Pastor Juha Valiaho
Pastor Juha Valiaho, a worker of the Finnish Missionary Society (SLS),
began work with the Mari people in the 1990s. As a result, in 1993, the
Yoshkar-Ola Mari-Russian Evangelical Lutheran Parish was established.
Today, Pastor Juha Valiaho not only heads the Yoshkar-Ola parish, but
also, as Dean of the Ural Deanery, conducts active missionary work in
As the parish developed, Juha began to need a Russian-speaking helper.
From the more capable and talented people, some were chosen for theological
study at the Education Center of the Ingrian Church (Theological
Institute). Of these people, Nikolai Ivanovich Yakimov was appointed
deacon. Now he is retired and tries to be active in parish life as he
Deacon Sergey Pershin
Sergey Yurevich Pershin was called for work with youth. After completing
the beginning parish school, he entered the theological course, which
he successfully completed. Already during his studies, Sergey was appointed
deacon, serving the Yoshkar-Ola parish. At the present time, Sergey is
working on his thesis and working in the Yoshkar-Ola parish.
Deacon Vladimir Bochkov
A little later, Vladimir Nikolaevich Bochkov was ordained deacon for service
in the Yoshkar-Ola and neighboring parishes in the towns of Zvenigovo
and Paranga. Now, Deacon Vladimir Bochkov is studying at the Theological
Institute of the Church of Ingria and continues to serve the parish, as
he is able. The “Bulletin of the Church of the Holy Cross” is published
with his participation.
Deacon Gennadiy Alekseev
At the same time, the Bishop of the Ingrian Church, Aare Matveevich Kuukauppi,
appointed Deacon Gennadiy Valerionovich Alekseev for missionary work among
the Mari people in the Republics Mari-El and Bashkortostan. As a writer
and translator, Deacon Gennadiy Alekseev does a great deal to allow the
Maris to hear the Word of God in their native language. He translated
the Liturgy of the main worship service, hymns, the catechism, and much
more into the Mari language. Today we can see some of the fruits of his
labor in the pamphlets published by him in the newspaper of the Ural Deanery.
Besides these appointed workers, for whom there is plenty of work here, there
are other church workers who take care of things so that the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in Yoshkar-Ola is able not just to exist but to grow and develop.