Just three decades ago, the United States and the Soviet Union were on the verge of nuclear confrontation over the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Billy Graham, in Argentina at the time, preached on the topic “The End of the World.”
Today, the unimaginable has happened. Russians and Americans have become friends. And Graham has just been to the center of what was the communist empire with a message of hope and love. On this crusade, he preached about the cross of Christ, and not the end times, because, according to one observer, “The world is just beginning for the Russian people. Here you don’t have to scare people into heaven.”
For the veteran evangelist, it was truly a “Miracle in Moscow” as he conducted a historic crusade (which ended on Sunday, October 25) in Moscow’s huge, indoor Olympic Stadium during his two-week visit to the Russian capital.
Crowds averaging over 45,000 packed into the stadium, breaking the previous attendance record of 38,000 for the 1988 Goodwill Games. Thousands more were locked out of each meeting.
At the final meeting on Sunday, according to stadium officials, 50,000 people jammed the stadium, standing shoulder to shoulder around the arena floor and then up the aisles to the ceiling. The police estimated an additional 20,000 were unable to gain admittance and watched on a large screen outside, making this the largest crowd to hear the gospel at one time in the former Soviet Union. This confirmed an observation of one Moscow academic, who said, “People are tired of history and want to personally experience the presence of God in their lives.”
A Spiritual Hunger
Reflecting on his visit, Graham said, “I’ve never seen such a hunger in people for spiritual things. Over here there’s been a spiritual starvation ...1
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