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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a Christian sect that bases its teaching on the evangelical myth that “the holy spirit descended upon the apostles” on the 50th day after Passover, the day of Pentecost (hence the name of the sect).

According to Pentecostal dogma, man is sinful, and he gains his salvation through an experience of the “holy spirit.” The prerequisites for this are personal faith, commitment to god, and complete renunciation of worldly interests. At Pentecostal group prayer meetings, people drive themselves into a state of ecstasy, claiming that at that moment the holy spirit descends upon those who are pleasing to god and they receive the gift of “speaking in foreign tongues,” which affords them fellowship directly with god.

The first Pentecostal congregations arose in the USA. The exact date of their appearance is unknown. Various researchers place it in the late 19th century, the first decade of the 20th, or the early 19th. Pentecostalism subsequently spread to many European countries, including the Scandinavian countries, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, as well as to Latin America and Africa. Pentecostals appeared in the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I, initially in Finland. They became active in the USSR during the NEP years. Their number in the USSR is insignificant. Pentecostal propaganda is of an antisocial nature.

The center of Pentecostalism is the USA. Most influential are the organizations of Pentecostals called the Union of Assemblies of God and the Assemblies of God.


Moskalenko, A. T. Piatidesiatniki, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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