HISTORY OF UKRAINE
Ukraine (also called Rus) was Christianized in 988 through the work of missionaries from Europe and Byzantium. Prince Vladimir the Saint and his son, Yaroslav the Wise (10th – early 11th century), supported the rise of church education, national teachers, and preachers. This led to a growth of culture both on the national level and ecclesiastically, lasting until the early 13th century when Ukraine was conquered by the Mongols.
The decline of church and national culture continued until the middle of 16th century when many Protestant missionaries came to Ukraine (which was at that time part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth known as The Republic). During this time several Jesuit missionaries were arriving in Ukraine as well. The Jesuits placed a strong emphasis on education – planting schools where Theology and secular subjects were taught. Such schools were planted in Kyiv, Lviv, Uzhgorod etc., and the high quality of education brought forth the rise of Ukrainian Catholicism.
In order to withstand the Catholic and Protestant influence, Ukrainian Orthodox churchmen founded their own Bible schools, such as the Academy at Ostrog Castle and the Kyiv-Mohila Academy (planted by Kyivan Orthodox Archbishop, Peter Mohila, in 1631).
The latter, enduring many decades of civil war in the 17th century, came to be known as the Kyivan Theological Academy by the 19th century (Central and Eastern Ukraine was at that time part of the Russian Empire). The same institution is known to have taken part in the Russian translation of the Bible.
In the middle of 19th century, Protestant missionaries again came to Ukraine. But unfortunately they did not manage to found their own schools (except the Bible Institute in Danzig, Poland) because of the onset of the Soviet Union.
Only after the collapse of the USSR in 1991 did Ukrainian Christians begin again to found Bible Schools and Seminaries – UETS is one such institution.
HISTORY OF UETS
1991 Ukraine becomes an independent country. Evangelical churches start to come out of the underground; many Unions and Fellowships of evangelical churches are registered. A whole series of seminars and conferences proves the need for systematic education, which would develop leaders to minister in these new circumstances of freedom and opportunity. In January 1991 a correspondence course is started, using the programme of the International Correspondence Institute (USA).
1992 A one-month seminar is held in August 1992 in Poliana, Carpathia area (Western Ukraine). This seminar is one of the first steps in the establishment of systematic theological education in Ukraine. Students are offered introductory courses in Theology, Evangelism and Missions Work, Christian Education, Christian Counselling etc.
1993 In September 1993 the Ukrainian Pentecostal School of Theology is opened in Poliana offering a one-year intensive programme on the certificate level. The students come from different areas of Ukraine and Russia; many of them are already full-time ministers and some are young people with a strong desire to give their lives for ministry for the Lord. After one year of running the programme it becomes clear that students need training in more specific areas.
1994 Because of rental problems the School has to leave the facilities in Poliana. After moving to Kiev three new departments are opened: Christian Ministry, Music Ministry and Christian Education. Each department thus specialises in the areas of Church Planting and Development, Sunday School administration and teaching, Church Music and Worship. At that time the Seminary was renting one and a half floors in a four-story hostel building in Kiev.
1996 In this year the European Evangelical Accrediting Association co-ordinator Dr. Adrian Stringer has a first visit to UETS in order to help with accreditation of the Seminary's programmes.
1998 Because of difficulties with rent, the Seminary moves to the town of Boyarka, 30 km out of Kiev. The name of the School is changed to Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary.
1999 In September 1999 development of a fourth year of education with the purpose of offering a Bachelor of Theology and Christian ministry degree begins. In the same year UETS passes accreditation by the European Evangelical Accrediting Association on the level of Diploma in Theology and Christian Education.
2000 Purchase of 2.1 hectares (5.5 acres) of land in Kiev to situate UETS Campus permanently. The existing buildings on the site are in quite bad shape and in need of much repair/renovation. All Seminary offices and classrooms are moved to the first floors of two dormitory buildings, taking up space in the student room area. Kitchen/dining buildings are repaired to the minimum satisfactory condition. The school year starts October 1, since more time is needed to finish all necessary repairs.
2001 Graduation of 9 students - first to receive the Bachelor Degree in Theology. The renovation of the Faculty Housing building is completed and the offices of Communication and Administrative Departments are moved to the first floor of the building to free space in the dormitories. The construction of the UETS Academic and Administrative Centre is started. The first phase of the project consists of renovating existing a building in the centre of the site, which is to host a Chapel for 400 people, Library & Research Centre, offices of Communication and Administrative Departments. Temporarily all classrooms and academic offices are moved to the renovated building in order to free the dormitory space for 30 additional students during the academic year 2002/2003. From 2001 our bachelor programme in theology (residency type) is accredited by the European Evangelical Association (EEAA) on levels "A" and "B".
2002 For the first time during graduation we have a prayer of dedication for some of the graduates who are already involved in pastoral/leadership ministry to give them the right to perform the church sacraments, as well as conduct funerals, baby dedications etc. Permission is approved by the Board of Trustees and with the blessing of the Pastors Board. The first regional school is founded by UETS together with the church "Philadelphia" in Berdychiv (Zhytomyr oblast of northern Ukraine).
2003 This year becomes a special year in developing the non-resident programme of "Christian leadership". For the first time at UETS we have two streams of non-resident students, 104 active pastors and leaders both from mega-churches and village churches. The Academic centre building is taking its final shape. Two floors are functioning – Library floor and Chapel floor. One of significant events is the opening and dedication of the new library, which is now situated on the ground floor of the Academic building.
2004 The building project of the Academic building is completed. Most of the offices are moved to the 3rd floor of the Academic building to free space in Dormitory and Faculty Housing. A new step in developing the non-resident programme is taken. This year we have 3 streams of non-resident students. A fourth year of education for non-resident students is started with the purpose of offering a Bachelor of Theology and Christian Ministry degree.
2005 The Church Planting Supportive Ministries is created through development of missionary, literary, social and youth funds. The Church Planting Supportive Ministries project is developed in order to invite different churches, ministries and business organizations to become part of the CPSM Network.
The forming of four programmes is finished:
• B.Th. in "Theology and Pastoral Ministry" (Resident)
• B.Th. in "Theology and Christian Ministry" (Non-resident)
• "Christian Counselling and Pastoral Care" (Non-resident, certificate)
• "Music and Creative Art" (Resident, diploma)
2006 There were a large number of graduates this year. For the first time 7 students of the non-resident programme earn a Bachelor degree.
2007 This year is a great challenge for UETS, since we had to transform our residential programme and non-residential under the new requirements of EEAA (Bologna process), and we also move from a four-year resident programme to a three-year programme.
2008 The first session of our Master's programme in Leadership begins in November.
2009 EEAA committee during their visit to UETS confirm accreditation of our BTh resident programme on the level "B".
2010 New steps in the development of academic programmes. UETS launches 2 new programmes: "Spiritual Formation" (Resident) and "Foundations of Christian Counselling" (Non-resident). 10 years of partnership with College Park Church (Indianapolis, USA).
2011 The "Music Ministry and Theology" program is extended from 1 year to 2.5 years of study.
2012 UETS celebrates twenty years of ministry. 111 students graduate from the Seminary. It is the highest number of graduates the Seminary has ever had. In September some changes occur in the leadership of the Seminary. Ivan Rusin is appointed as the new UETS rector. The former rector, Anatoliy Glukhovskiy becomes Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
2013 The following new programmes are launched: Theology in Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements (Master's degree), Psychological Counselling, andPsycho-Correctional Ministry for Children and Teenagers (Certificate).
2014 The accreditation of the Bachelor of Theology Resident Programme is extended to 2019. The EEAA grants UETS the status of candidate for the accreditation of the MTh programme in Transformative Leadership.