (Member of Parliament of Ukraine), Dr. Liliia Hrynevych (Ukrainian politician and Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine), and Dr. Pavlo Ungurian (Member of Parliament of Ukraine). Dr. John Bernbaum, one of our esteemed partners at the BEAM Foundation, moderated the discussion.

Questions examined during the roundtable discussion included:

  • What is the nature of the new religious and political situation in Russia? What is the real role of the Russian Orthodox Church in relation to the Russian government? What will happen to other Christian denominations and religious groups in Russia? What is the “Yarovaya law” and against whom are its strict regulations directed?
  • How are the religious and political motives of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine connected? What can religious institutions in both countries do to end the war in eastern Ukraine?
  • How can the international/global community and partnerships help civil society and religious communities facing limited freedom and/or open aggression? What forms of interaction are most effective?
  • How can the social, educational, missionary initiatives of the church help to positively transform the post-Soviet countries of Eurasia?

To read and download the individual presentations from the roundtable discussion, please see the list of speakers below.

Speakers and Presentations:

Dr. Andriy Yurash, Director of the Department of Religious and Ethnic Affairs (Ministry of Culture of Ukraine), Professor of Religious Studies. Click to read Dr. Yurash’s presentation:






Dr. Viktor Ielensky, Member of Parliament of Ukraine, Sociologist of Religion, Professor. Click to read Dr. Ielensky’s presentation:






Rev. Dr. Cyril Hovorun, Acting Director of Huffington Ecumenical Institute, formerly Chair of External Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Click to read Dr. Hovorun’s presentation:





Dr. Mykhailo (Michael) Cherenkov, Professor at Ukrainian Catholic University, Executive Field Director at Mission Eurasia. Click to read Dr. Cherenkov’s presentation: 






Rev. Dr. Valeriy Antonyuk, President of the Ukrainian Baptist Union. Click to read Dr. Antonyuk’s presentation:





Sergey Rakhuba, President of Mission Eurasia. Click to read Sergey Rakhuba’s presentation:







Dr. John A. Bernbaum, President, BEAM (Business & Education as Mission), Inc. Click to read Dr. Bernbaum’s remarks:





Photos from the roundtable discussion: