Thursday, August 30, 2012

Roots of the Russian Pentecostal Movement in Berkeley

Earlier this month Vladimir Franchuk, a Ukranian Christian historian,  the author of this book on the Russian Pentecostal movement and John (Ivan) E. Voronaev (or Varonaeff), visited the library to review some of the early 20th century Baptist publications in our collection. Last year marked the 90th anniversary of the Pentecostal movement in Russia. He donated a copy of the book and signed it as follows:
"This is just a very simple book about the great man of God, the first Pentecostal missionary in Russia,  who emigrated from Russia to the USA, who lived in San Francisco, who studied in the Baptist Seminary in Berkeley, who was a pastor in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, who went to Soviet Russia in 1920, who started the Pentecostal movement in the former USSR, and became the martyr in Siberia in 1932."
Varonaeff, a graduate of Berkeley Divinity School (now American Baptist Seminary of the West) in 1913, later  became a Pentecostal minister in New York.  He returned to Russia and founded the Pentecostal movement there. He was arrested in 1930 for his ministry and died in a Siberian prison camp in 1932.

Franchuk, along with his wife and entourage, continued on their pilgrimage to the Potrero Hill area in San Francisco, Voronaev's home, and most likely the Russian Baptist Church location,  is listed as 1109 Wisconsin, according to the San Francisco Baptist Association Annual Publication for 1913.

This was our first contact with Franchuk, pictured below with his wife. Previously,  Dony K. Donev has also been in contact with us and  in pursuit of the story behind Voronaev. Helped by Franchuk's research, last year he published, The Life and Ministry of Rev. Ivan Voronaev (English).