Vasily Fedorovich Filimonov was born on 24 June 1944 in Peremyshl that is the territory of Slavutskiy in the region Hmelnickiy, the Ukraine.
He was the first-born in the family of 14 children. The parents were Mary and Fjodor Filimonovs. His father was a pastor in a Pentecostal Church. Vasily was born during wartime and famine. He started school in 1951 and he entered Lvov military school independently in 1961.
Vasily intended to become a secret agent, however that was not God’s plan for him.
After half a year he had a dream at night. It was as though the Day of Judgement had begun. All the soldiers and sinners were burning in hell but Christians were taken into the Heaven. He saw his father among the saints. Vasily exclaimed: “Father, do take me with you! I don’t want to burn in hell.” However Dad’s reply was definite: “You have chosen your way yourself, I can’t save you.”
The young man woke up frightened and he realised that he had to change the direction of his life immediately. That morning he wrote an application to be discharged from the educational institution. He left for his father’s home. Vasily truly repented and in one of his prayers he asked God for the spiritual gifts. (1 Cor.12:1-11)
And God gave Vasily, who was just a teenager, the gifts of the Spirit to serve God.
He received the gift of faith, healing and performing miracles, interpreting tongues, prophesying, interpreting dreams, the gift of knowledge and wisdom (1
Cor. 12:8). He had the gift of distinguishing spirits as well. (Soon available: videos with the manifestation of all spiritual gifts God has given to Vasily.)
There was a blind woman in the village where Vasily lived who knew the Bible by heart. She was like a Bible Concordance and she helped Vasily to acquire the God’s Word.
The elderly lady did this selflessly and therefore Vasily grew spiritually and mastered the Bible perfectly.
In 1962 during fervent prayers, God’s angel appeared in the presence of everybody. He took his stand in front of everybody and said: „I have been sent here
to serve you. Ask me any question!”
Vasily, who had truly accepted Jesus in his life, wanted to devote himself completely to the Lord and was ready to give a promise to God that he would never get married.
Once he shared that idea with his father. His father was a wise man and he suggested not to rash with such a promise. The son took the advice however the desire remained.
And, when the angel appeared Vasily’s first question was:”Will I get married?” The angel answered: ”Yes, you will. The name of your wife will be Larisa.”
Vasily was really happy that he had not given God a hasty promise. Then the angel flapped his wing and the face of a pretty girl appeared like on a screen.
They had a 40 year-long marriage and they gave birth to 7 children.
In 1964 Vasily was called up for military service in the Soviet Army.
During his service he played the trombone in a military band.
In March 1967 he got demobilized.
As a soldier in Smolensk, at the age of 22 he was anointed for pastor ministry. He used to serve at church temporarily, mainly during the absence of pastors. Once he replaced Janis Pinka who was put into
prison because of preaching the gospel. When he was released Vasily gave back the ministry to Janis Pinka.
Through the Holy Spirit, God revealed to Vasily and his wife that they had to leave immediately for Vitebsk, Belorussia.
On the following day after they had left Smolensk, the representatives from the secret service KGB came to arrest him for his faith in God and for helping Christians.
But guided by the Holy Spirit Vasily was already in another country. Vasily and his family have lived in Vitebsk from 1968-1971. Two sons were born there - Vladimir and Yuri.
In 1971 Oleg Shuman’s friend Pjotr Kosjanov invited Vasily to Ventspils where he applied for the position of a chief mechanic in the port. His family moved to Latvia. They have lived in Ventspils for 4 years. A birth was given to two children- Anzelika and Andris. Remarkably, Larisa and her newborn son Andris were taken home by the ship captain himself in his Volga!
Vasily together with his spouse built a two storey house with five bedrooms within half a year. However soon they decided to change their place of residence. Larisa was willing to go to any city in Latvia but Yelgava. In a prayer they both asked God for a clear guidance which city to choose. At night a loud human voice told Larisa: “Go to Yelgava!”
The family decided to sell their own built house. The consumer was a Christian man named Johann Reimer.
God had told him in a vision to go to 8 Buku Street and buy the house for 8 thousand roubles. However Vasily charged 8500 roubles. Johann hesitated about the deal. Though the address was the same God had revealed to him, the price was still different. Putting his trust in God, Johann agreed and started processing documents. In the end, Vasily decided to reduce the price to 8000 roubles. Johann clapped his hands and started jumping joyfully. He told Vasily about his revelation about the precise address and the price.
When the Filimonovs moved to Yelgava in 1975 one more miracle happened. They were given a two bedroom flat by the government. The head of
the Central Building Organization Modris Nuka invited Vasily as a new building specialist to work in his company. He held a position of a brigade leader for a certain time. Soon after, Vasily organized a building cooperative “The Facade”. His son Yuri owned a cooperative “The Polizer” where Larisa worked as an
accountant. The third cooperative was called “The Rainbow” and its representative was Rihards Blumanis.
