Sergey Semyonovich Efimov was a pastor and evangelist in Russia and Ukraine.
Ministry and Imprisonment
Sergey Semyonovich Efimov accepted the Adventist message in St. Petersburg in 1905 through a missionary, Pastor F. F. Geneschke, and actively joined in the denominational work.1 In 1911 he began serving as a pastor at the Pervaya church in St. Petersburg.2
In 1915, after the beginning of World War I, the Orthodox Church prompted the Russian authorities to declare Adventists as German spies. Efimov and other Adventist pastors were arrested. Efimov was cast into the dreadful Peter-and-Paul Fortress and then sentenced to exile in Siberia. The exile proved grueling for Efimov and ruined his health for life. During this time, he stayed in touch with his church members and, based on his correspondence while in exile, poet Evgeniya Sharypanova wrote the hymn “In the Sea of Life.” It was later included in the hymnal Psalms of Zion.3
In 1917, during the February Revolution, Efimov was released and permitted to return from exile to Petrograd where he resumed his pastoral service.4 In 1918, Efimov and Janis J. Vilsons of Latvia were personally received by Lenin.5 As remembered by contemporaries, the partners in conversation discussed the educational aspects of Adventism. Lenin favored the requests of pastors and at the end of the meeting said, “May your God be with you.”6 After his ministry in Petrograd, Efimov moved to Rostov-on-Don and then to Khar’kov where he served from 1920 to 1922. During his ministry in the Khar’kov Adventist church, he revitalized church life there after the Civil War.
After his service in Khar’kov, Efimov moved to the city of Zmiiv, where he played a key role in organizing a church in Artyukhovka, Kursk Oblast, Russia. That little church would continue to exist throughout the entire Soviet era.
In 1924 Efimov moved to Belarus to serve as a pastor in the city of Vitebsk. There he began to suffer from severe headaches caused by old injuries that he had sustained during his exile in Siberia. As a result, he was not able to continue active pastoral service and had to retire. After moving to Leningrad, around 1927, his illness made rapid progress.7 He would sit in his armchair for hours without moving a muscle, since the smallest movement caused him severe pain. Efimov passed away in 1930.
Sergey Semyonovich Efimov played an essential role in the organization and development of the Seventh-day Adventist churches in St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, and Khar’kov. His life was notable for scrupulous integrity.
Garin, P. S. Vospominaniya i dumy bylogo. Moscow, 1971. Personal Archives.
Heinz, D., A. A. Oparin, D. O. Yunak, and A. Pešelis. Dushi pod zhertvennikom. Kniga Pamyati Tserkvi Adventistov Sed’mogo Dnia, posviashchennaya zhertvam religioznykh repressiy vo vremya Tsarskoi Rossii i Sovetskogo Soyuza (1886-1986). Khar’kov: Fakt, 2010.
_____. Fotokhronika Tserkvi Adventistov Sed’mogo Dnia v Tsarskoy Rossii, SSSR i SNG. Khar’kov: Fakt, 2002.
Oparin, A. A. Psalmy, napisannye krov’yu. Khar’kov: Fakt, 2007.
_____. Yubileynyy god. Ocherki istorii adventizma v Kharkove. Khar’kov: Fakt, 2006.
Oparin, A. A., and V. I. Begas. Belyy kamen.’ Ocherki istorii adventizma na Ekateronoslavshchine. Khar’kov: Fakt, 2009.
Teppone, V. V. Iz istorii Tserkvi. Kaliningrad: Yantarnyy Skaz, 1992.
Yunak, D. O. Istoriya Tserkvi Adventistov Sed’mogo Dnia v Rossii (1886-2000) (v dvukh tomakh). Zaokskiy: Istochnik Zhizni, 2002.
There is no extant information available on the early life of Efimov.↩
V. V. Teppone, Iz istorii Tserkvi (Kaliningrad: Yantarnyy Skaz, 1992).↩
The year of publication is unknown. See Daniel Heinz, A. A. Oparin, Dmitry Yunak, and Andris Pešelis, Fotokhronika Tserkvi Adventistov Sed’mogo Dnia v Tsarskoy Rossii, SSSR i SNG (Khar’kov: Fakt, 2002).↩
Teppone, Iz istorii Tserkvi (Kaliningrad: Yantarnyy Skaz, 1992).↩
It is not known on what occasion.↩
P. S. Garin, Vospominaniya i dumy bylogo (Moscow, 1971) in personal archives of Alexsey Oparin.↩