Georgi Vins (Wiens) (1928–1998)
1979, 1984–1986, 1989, 1998.
3 cm of textual records.
Georgi Vins was born to Peter (-1936) and Lydia (Zharikova) Vins. Peter Vins was the son of Mennonite Brethren leader Jacob J. Wiens born in Borden, Saskatchewan. Peter Vins had attended seminary in the United States and soon upon graduation became involved in a church with Russian immigrants. He felt called to preach God’s Word in Russia. So in 1926, he left his home bound for Siberia. In 1927, he married Georgi’s mother to-be, Lydia. Georgi Vins was born August 4, 1928. In Siberia the Russian authorities revoked his US citizenship and arrested him. He was arrested again in 1935, and was executed in 1936.
Lydia Vins took her son Georgi to Kiev, Ukraine where he finished his schooling and graduated as an electrical engineer. On January 27, 1952, Georgi married Nadia and five children were born in this marriage. Georgi was required by law to have a secular job. In 1962, he was ordained as a Baptist evangelist. The laws regarding religious services and activities were strict in Russia. Vins saw them as hindering the church and so quietly he defied them. The KGB soon saw this and Vins became a concern to them. In 1966, he was arrested in Moscow. He spent three years in prison camps in the Ural Mountains. Once released he continued his ministry underground. In 1974 the authorities caught up with him and arrested him. He was sentenced to ten years. On April 27, 1979 he was stripped of his Soviet citizenship and through pressure from the Carter administration in the United States, he was exiled to the United States. Later his family was allowed to join him.
Once in the US he began to speak out against the persecution the Soviets were inflicting upon the church. Vins founded a Christian ministry called International Representation to represent, defend and aid the persecuted church in the Soviet Union. He spoke and preached across North America, South America, Europe, and Australia until the last prisoner was released in 1988. He then renamed his ministry to Russian Gospel Ministries (RGM) and focused on aiding local churches in their efforts to evangelize their neighbors. The organization began to translate and print books, and Bibles for people in Russia.
In 1990 Vins’ exile was lifted by Mikhail Gorbachev. In the following years he made numerous trips to Russia where he preached at churches, prisons and schools. In the fall of 1997 a brain tumor was discovered and treatment begun. He died on January 11, 1998.
Scope and content
The material in this collection consists of some of the publications by the organization that Vins founded. Other material was collected after his death and put togther into this collection.
The history of the material in this collection is unclear. It appears that the material has been collected from various sources and put togther into this collection.
- Volume 1092.
- Title based on contents of the fonds.
- Described by Conrad Stoesz, September 24, 1999.
- Accession nos. Unknown.
- Related material: See Georgi Vins Testament From Prison, translated by Jane Ellis (Weston, Ontario: David C. Cook Publishing Co.), 1975.
- Article to be published in the Mennonite Historian, March 1998 entitled AGeorgi Vins, Jacob J. Wiens and Saskatchewan Brethren Connections, by Abe Dueck. – 1989.
- Email letter by Walter Sawatzky, forwarded by Alf Redekopp to Abe Dueck January 14, 1989, regarding the death of Georgi Vins. – 1989
- Wardin, Albert W., “Jacob J. Wiens: Mission Champion in Freedom and Repression”, in, Journal of Church and State, Autumn, 1986. – photocopied [1989?].
- Vins, G.P., Testimony, G.P. Vins to the Commission on Security and Co-operation in Europe, June 7, 1979, Köln, Germany: Missionswerk Friedensstimme. – 1979.
- International Representation for the Council of Evangelical Baptist Churches of the Soviet Union, Inc., May 1984. – 1984.
- International Representation for the Council of Evangelical Baptist Churches of the Soviet Union, Inc., November 1984. – 1984.
- Gefangenliste, Der Evangeliumschristen-Baptisten in der UdSSR, 1985, = prison directory of Christians in the USSR. – 1985.
- And ye Visited Me: A Prison Directory of the Evangelical Christian Baptists in the Soviet Union, Elkhart, Indiana: International Representation for the Council of Evangelical Baptist Churches of the Soviet Union, Inc., 1984. – 1984.
- The Russian Gospel Messenger: Georgi Vins: Promoted to Glory, August 4, 1928 – January 11, 1998. Elkhart, Indiana: Russian Gospel Ministries international, 1998. – 1998.