Prokhanov, Ivan Stepanovitch (1869-1935)

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Ivan Stepanovitch Prokhanov (1869-1935), founder of the organized church of the Evangelical Christians in Russia, was born in a well-to-do Molokan family in Vladikavkas, North Caucasus, Russia, which later joined the Baptists. He was converted in 1887 and joined the Baptist Church. He graduated in 1893 from the Technological Institute in St. Petersburg as an engineer. Here he joined the leaderless small group of the Evangelical Christians founded in 1876, which Pashkov and Korff had led until their exile in 1884. Driven by a strong sense of call to preach the Gospel to the masses, he soon gave up his career as an engineer. For three years, 1895-98, he studied theology in England (Baptist at Bristol, Congregational at New College in London), in Berlin, Germany, and in Paris. Returning to Russia, he finally settled in St. Petersburg where he found employment in the St. Petersburg branch of the American Westinghouse Brake Company, He now entered upon a remarkable career as preacher, writer, and leader. He reorganized the Evangelical Christians in 1908, of which he served as president until 1928, when he left Russia never to return. He sought, without full success, to unite the Baptists and the Evangelical Christians (the union finally occurred in 1944). In 1913 he began a Bible training program for Christian workers, which he continued until 1928 with the help of Johann Kargel and others.

Prokhanov had close connections for a time with the Mennonites of Russia, particularly in connection with the growth of nonresistant convictions in Russia. In 1919 the new Soviet government granted by decree the privilege of alternate service to Mennonites, Baptists, Evangelical Christians, Molokans, Dukhobors, Tolstoyans, and others. Later Prokhanov issued a declaration under severe pressure which stated that the Evangelical Christians should do military service. The Baptists finally did the same in 1923. Prokhanov was for a time president of the Raduga Publishing House at Halbstadt, co-operating in this project with the Mennonites. Prokhanov took part in the Baptist World Congress at Stockholm in 1923 when he was chosen a vice-president and in 1928 at Toronto. Because of dangers in Russia he did not return, but served the émigré Russian evangelical groups in Europe and America. He died in Berlin, Germany, 6 October 1935, and was buried there.


Gutsche, W. Westliche Quellen des Russisctien Stundismus. Kassel, 1956.

Prokhanov, I. S. In the cauldron of Russia, 1869-1933; autobiography of I.S. Prokhanoff. The life of an optimist in the land of pessimism, together with an interesting history of the Russian evangelical Christian union. New York, All-Russian evangelical Christian union, 1933.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Prokhanov, Ivan Stepanovitch (1869-1935)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 24 Jun 2021.,_Ivan_Stepanovitch_(1869-1935)&oldid=84208.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1959). Prokhanov, Ivan Stepanovitch (1869-1935). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 June 2021, from,_Ivan_Stepanovitch_(1869-1935)&oldid=84208.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1116. All rights reserved.

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