Vital Paschkov Archives Now Available in Prague

Vital Paschkov Archives Now Available in Prague

Klaus Rösler - November 18, 2008

P r a g u e – Prague’s International Baptist Theological Seminary (IBTS) has obtained possession of an historical treasure: a mircofiche of the vital Pashkov archives. Students of this institution, which is run by the European Baptist Federation (EBF), can now form their own impression of this Baptist’s early life in Russia. The original archives of the military officer, millionaire and missionary Vasily Pashkov (1832-1902) have been held at the University of Birmingham in Great Britain. IBTS’s electronic copy is the only one located on the European mainland.

Pashkov was a co-founder of the evangelical movement in Russia. He was converted in 1874 at revival meetings held in St. Petersburg by the British evangelist Lord Granville Redstock (1833-1913). A spiritual revival headed by Redstock in the years 1874-76 led ultimately to the founding of a Union of Evangelical Christians. It later merged with the Baptist Union to form a Union known during the Soviet period as the “All-Union Council of Evangelical Christians-Baptists”. Pashkov founded a tract society and organised a number of social projects, including a lunch cafeteria for students and a tea house for carriage drivers.

Recently, IBTS Research Professor John H. Y. Briggs, a former Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, presented the electronic copy to the Baptist seminary. IBTS Chaplain Gregory L. Nichols has seen to it that the archives were made accessible to the IBTS community. Nichols is presently doing research on Ivan Kargel, an early Russian Baptist leader, and had gathered donations to fund the acquisition of the archives. It consists of personal letters and newspaper articles collected during Pashkov’s life. They pertain to the start of the evangelical movement in Russia, the activity of the Evangelical Alliance and persecution of the free churches.

IBTS Rector Dr. Keith Jones called the archives an “immensely important resource” for historical research of the Russian and Russian-speaking Baptist movement. “We know many scholars who will wish to take advantage of the archives being available here in Prague."