Mordvin-Moksha in Russia

The Mordvin-Moksha have only been reported in Russia
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Mordvin-Moksha are one of the larger indigenous peoples of Russia. Their homeland is west of the Volga River roughly 800 kilometers southwest of Moscow. The Mongols controlled the land of the Mordvins from the 13th to 16th centuries. The Russian Empire then took over the area. The Russians began a process of "Russification" of the Mordvins. The Mordvins were pressured to accept Eastern Orthodox Christianity, speak Russian and accept Russian names. During the time of the Soviet Union the pressure became even stronger to eliminate the native Mordvin culture and language. Many Mordvins were sent by the Soviet government to other parts of the Soviet Union including Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the Mordvin language and culture has seen a revival. Some Mordvin intellectuals wanted a separate Mordvin nation. Such talk is now illegal in Russia. The Mordvins are permitted to have their festivals, clothing, music, arts, and language.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In urban areas of Russia one would have a difficult time separating the Mordvins from the Russian population. Many Mordvins have been completely absorbed into the dominant Russian society. The Mordvins work the same jobs, go to the same schools and speak the same language as the Russians. The Mordvins make up about one third of the citizens of the Mordvinia Republic in Russia. In rural areas the Mordvins feel freer to express their culture. Agriculture is a major source of income. The Mordvins grow barley, wheat, vegetables, and potatoes. These crops can survive in the very cold winters and flourish short warm summers. Fishing and raising cattle are also common among the rural Mordvins.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Mordvin religion is an interesting mixture of Russian Eastern Orthodoxy and folk religion. Many Mordvin attend church services on Sunday and have their babies baptized. However, they also believe that spirits inhabit the sky, earth, rivers, lakes, and underworld. These spirits must be appeased or they can bring trouble and plagues upon the people. Village shamans connect the Mordvin to the spiritual world. They provide charms, rituals and offerings to the spirits and gods of nature. A New Testament in the Erzya Mordvin language became available in 2006. Only a tiny fraction of the Mordvin can be classified as evangelical Christians.

What Are Their Needs?

The Mordvins must come to understand that one cannot mix Christianity with folk religion. The biblical Trinity is the only true God. The Mordvin need to be taught the basic principles of the Christian religion found in the Bible. The natural spirits have no power or reality.

Prayer Points

Pray the Mordvins would begin to read and apply the Word of God. Pray that God delivers them from their fear of evil spirits and gives them a spiritual hunger. Pray the whole Bible becomes available in the Mordvin language. Pray the Lord sends teachers to help the Mordvins learn the Bible in their heart language.

Scripture Prayers for the Mordvin-Moksha in Russia.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Mordvin-Moksha
People Name in Country Mordvin-Moksha
Alternate Names
Population this Country 483,000
Population all Countries 483,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 3
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 13810
ROP3 Code 106793
ROP25 Code 305610
ROP25 Name Mordvin
Country Russia
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Mordoviya Republic, Nizhegorodskaya Oblast’, and Penzenskaya Oblast’.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Russia
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Mordoviya Republic, Nizhegorodskaya Oblast’, and Penzenskaya Oblast’..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016

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Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Christianity
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.60 %)
65.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
35.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Moksha (483,000 speakers)
Language Code mdf   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Moksha (483,000 speakers)
Language Code mdf   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Moksha

Primary Language:  Moksha

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1879-2009)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2016)
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Moksha Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Photo Source Anonymous 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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