Historical Context

The Chechen Republic is located in the North Caucasus, and is a part of the Russian Federation. It borders the Republic of Ingushetia in the west, North Ossetia-Alania in the northwest, Stavropolski Krai in the north, Dagestan in the west and the northwest, and Georgia in the south. The capital city is Grozny.

Population of Chechnya is 1.346.438. The overall population of Chechens around the world reaches 1.550.000.

The main religion is Sunni Islam.

Chechens are a North Caucasian nation and are considered natives of the region. Historically, they live also in several regions of Dagestan, Ingushetia and Georgia.

The first references about state entities in the present territory of Chechnya are dated to the early medieval period. In the 9th century, the plain region of the territory of today’s Chechnya was a part of the kingdom of Alania, and the mountainous region was a part of the kingdom of Serir. Direct ancestors of today’s Chechens and Ingushs, Nokhcho tribes, inhabited the mountainous region. In the 8th century, because of invasion of Mongols, Chechens had to leave the plain region and move to the mountains, which of course suspended social-economic development of their society.


Christian Context

Until the 11th century, this nation was pagan, and from the 11th century, Christianity came to this territory from Georgia and Byzantium.

In Chechnya, a parchment manuscript was found which contained Psalms written with Georgian letters. This proves Georgian-Chechen ties. In the 8th century, because of Tatar-Mongol invasions, missionary activities of the Georgian Church among Caucasian highlanders were interrupted. This had a disastrous outcome for a number of Caucasian nations, and for Chechens as well. Locked in heavy-going mountainous ravines, they were cut from the plain regions and from the world in general. Christian Church buildings were abandoned. Thus, Chechens were isolated from the Church and gradually returned to their pre-Christian beliefs. Some Christian Churches were turned into pagan temples.

In the 14th century, Chechens had their own state, which later was attacked and destroyed.

Because of Tamerlane’s invasions, Islam starts entering this region from the 8th century.

Chechens and Ingushs call themselves Vajnakhs or Nakhs. According to their own legend, Nakhs come from biblical Noah. The religion of Nakhs from the 3rd to the 1st millennia B.C., had similarities with Hurrian and Urartian cults.

It is known that before the 20th century, Chechens who lived in the plain region called highlander Chechens ‘lama kerasta’, which means ‘Christian highlanders’. Many testify, that up to the 19th century, Vainakhs prayed in Christian Churches; however, after that “Persians” came to the highlanders and converted them to Islam. So it is already clear that people there were either pagans, or became Muslims. There even were instances when missionaries were killed for preaching of the Gospel.

Today throughout the territories of the Republic of Chechnya there are several Orthodox Churches; unfortunately, there is not even one officially registered Evangelical Church, as well as any Protestant Church or a house of prayer. In 2012, the complete Bible in Chechen was published.