MISSIONS MONDAY: Life and Ministry of Rev. Ivan Voronaev

Presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies
The name Ivan Efimovich Voronaev is of a central importance for the development of Pentecostalism in Communist Russia and its Eastern European satellites. Voronaev was saved in his early life in Russia and then became a powerful Baptist minister, but after being persecuted for preaching the Gospel, in 1912 he immigrated with his family through Japan to the United States. Voronaev’s ministry touched both Baptist and Pentecostal churches from California and Washington to New York and Connecticut, before he undertook the difficult journey across the Atlantic, through Constantinople and Bulgaria to reach his native land. Voronaev established Pentecostal churches along the way laying the foundation of Pentecostalism in Eastern Europe. Although his story has been told many times, very little has been documented about his early ministry before he converted to Pentecostalism and launched what would become an international Pentecostal campaign reaching people from Seattle to Siberia (going eastbound). This present study reviews Voronaev’s ministry based on documents from the early period of his life, examining his connections with Baptist and Assemblies of God denominations in the United States. It then presents information about his mission trip to Eastern Europe, with a special focus on his stay in Bulgaria and the foundation of his work in Russia. But long before finding his place in the ministry, the story of Ivan Voronaev begins with his personal quest for identity in ministry, beginning with a search for a name…

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