Based on the three mentioned cooperative societies a new international building company called “The Light” was founded. Its statutes included a permission to organize various Christian events.
And a spiritual revival started - evangelization meetings, mission ministries, a lot of churches established, Bible Schools, Christian television and so on.
Vasily Filimonov was a unique God-guided man with a generous heart. Through the international company “The Light” God opened the door in Latvia for all early international missionaries. As it was permitted to organize evangelization meetings, Vasily Filimonov sent out invitations and submitted applications to authorities for getting visas for such outstanding missionaries as Reinhard
Bonnke, Rick Renner, Steve Bradcovich, Bruce Mcdonald, missionary Vein, and a lot of others.
As God blessed Vasily in his business abundantly, the company “The Light” sponsored all Christian evangelization events starting from 1988.
Vasily Filimonov rented the video equipment and hired a crew from the State Television. One filming cost 1500 Soviet roubles. Vasily was a prosperous builder in Latvia and God blessed his finances. He spent his money generously on hiring a stadium for evangelization meetings, receiving guest ministers, paying for sound equipment rent, transporting, and video translation. He did all these
things on his own expense; he did it for God’s field.
In 1984 Vasily’s family finished building the most hospitable house ever known at 5 Sarmas Street in Yelgava. A large number of Christians have visited the house. A lot of fervent prayers have been offered to God there. Vasily and his wife were extremely generous and hospitable.
The door of their home was not locked even at night. No one from the Filimonovs has ever had the key from the entrance door.
Watch! The house was already inhabited by a large family and three more wonderful daughters were born- Elvira, Elina, Vasilina. Guests came every day. What amazing strength and energy did Larisa have to receive guests and cook dinner for each of them!
The food was delicious and meals were excellent indeed! Everyone who visited the house was warmly welcomed and offered a delicious meal.
Once Vasily phoned his wife Larisa and said: “Would you cook dinner quickly! I and my guests are coming. We will be there in an hour or so.” Larisa asked: “How many people are coming?” The reply was: “20.” Are you joking? To cook dinner within an hour? During the period of food deficit when people can buy foodstuff for coupons only and when the shop shelves are empty? To feed 20 people?!
Yes, that is true - it was God’s miracle indeed that the table was always served full of excellently cooked meals! Only God knows how much effort was needed for the great man’s wife to cook and receive lots of guests from the whole world every day.
Vasily Filimonov was the first person in the former USSR who publicly ran the first evangelization meetings.
In 1991 he was the first who founded an international Bible College “Christ for the World” in Yelgava, in the Builders Trust Building in Raina Street.
The sponsors were people from the USA. Vasily was responsible for all the other practical issues- organizational, financial and administrative matters such as renting the halls of residence, providing accommodation for College students, arranging payment of scholarships, getting visas, inviting lecturers and so on. It was done by Vasily and the company “The Light”.
Later the College was moved to another locality- from Raina Street to Dobeles Soseja Street, afterwards to a small village near Yelgava-Ozolnieki where it is still functioning today.
Among the first who finished the Bible College were such known pastors as Andrey Chebotarev, Valentina Filimonova, Leonid Filimonov, Tatjana and Vladimir Macjo, brothers Kulakeviches, Viktor Filik and a lot of other blessed ministers. Vasily’s daughter Elvira Filimonova was also among the first students who finished the College.
The first Worship services of the church to be founded later took place in the building that belonged to Vasily Filimonov at 43 Pasta Street. Later - in the Builders Trust Building in Raina Street - the same building where was located the Bible College “Christ for the World”. By laying on of Hands, the pastor of the church became a missionary from the USA Steve Bradcovich and his wife Zury from Guatemala. Later the pastor of that church was Viktor Basarab.
Recently the church celebrated its 25 years anniversary.
Vasily was preaching the gospel of Christ even in the most distant towns in Latvia. New blessed churches were established in Bauska, Iecava, Kalnciems, and other places.
Caravans of RAF vans with music equipment, worshipers, video operators and ministers went to such former Soviet Union places as Murmansk, Moldavia, Ribnica, Pskov, Cherkasy. One can’t even list all of them.
Vasily Filimonov spared neither great effort nor a lot of finances for God’s work.
In 1991 he started a church in Riga, too. It was called “The Spring of Living Water”. It celebrated the 26th anniversary recently. There were also Bible Schools within churches.
Vasily Filimonov was a unique person. God had given him the ability to make impossible things possible.
Where the human mind declared: “Impossible!” Vasily broke through and carried it out.
It was hard to imagine that in the former Soviet Union where the persecutions of Christians were in living memory and where a number of Christians were still in prison because of their faith in Christ, it would be possible to worship Jesus publicly. Even more- it was unbelievable that the church services would ever be broadcast. Vasily had a true desire to preach the gospel of Christ on TV. When he shared the idea with his friends they only scoffed at him and said: ”Do you feel like to be in prison?” Some even declared: “You will never have your own TV channel!”
