Saturday, January 23, 2016

The SA in Russia - 1913 Part Two of Two

Permitted to remain in the city during the exhibition. Larsson was as able to publish a Russian War Cry, but it was named Vjestnik Spasenija (The Salvation Messenger; avoiding the word 'war'). The thousands of newspapers prepared the way for the official opening of a slum center outside the gates of Moscow. Soon a corps was or ganized in Petrograd by the first soldier sworn in under the Army flag on December 20, 1914, though this was still officially a Finnish corps. 

Army Meets Defeat 

For a while the Army made encouraging progress. A refugee home was opened, as well as one for children. On Easter Sunday in 1917 they made their first march down Nevski Prospekt, singing salvation songs. Thousands watched and 450 were attracted to a public meeting. 

They were given full liberty for street meetings, and the officers' training school was opened, but the first class proved to be its last. In the latter part of 1918 things changed for the worse; street meetings were prohibited, and religious organizations were required to register or they would be considered counter-revolutionary agencies. In close order the Army corps and institutions were shut down, and by December Commissioner Larsson and family were forced to leave the country. The remaining 50 officers and employees were faced with hardships and privations.

In 1921 a mutiny in Kronstadt sig­naled new attacks on the small body of Salvationists. Officers and soldiers were arrested and some imprisoned. In 1922 the officers in Petrograd were ordered to cease their work. Though appeals were made. the last Finnish representative of the Army, Adjutant Elsa Olsoni. left the country in 1923. Ten years of a brave tight in Russia had come officially to an end...but the embers remained.


The Salvation Army departed from Russia after the revolution, but the calling never left the heart of 15-year-old Vladimir Mikhailovich Fursenko of Petrograd, nor did it diminish his view of his Christianity. 

While supporting himself in Crimea as a laborer, he continued to recruit members to his secret Salvation Army for 20 years. At the outbreak of World War II, when he attempted to register his "Ukrainian Salvation Army" as a source of relief work and aid, the KGB authorities threatened, then arrested him. Fursenko spent 20 years in a Siberian prison, where he continued to share Scripture and lead other prisoners to conversion. 

Upon the easing of the repression of religion, his house became, "Headquarters, Crimea Command." When The Army reaches the Crimea, there they will find uniformed soldiers and the grand old "General from Yalta." 


"It was 1992. 

The SA 'news reporter', author of the above story was half right. The "General" had learned that TSA was back in Russia, tracked us down and phoned me in Leningrad sharing instruction; 'I have plans for Crimea and need 30 uniforms, 100 blankets and 20 musical instruments. And do we need a ship, a Russian destroyer to Evangelize the Black Sea region?' 

I flew down the following week and met with this remarkable gentleman. The full story of the General of Yalta is told in; Return to Russia with Flags Unfurled - Released in spring 2016 in English and Russian."

Kathie & Sven Ljungholm
Yalta, Crimea 1993

No comments: