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Tsebrykovo: the exciting history of the Mennonite settlement in the Odessa region

Roman Tsebrykov

The village of Tsebrykove, Odessa region, is named after the landowner Roman Tsebrykov, who was born in 1763 in Kharkov province. His father was a small landowner, and Roman himself spoke several languages ​​and worked as a translator in the Russian Empire. After the end of the Russian-Turkish wars, the Black Sea region passed into the possession of the Russian Empire. The territory of the region was vast, but almost uninhabited. Roman Tsebrykov received 4,300 acres of land from the authorities in the territory of modern Tsebrykove.

Mennonite colonists

Later, these same lands were bought from Roman by the government for its development. Initially, it was planned to populate them with Bulgarians who were fleeing the Turkish yoke. At the same time, part of the German population of the kingdom of Württemberg was persecuted for professing the Christian faith. The then Russian leadership needed a skilled workforce - artisans. On barges, the Mennonites rafted down the Danube River from the city of Ulm to the city of Izmail, where they were provided with horse-drawn transport to the territory of modern Tsebrykove. Thus, 60 Mennonite families ended up in Tsebrykove, each family received 40 acres of land and a certain amount of money.

Immediately, the Mennonites began to develop agriculture and build stone buildings. People still live in many houses built over 150 years ago, and even the original floor has been preserved.

It is noteworthy that one of the first buildings built by the Mennonites in the new location was a church, and then a school. In addition to construction works, the Mennonites were engaged in sheep breeding, horse breeding, and viticulture.

In 1870 the population was almost 1,900 and there was not enough land. In 1917, the settlement was renamed Hoffnugsthal (from German - Hope Valley). The settlement still retains the street layout of a German city. They were wide and intersected perpendicularly.


During the Second World War, when Hitler's Germany occupied Ukraine, the Germans, the descendants of the colonists, remained in Tsebrykove. They had to work for free for the German war machine. When the German army retreated from Ukraine, Hitler gave the order for the complete evacuation of the Germans from Ukraine. Through Poland, the Mennonites from Tsebrykove set off to Europe.

Here, the Mennonites were deceived by the Soviet authorities who’d entered Germany: they were promised safe living and working conditions if they returned to their homes. In truth, they were sent into exile in distant regions of Russia, where they lived in terrible conditions and were slaves of the Soviet regime.

The seed that sprouted

Igor, coordinator of Mennonite churches in the Donetsk region and leader of the AMBCU ministry center near Uman, visited the Christian community in the village of Tsebrykove. Igor says that here you can still find tiles, which were produced by the mennonites. They depict a shovel and a cross - symbols of the gospel approach to work.

Back in 2001, it was Igor who sowed the seeds of the Gospel in the local residents, which eventually sprouted - in 2014, a church was born in Tsebrykove!

Poplavka is a small village near Tsebrykove. Two years ago, Laura converted to Christ through evangelism ministry in Poplavka. After leaving for work in Odessa, she became attending an Evangelical Church.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Laura returned to her native village. Prior to that, she prayed that God would send a missionary to tell her fellow villagers about Christ. The Lord miraculously made it so that now Laura herself is a missionary and preaches to children.

During a visit to Laura, Igor and his team learned that 30 children regularly gather at Laura's house, read the Bible and praise God with songs.

At the moment, Igor and his team are planning to hold a children's camp for the children of Tsebrykove and Floats. Their prayers are for the Lord to be glorified even more through these two villages.

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