Ukrainian Evangelical Christians celebrate 90th anniversary of the Pentecostal movement in the former Soviet Union
A reproduction of the Old Testament Tabernacle (the tent-sanctuary where the Ark of the Covenant containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed was preserved) will be exhibited in an open-air museum in Odesa. The Old Testament Tabernacle will be reproduced in Ukraine for the first time as part of the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Pentecostal movement in the former Soviet Union during the Awakening 90 International Jubilee Conference that will held from September 7 to 11 in Odesa.
In 2011 different celebrations are being held all around the world, by the Slavic diaspora and Evangelical Churches. But most of the events will take place in Odesa, which is the cradle of the “Voronaev Spiritual Awakening” on the post-Soviet territory, for the first Pentecostal Church was opened in Odesa in 1921 by preacher and missionary Ivan Voronaev.
As part of the jubilee conference a unique museum will be opened, which will exhibit church documents, photographs, copies of interrogation reports and other KGB documents. “This is a unique exhibition in Ukraine, which shows the spiritual strength and faith in God,” said the conference organizers.
Professor Volodymyr Franchuk, a Christian historian, author of books (one of the most famous is „Russia Asked the Lord for Rain,”) and secretary general of the Awakening International Christian Center developed a special guided tour of Odesa called “Following Voronaev” to help participants witness the great awakening that spread throughout Russia in the 1920s.
The celebration also includes the opening of a monument dedicated to heroes of faith.
The conference and celebration are organized by the Awakening International Christian Center (Bishop Peter Serdichenko) with the support of the Odesa Evangelical Churches and will bring to Odesa Evangelical clergy from Ukraine, Russia, USA and other countries.
About Ivan Voronaev
Ivan Voronaev was a preacher, missionary, and founder of the Pentecostal movement in the former Soviet Union. He was born circa 1885 in Orenburg, migrated to the USA, and then in 1920 settled with his family in Odesa. On November 12, 1921, he opened the first Pentecostal church. A few years later the Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith was created. By 1926 Pentecostal congregations appeared in almost all regions of Ukraine as well as in the central regions of Russia, the Urals, the Caucasus and Siberia.
In 1930 Ivan Voronaev and his associates were arrested and exiled to Siberia. There is no reliable information about the last years of his life or about his death. According to one account, he died after being bitten by dogs on the way to a concentration camp.
By that time in Ukraine there were more than 350 Pentecostal churches and about 17,000 faithful.