The Orloff Evangelical Mennonite Church (also known as Altonau Evangelical Mennonite Church) in Orloff, Zagradovka Mennonite Settlement, province of Kherson, South Russia (Ukraine), came into existence 14 May 1907. Franz Martens, elder of the Nikolaifeld Mennonite Church, withdrew from the congregation with 11 ministers and 2 deacons. They believed that in the practice of baptism, communion and discipline in general, the church had greatly deviated from its confession of faith and the Word of God. Believing that the majority of the members were unwilling to return to a church practice as visualized by Menno Simons and the early fathers of the Mennonite Church, they left the Nikolaifeld Mennonite Church and organized the Altonau Evangelical Mennonite Church with fifty-seven members. This group adhered to the confession of faith of the Mennonite Church but had the following special characteristics: (1) They admitted as members only those who professed to have accepted Christ as their personal Savior. (2) They baptized by immersion only, but did not insist on a rebaptism of those wishing to join. (3) They admitted non-members to communion, provided such visitors professed to be reborn. (4) They performed marriage for non-baptized persons when there were no other reasons against such act. (5) Members marrying unregenerated partners were excommunicated.
The congregation met for seven years in a former store building in Orloff. In 1914 a modern church with a seating capacity of about 450 was erected in the village of Orloff. In 1922 this congregation had 214 members. The first elder was Franz Martens (1907-24); his successor was Jakob Janzen (1924-?).
Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga", 1911.
Friesen, Peter M. The Mennonite brotherhood in Russia, 1789-1910. Fresno, CA: Board of Christian Literature, General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, 1980.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 47.
Lohrenz, Gerhard. Sagradowka: die Geschichte einer mennonitischen Ansiedlung im Süden Russlands, Rosthern: Echo-Verlag, 1947.
Lohrenz, Gerhard. Zagradovka: history of a Mennonite settlement in southern Russia. Winnipeg, MB: CMBC Publications, 2000.
 Cite This Article
Lohrenz, Gerhard. "Orloff Evangelical Mennonite Church (Orloff, Zagradovka Colony, South Russia)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 20 Sep 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Orloff_Evangelical_Mennonite_Church_(Orloff,_Zagradovka_Colony,_South_Russia)&oldid=76708.
Lohrenz, Gerhard. (1959). Orloff Evangelical Mennonite Church (Orloff, Zagradovka Colony, South Russia). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 September 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Orloff_Evangelical_Mennonite_Church_(Orloff,_Zagradovka_Colony,_South_Russia)&oldid=76708.
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