The Christian Broadcasting Network

Russian Pastor on Mission to Promote 'The Passion of the Christ' in Russia

By Peter Wooding
Assist News Service ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (ANS) -- As The Passion of the Christ film continues to have a worldwide impact, a Russian pastor is on a mission to mobilize churches in his country to bring about a second revolution this time a spiritual one.

After attending the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington in February, Sergei Timokin, pastor of the Christian City Church in St Petersburg, Russia went to see The Passion of the Christ film on the second day of its release in America. In a radio interview, he said: "It changed my life and I found it so moving I decided to do something about it. As soon as I returned to Russia I contacted ICON productions and Newmarket Films and I told them I wanted to raise awareness of the film. It seemed to me no one was really promoting it here.

“ICON sent me some promo material and I tried to put it together to inform people, and I took that to a number of cinemas asking if we could play it before and after the film to show people what it was all about, and help people that had any questions about it.

"It was all very last minute and spontaneous and I prayed that the Lord would open some doors, and he did by the way. There are not a lot of copies of the film in Russia, so it can't be shown in thousands of theatres at once or even hundreds of them. So its being shown in St Petersburg and Moscow. Then it’s going to another 40 cities.

Pastor Sergei is urging people around the world to pray that churches in Russia will be alert to this significant outreach opportunity. "My big concern was that as I approached churches and pastors they just weren't aware of the film. They were the way I was before I saw the film, thinking it was just another Second Temptation of Christ. But when I saw the movie myself, it just changed me. I felt the heart of Jesus Christ more than just knowing His teachings and laws and I heard a lot of stories of big pastors in America who's ministries had been impacted.

Pastor Sergei, was raised during the communistic regime in a family of high-ranking military red army officer. But the turning point in his life came in 1979 when he became a Christian after watching Jesus Christ Superstar. He was given a Bible that had been smuggled into the country by missionaries, and he decided to serve the Lord in the same way.

"I was a rock musician and with my friend Valeri Barinov we decided to record our Russian version of Jesus Christ Superstar, and made the rock opera The Trumpet Call. We became the number one underground Christian rock band here in 1982, but because of my ministry I spent two years in prison, and was released when Mikhail Gorbachev came into power.

"For the past 15 years I've been pastoring the Christian City Church of St Petersburg, preaching and running bible schools in many countries around the world, sharing my testimony of how God helped me through my time in prison.

"I'm also involved in a lot of community outreach, as well as a national prayer breakfast bringing together a number of the country's significant leaders including in the government, just trying to reach them for the Lord.

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