However the scoffing did not hold the God’s messenger back. Vasily did know- God shall help him and people will hear the God’s Word through the television!
Children’s Rehabilitation Centre
In 1993 in collaboration with the Norwegian Mission “New Life” a rehabilitation centre for children was established in Yelgava.
At the beginning the Executive Director was Nadezda Zaislaja. Later due to certain reasons Vasily Filimonov appointed his daughter Elvira to the position. The diplomas for him had no significant meaning. He searched for skills in people. They had to change positions if they did not comply with the requirements or were unable to cope with workload. This was also the case.
Even though the legally young executive director Elvira was under-age, she was capable not only to manage record keeping but she was also authorised to sign the documents and take on other responsibilities. There were cases when Vasily employed certificated cooks but over the time they demonstrated their skills in other fields thus being appointed to other positions. For instance, an IT specialist Svetlana Doncova took the position of a chef because she had wonderful skills in the field. Likewise, Tatjana Golosova with medical education started as a cook helper. The collective of Children’s Rehabilitation Centre developed friendly and collegial.
During the hard 90ies a number of people lost a job and fell into the poverty and alcohol addiction. Similarly, children were roaming the streets with all the
consequences - famine, coldness, drugs, alcohol, and diseases and so on.
The aim of the Centre was to help children to survive in hard times.
But not only children. Parents were also in need for God’s love. They needed a moral and financial assistance. A number of families could brace up exactly due to their children. Every Sunday the Centre staff members together with the children in care went to the Riga parish “The Spring of Living Water” by neat Mercedes bus having been presented by the sponsors.
After a couple of years when talking to the Centre children they affirmed that it had been the happiest time in their childhood!
Certainly, it made the staff happy because that meant- the effort and time spent in the work had not been in vain. Some of the Centre children met a future spouse there. They married and gave birth to talented children.
Vasily Filimonov founded an international mission “The Light”. He co-worked with several hospitals in Yelgava- a new hospital in Garoza Street, a mental hospital and its head doctor Georgs Sturms, a hospital in Kalpaka Street and its head doctor Chacha. He delivered medical equipment, medicine and hygiene goods from abroad to these hospitals free of charge.
He went to Latvia prisons and delivered different hygiene goods, medicine, and food that were needed so much during the 90ies. He organized evangelization services and helped those who came out of prison to start a new life successfully.
In one of the regular summer visits to Yelgava prison together with an evangelization group Vasily had a sincere desire to present a gift to each of the prisoners personally.
According to the prison security regulations it was forbidden. A metal screen separated visitors from the prisoners, even in the inner court. However Vasily Filimonov asked the Leadership politely to open the screen. His heart desire was that each of the criminals could feel the God’s love toward them. The Leadership were shocked about such a request. They said no categorically. The number of criminals was about 1000 well-built men. But there were not more than 10 people in the security staff. However Vasily persuaded confidently that in the name of Jesus Christ all the prisoners would be obedient and that he himself would take the responsibility for the discipline. The Leadership could not refuse and they allowed opening the screen. However they themselves rushed into the building for the sake of their own security.
Unbelievably, the criminals made a queue submissively and one by one came to Vasily to receive a gift. Then they talked friendly to members of the evangelization group.
The prison Leadership and corrections deputies did not stop wondering. It was God’s glory and praise to Him! By seeing this miracle many started to believe in the living God!
The work having been done for years by this God’s servant is amazing. His biography does not end here. In the course of time the content will be added after summing up details.
Vasily Filimonov worked till the last gasp. God cleansed him and bleached his spiritual clothes by a serious disease he concealed even from his children. Vasily Filimonov was capable of admitting his faults and sincerely confessed sins and wrongdoings before God.
At the very end of his life together with Vasily in prayers were his close relatives- his devoted spouse Larisa and her youngest sister Luba with her husband - a minister of the church “The Spring of Living Water”. Everyone was praying aloud and fervently. Then Larisa asked Vasily whether the loud voices disturbed him and maybe they needed to leave the room. Vasily answered convincingly:“No! Nobody disturbs me. Keep on praying!”
God loved his chosen servant! Christians in a number of countries and cities were praying for brother Vasily. However God spoke through a prophet:”My son is dying!” Vasily was cleansed and ready to enter the eternity. Meeting in time his youngest daughter Vasilina who was delayed by traffic jam for two hours, Vasily passed away in humbleness.
Vasily Fedorovich Filimonov died in Jurmala on 28 February 2007 at 7 p.m.
Video from the Archives and photo by Widow Larisa Filimonova and Vasily Filimonov’s family
Text by Elvira Nabijeva
Technical Support by Artjoms Nabijevs
Translation into English by Kristine Kromane