Church History
Spreading the Gospel East

“Spreading the Gospel East,” Global Histories: Austria (2019)

“Spreading the Gospel East,” Global Histories: Austria

Spreading the Gospel East

Over the course of Church history, Austria has played an important role in spreading the restored gospel throughout Europe. From the beginning, people from other places found the gospel while living in Austria. For example, the first known Polish convert, Adalbert Cholewa, joined the Church in Austria in the 1880s. Františka Brodilová, who joined the Church in Vienna in 1913, successfully petitioned the Church to open a mission in Czechoslovakia several years after she returned to Prague.

Zagreb Croatia Branch

Missionaries from the Vienna East Mission with members of the Zagreb Yugoslavia (Croatia) Branch, 1988

After World War II, Austrian Saints worshipped at the edge of the “Iron Curtain” between the democracies of Western Europe and the communist regimes in Eastern Europe. Though religious freedom was severely restricted in Eastern Europe at the time, Austrian Saints prepared for a brighter future. In the 1970s, Austrian Saints made concerted efforts to share the gospel with guest workers from Yugoslavia and supported efforts to establish a mission in Yugoslavia. In 1987 the Church created the Austria Vienna East Mission to spread the gospel in Eastern European countries including Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Poland. The mission’s responsibility soon expanded further east to places like Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia. From Vienna, the groundwork for the Church in Eastern Europe was laid at a crucial time. In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, and by 1992 the Vienna East Mission work was done as new missions were opened across Eastern Europe.