Alexei was born in 1978 on the island of Sakhalin in the Far East of Russia. He studied for one year (1993-94) in the famous Physical Mathematical College in Novosibirsk’s Akademgorodok. Then he studied biology at Novosibirsk State University for one year (1994-95) and physics for two and a half years (1995-98). His interests are multifold, including photography, design, radioelectronics, and music (choral singing).
Alexei joined the Lutheran church in 1994. In October of that year he was confirmed in the Lutheran parish in Novosibirsk. He came to the church as a result of student Christian work at the university. Alexei sang in the choir at the Lutheran church. In 1998 he spent two months in the Lutheran mission in Khakasia, doing practical work at the church there. After this time in Khakasia, he decided to enter the Lutheran seminary to be properly equipped for work in the church. The same year he was accepted as a student at LTS.
Alexei showed himself to be an industrious student, demonstrating good skills in biblical Greek. Besides his regular studies, Alexei assists the seminary and the church in various things. He has been involved in several editorial projects, including the Lectionary of the Estonian Lutheran Church in Russian, the publication of the calender for the year 2000 in full color, the layout and design of the church newspaper for the congregation in Touim, and the production of materials for children’s work in Khakasia.
In the future Alexei wants to continue serving the church in editorial work as well as to enter the holy ministry.
Mark was born August 28, 1980, in the Kalinin Region near Moscow. His family lived in different places, such as Tver, Kyrghisia. Then the family moved to Irkutsk in 1986. Mark’s family includes his mother, elder brother (Vadim, 22), and younger sister (Alisa, 8).
Mark has studied at the Builder’s and Entrepreneur College in Irkutsk for two years. Also, he studied at the Law Istitute for one year.
Mark’s interests include reading of literature of various kinds, psychology, travel, and simply communicating with people.
Mark has a fiancée (Inga), who is in her second year at Irkutsk Pedagogical University. Now that they are over 1000 miles apart, they exchange letters frequently.
Mark was baptized in the Orthodox Church in infancy. But he was not raised (catechized) in the Orthodox Church. When he grew up, the Lutheran Church was the first church Mark came to. This took place in May of 1999, the same year in which he was officially confirmed.
The desire to study at the seminary came because there was an obvious lack of ministers in the church in Irkutsk. Mark thought church work would help him to stay close to God. Mark was admitted to LTS in 1999, and now he is a first-year student.
In the past Mark’s life was not an easy one. He drank alcohol a lot and smoked marijuana and hashish. He even tried heroin, but became very afraid of being lost forever. Morals among teenagers in post-Soviet Russia are in a lamentable state, and Mark knows about this not only from mass-media reports. Mark also stole things, since he really wanted to have more money. He thought it was unfair that some had money while others did not, and stealing seemed like a solution to improve his standing in life. Mark got into some problems with the law. Finally he decided to quit this life of crime, and later even entered the Law Institute. Nevertheless, that could not save him from his sinful state. The church provided the necessary cure: the forgiveness of sins.
Now Mark wants to work with people, since he knows what problems they have in this world.
In the future Mark still wants to finish his higher education in Novosibirsk or in Irkutsk. He feels that while he is young he could study more. Upon graduation from LTS he may serve in the parish in Irkutsk or in some other place where the church sends him.
© 2000, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Novosibirsk, Russia