The Evangelical Lutheran Church settled in Altai actually from the moment of the involvement of this geographical province in the area of European civilization - from the middle of the 18th century. It was then that the community of Germans - Lutherans, who by the will of fate found themselves on the Altai land, felt the need to organize their spiritual religious life.
In 1814 Paul Mevius took over as Barnaul Lutheran pastor. He was supposed to conduct divine services and "satisfy worldly demands", not only at the Kolyvano-Voskresensk mining plants, but also as a divisional preacher in the cities of Omsk and Tobolsk.
Since 1840, Pastor Fruoer has become such a divisional preacher, and since 1842, a graduate of the University of Dorpat, Andrei Tetslav, has been appointed a Barnaul Lutheran clergyman. It is curious that the responsibility of this newly appointed pastor is given to spiritual care not only over the persons of the Evangelical Lutheran confession, but also over the reformers living in the given territory.
Since 1904, according to the decision of the Lutheran Moscow consistory, in whose jurisdiction the Siberian communities were also, Rudolf Karlovich Dalton was appointed pastor of the united parish of Tomsk - Barnaul.
Soviet atheist state by various methods in the thirties and forties was able to nullify any organized activity of the Evangelical-Lutheran community of Barnaul. The Barnaul Lutheran community received its second birth already in the sixties of the XX century. It was then that the Soviet Germans deported in 1941 from the Volga region and Ukraine to the countryside of Siberia and Kazakhstan, see Illustrations.
In 1988, in connection with the acquisition and conversion of a suitable private house into a House of Prayer, the two communities merged again into one. The believers elected Alexander Gottfried to lead the united community, who five years later, by 1993. in view of his advanced age and poor health, he handed over the ministry to Karl Schmidt. And since 2001, Alexander A. Franz took over this place.
The communities we are describing and others like them have always been led by the most respected members, exclusively men, called "elder brothers". Usually there were several "older brothers" in the community.
In the Altai Territory, back in the eighties of the XX century, there were up to 20 such fraternal communities. Only according to the registration cards of religious associations, drawn up by the Commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs under the Council of Ministers of the USSR for the Altai Territory, for the period from 1980 to 1989, the existence of Lutheran communities in Altai was established in the following areas:
- cities - Barnaul, Stone - on - Ob, Rubtsovsk, Slavgorod
- villages of the Slavgorod region - Podsosnovo, Krasnoarmeyskoe, Slavgorodskoe
- villages of Zavyalovsky district - Gilevka, Gonokhovo, Glubokoe
- villages of the Mikhailovsky district - Mikhailovskoye, Malinovoye Lake, Rakity
- villages of Tabunsky district - Tabuny and Bolshaya Romanovka
as well as the village of Samarka, Loktevsky district, the village of Saratovka, Rubtsovsky district, and the village of Maralikha, Krasnoshchekovsky district.
According to the collected data, all the communities listed here (partly no longer existing) are communities of the fraternal tradition (the cards from which these data are given are now in the Center for the Storage of the Archive Fund of the Altai Territory).
During the times of persecution for their belief in the sixties and seventies of the XX century, the number of new parishioners in the communities grew in direct proportion to the strength of such persecution and was directly related to the national self-identification of "Soviet" Germans, with their spontaneous protest against the assimilation policy pursued in the USSR. During these times, the community became not only a religious center, but also involuntarily a center for the preservation of traditional German culture and language. However, with the beginning of the so-called. "perestroika" and the emergence of new forms of national existence, much begins to change for the fraternal communities for the worse. The unceasing mass exodus, primarily of believers of Germans, to live in the Federal Republic of Germany (by the way, there are also several dozen fraternal communities founded by Russian Germans - immigrants in the last two decades), among which there are many respected "older brothers", the aging of the main body of the remaining Lutherans - all this contributes to the fact that the life of the Lutheran communities of the fraternal tradition in today's Russia is gradually fading away. However, the movement that has recently emerged among fraternal communities towards greater openness to the modern world and their joining the Russian Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession (ELCAI) suggests that the fraternal tradition in Lutheranism will not die in the 21st century either. And that's what we hope for.