Editor's note: News editor Andrew McChesney is currently traveling in Eastern Europe with Trans-European Division communication director Victor Hulbert and reporting on Adventist work in the region. For a list of others stories, follow the links at the end of this story.
One million copies of The Great Controversy have been published in Poland over the past 70 years, Polish church leaders said Tuesday.
The remarkable figure — which emerged during a regular meeting of church leaders in Poland’s capital, Warsaw — serves as a reminder of the power of God, leaders said.
Fifteen full editions of The Great Controversy have been published in Poland since 1946, the year after World War II ended, and many abbreviated editions have also been released, said Marek Rakowski, executive secretary of the Adventist Church in Poland.
“This is very, very important,” Rakowski said.
The Adventist Church has only 5,820 members in Poland, whose population of 38.5 million is predominantly Roman Catholic.
Millions of copies of The Great Controversy have been printed since Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White first penned the book in 1858. From 2011 to 2013 alone, more than 142 million copies were distributed worldwide as part of an Adventist world church initiative called the Great Controversy Project.
Among the recipients have been prominent Polish figures such as Jolanta Kwaśniewska, wife of Aleksander Kwaśniewski, who served as Poland’s president from 1995 to 2005. A Polish newspaper once published a photo of her carrying rhe book, Rakowski said.
These days, the Adventist Church faces no restrictions on The Great Controversy in Poland, but it has come under attack on some websites, Rakowski said.
“They are saying that things written in the book are not true and that Ellen White was a plagiarist,” he said.
But church leaders said they were determined to keep sharing the book.
At least two of the Polish church’s leaders were baptized after reading the book: president Jaroslaw Dziegielewski and youth leader Marek Micyk. Dziegielewski showed a journalist a yellowed copy of his first Great Controversy, which he acquired in 1981. He was baptized the following year.
The book is very special, Dziegielewski said.
Stories from East European Trip: