The Pilgrims of
Seventy Years Later
— Old Order Notes
— No. 26,
Fall-Winter 2002 — Pages 7-34
Old Order Notes,
P.O. Box 791 Greenville, OH 45331 — Subscription $12 per
Editor: Fred Benedict, 313 South First St., Union City
OH 45390 — phone 937-968-5911
Published by: Ohio Amish Library, 4292 S.R. 39,
Millersburg, Ohio 44654
In Black Font the reader
will find the original text, and in bracketed [Red
Font] changes and comments, with links to
more information on the Internet. The current Russian
alphabet is used here, updating many of the
pre-1918 Russian texts. Brackets are used for
corrections to aid those who may print these pages
Young, Pauline V. The Pilgrims of
Russian-Town : Общество Духовных Хрисиан Прыгунов
в Америке, The Community of Spiritual Christian
Jumpers in America : The Struggle of a Primitive
Religious Society to Maintain Itself in an Urban
Environment. (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1932), 296 pages.
Scott finds that descendants of urbanized Russian
sectarians still exist in California, which gives hope
that German sectarians will also continue in the new
world. Research conducted after this 2002 paper shows
only the most zealous transformed residual minority
5, 2012 — The founder
and publisher of "Old
Order Notes" died a year ago, in February 2011. He was one of the originators of the Brethren
Heritage Center and served as the first Chair of
its Board of Directors. He was also a prolific writer
of articles published in numerous periodicals, and
publisher of "Old Order Notes" and "Quest." Fred
Benedict published "Old Order Notes," one of the best sources for data on
Old Order groups, on an irregular basis from
1978-2003. He was a prominent "Old Order" historian,
printer, and writer who headed the Brethren
Encyclopedia project until the current
president, Robert Lehigh, succeeded him in 2006, when
he moved to the Brethren
Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio. His
funeral was held at the Old German Baptist Brethren
Church in Covington, Ohio. See: Founding
BE President Fred Benedict With the Lord, The
Brethren Encyclopedia, News & Events, February 22,
of the Brethren Newsline, 9) Brethren bits: Remembrances, Feb 24, 2010; and Fred
Benedict, Longtime Brethren Encyclopedia Head, Dies,
22 Feb 2011, BRETHREN-L Archives..
Added publisher identification and summary above.
Faith labels below are updated to correspond with the
— songs, holidays, prophets, communion and books.
August 12, 2010, edited February 7, 2012 — Events added since 2002. Index alphabetized.
Since posting, Scott's
article has consistently ranked high in page
hits at Molokane.org, probably due to the
Anabaptist keywords. The
printed an earlier version for sale minus these
The term "Molokan" as originally used by Scott below
mostly refers to the fractionated denominations of Dukh-i-zhizniki,
whose ancestors were Pryguny and Maksimisty, not Molokane, by
religion, have excommunicated their members for
(Jumper) services in America, avoid Molokane, and
often avoid other Dukh-i-zhizniki. After
1928, Prygun congregations in America transformed
into fragmented denominations of Dukh-i-zhizniki,
so named because their varied faiths are based on the
1928 book Dukh i
zhizn', which they all place as a third
testament on their altar tables next to the Bible, and
they created their own song and prayer books. The Dukh-i-zhizniki introduced Maksim's rituals,
discarded several Prygun
holidays (including the Birth of Christ), and
officially shun their ancestral Molokan, Prygun and Subbotnik faiths.
Though I was among many who contributed to and
proofread Scott's text in 2002 and posted it here, I
had not fully understood the dynamics of American ethnic Russian sectairan
history until my 2007 trip to Russia. In 2008, I was
beginning to explain and diagram the faith divisions
as now presented in the Taxonomy
Dukh-i-zhizniki, which is often updated. The more
precise faith labels and history have been
incorporated into my Introduction and Scott's report
printed versions of Scott's paper before 2012 are in
error and should be corrected.
Andrei Conovaloff (Updated March 31, 2012)
The author, Steven Scott,
is a member of the Old Order
River Brethren — Anabaptists
who share similar old world values and customs with
Russian sectarians and
have overlapping histories, in Russia and in the U.S.
In what is now south
Ukraine in the 1800s, Molokane and Pryguny lived
adjacent to and visited with Molochna
German protestants, even attending prayer meetings
together. There many Molokane adapted Stundists
principles in and some also migrated to Los Angeles,
relabeled as Stundo-Presbyterians. A few Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki intermarried
with Mennonites in the U.S. Many young
Russian-American and German-American sectarian men met as conscientious objectors in
jails and camps during both world wars. Collaboration
on this paper is a small but significant continuation
of our historic ties. For more history on the Internet
was concerned that his people, and similar groups of
People, who dress simply "plain," may soon
disappear by assimilation. Upon reading Pilgrims in Rusisan-Town (Young 1932), Scott wanted to know if
the Pryguny survived
in Los Angeles, and he began the research published
below. If the Pryguny
survived in big American cities, he figured
there was hope that Anabaptists will too.
- Staples, John Roy. Cross-cultural
encounters on the Ukrainian steppe: settling the
Molochna basin, 1783-1861 (University of
Toronto Press, Jun 20, 2003.) Pages: 37, 68, 71,
91-93, 96, 99-100, 103.
- Hoover, Peter, with Serguei
V. Petrov. The
Russians' Secret: What Christians Today Would
Survive Persecution? (Benchmark Press, 1999)
Chapters 12 and 13.
Dukhobortsy, 1822-1828, by Daniel Schlatter,
Doukhobor Genealogy Website.
Scott's research took over 2 years and
involved counsel with many Dukh-i-zhizniki and Molokane. This is a well written and extensively
referenced (with numbered citations) summary of the
past 70  years. He
took great care to be accurate in his reporting and
courteous during his research. I commend him for
submitting drafts for proofreading which have been
reviewed by members of the LA-UMCA, and
many Dukh-i-zhiznik elders in Southern California. The
paper is better due to their cooperation. I have
enhanced it for the Internet with links and comments.
Scott was glad to conclude
have survived after nearly a century in big American
cities. His finding gave many Brethren hope for their
future generations, while the LA-UMCA
copied this article for sale.
But facts gathered since 2007 yield a different
conclusion than reported in 2002 — only
the most zealous dissident minority preserved by
imposing their version of old world rituals, by
attacking the faiths of their ancestors in America and
evicting what they believe to be the "unclean"
heretics among them. Though a few non-Dukh-i-zhizniki
have managed to marry-in and join, recruiting is
forbidden except people of similar faiths from the
Former Soviet Union. Many congregations now forbid
visitors and guests, a complete reversal of their
About 50 Dukh-i-zhiznik
families have been imported, sponsored from Armenia
divided between the diaspora in the U.S. and
Australian to supplement the vestigial
Russian language, but were not fully accepted due to
their different rituals and beliefs. Attendance during
the most popular passover holiday across all diaspora
Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations is less than the number
of ancestral immigrants. The residual participating
diaspora attendance in 2000 was less than 100 years
The truth is, Dr. Young's hunch in 1932 was
absolutely correct. The Prygun organized
faith was extinguished in the U.S. by the end of the
1950s, about 25 years after her book was published.
Analysis conducted since 2007, in-progress,
indicates that Dr. Young did not fully
realize that in her presence Maksimisty were dominating the Pryguny and
would eventually transform all the established
congregations into a new faith based on the book: Dukh i zhizn'.
Their zealous persistence caused the majority of
Russian sectarians in Southern California to avoid
faith by joining Protestant faiths and/or
assimilating. Descendants of the Prygun immigrants
only remained "plain people" if they converted to Dukh-i-zhizniki.
Young did not study the authentic Molokane in San Francisco. She mistakenly called Pryguny "Molokans"
in her text 100s of times, though her title (above)
and study population were clearly limited to Dukhovnie Khristian
Pryguny (Spiritual Christian Jumpers). But,
these Pryguny were
already transformed into Dukh-i-zhizniki. Dr. Young quoted
extensively, not from the Bible, but from 24 pages of
the Dukh i zhizn', which is not used by the Molokan or Prygun faiths
anyplace in the world, yet she erroneously reports
this is a book about "Molokans." She apparently did
not realize that she was helping the Dukh-i-zhiznik transformation and camouflaging their
new secret faith as "Molokan," a hijacked label.
A government report showed Dr. Young testified at
least once before an immigration committee about the
worthiness of Russian sectarians as citizens during a
time of deportation of undesirable aliens (research
in-progress). In my opinion Dr. Young with the
guidance of Prygun
elders, protected their faiths by
limiting the content of her book to their nicer
history, avoiding the ugly facts. For examples: the
extensive court cases and international publicity
about bride selling is somewhat mentioned on pages
144-146, missing or avoiding most of the story and its
impact; and both the Hawaii and Arizona colony
segments are very short with errors. The Hawaii colony
was on Kapaa in 1906, not Honolulu in 1907 as briefly
shown on page 259; and Arizona had 4 colonies
beginning in 1911, not one beginning in 1914. Her
source material is limited, largely based on personal
interviews with preference for first hand data, her
renown specialty, a method which neglects data-rich
secondary sources, such as newspapers.
Though it appears to me that Dr. Young avoided most of
the ugly history, what she did report about juvenile
delinquency, aversion for education, and other
unflattering facts, created a huge uproar among Dukh-i-zhiniki in Los Angeles in the 1930s that
lasted for decades. Oral history reported Young was an
evil Jew who took advantage of these poor peasant
Russians to promote her own career at their expense,
and she only told the most disgusting stories while
ignoring the glorious blessings and miracles of the
Holy Spirit among these chosen people of God. She
inoculated the population against outside (ninash)
researchers into the 2000s. Stories told by people,
like my illiterate grandmother Sasha Shubin, were
extremely negative into the 1960s when I arrived in
Los Angeles. My uncle Dr. John ("Coe") A. Shubin, who
got his Ph.D. in economics at USC, boasted to me that
in the 1950s he found Dr. Young on campus giving a
lecture with her husband, and he interrupted and
scolded both in public for what they did to disgrace
the his people for their personal gain. I don't think
my uncle John fully reviewed or understood her book.
Little known is that Young was working on a second
book to report how the United Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan
Christian Association (UMCA) was revitalizing their Russian ethnic society by attracting their assimilated youth with new
programs in English. She was going to reverse her
prediction that these Dukh-i-zhizniki were
doomed in the city.
From it's founding in 1926 to 1940, the LA-UMCA
programs were primarily conducted in Russian. In the
late 1930s, a Brethren minister Jack Green became
pastor of a local slum mission, Grace Brethren Church,
where he started a club especially to serve the local
ethnic Russian youth — the Young Russian Christian
Association (YRCA). Many of the youth nurtured by the
YRCA and college educated, revitalized the UMCA in the
1940s with English lessons, socials and sports, to the
dismay of their peer Dukh-i-zhizniki (called Chuloki) who
still scorn the "Jack Greeners" as their heretics.
LA-UMCA revitalization progressed for more than 20
years, into the 1960s when it was halted by zealots,
who completely conquered control of the UMCA by the
1980s, when the Heritage Club was founded attracting
many of the YRCA-ers. Unfortunately Young's papers
were destroyed in a fire at the International
Institute where she was working, and her sequel was
Though ethnic self-proclaimed "Molokans" (a misnomer)
persist in Los Angeles after 2000, those who control
the assemblies are primarily descendants and religious
converts of a minority
cluster of ritualists, mostly Maksimity, who
persevered for 3 generations, imposing their Dukh-i-zhiznik faith upon all residual Russian
sectarians in Southern California. Those who
opposed or questioned the Dukh
i zhizn' either
left the faiths or were expelled —
yielding a retention of less than 10% of the living
descendants a century later. The very popular LA-UMCA
youth clubs, sports programs, Sunday School, Bible
classes, fashion shows, teas, talent shows, dinners,
numerous youth clubs, and Wednesday Night Church which
flourished since Young's book, have all diminished in
scope and scale, or ceased. When the newsletter ceased
publication about 2005, the board forbid a website,
but one woman privately began to email a calendar of
events and announcement to 100s, which is now their
only mass communication besides a few websites
maintained by individuals, like this one. Nothing
"officially" appears in print or on the Internet, due
to a mandated retreat from the world. The LA-UMCA
property is now mostly used for the Dukh-i-zhinik
Elementary School" (MES).
Those who remained among Dukh-i-zhizniki can join in the charismatic jumping
and shout singing, or sit
back and watch, but don't speak up. In the 2000s, a
century after immigration, new social-service clubs
have appeared among some of the assimilated to bridge
the gap between America and the closed Dukh-i-zhinik
Will Plain People survive
into the 2000s? It depends on what you mean by survive
and what kind of Plain
People. How and
what one chooses as a measurement of survival can be
as varied as the yardstick and the person reading it.
My update projects that
only the most ritualistic, conservative and isolated
zealots can probably persist another century, by
preserving some historic rituals, dress and beliefs
with dictatorial fragmented leadership. Most
descendants will continue to adapt to their
surrounding society as they are now by reading this on
the Internet, some using a mobile computer.
The answers to these questions may surprise you.
- Have the pious [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans
been absorbed into the glitz and debauchery of city
known ‘round the world for its sinfulness?
- Have the descendants of the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans
been assimilated into the secular and religious American
- Do joyous, Russian psalms no longer ring
from simple [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
meeting houses in Southern California?
- Are bearded men in traditional Russian garb
and women with long dresses and veiled heads no longer
seen on the city streets of East Los Angeles?
We are happy to present in this issue Stephen Scott's fine
inquiry into the state of the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans today. Old Order interest in the
experience is well summed up in a statement of Scott on page
seven — "Their experience in an urban environment is
especially pertinent to many of us who have not moved to the
city but have gradually had the city move to US."
One hundred twenty-one years ago the Wolf Creek Old German
Baptist Church was organized as a separate church from the
German Baptist Brethren (known after 1908 as Church of the
Then, the Wolf Creek Church played a significant part in the
origin of the division. From the History of the Church of
the Brethren in Southern Ohio (1920) we include two portions
of the book: (1) a brief history of the congregation from
its start when Brethren settled the area in early 1800, (2)
an account of the origin of the Old German Baptist movement;
while from the Church of the Brethren point of view,
nevertheless fair and somewhat complimentary. (It is our
opinion that very few, perhaps only 1 percent, of Old
German Baptists have access to copies of History of
the Church of the Brethren of southern Ohio). Then we
include an item with which we are particularly pleased: a
brief account of the council just following the division at
which members of the Wolf Creek church of the German Baptist
Brethren (conservatives), disfellowshipped the Old Order
members for their "schismatic proceedings," and a complete
list of names of every member so disfellowshipped. It is our
belief that this list has never been published. This item is
selected from the original MINUTES of the Wolf Creek Church
of the Brethren for 1881, now in the possession of the
"Brethren Heritage Center" of Brookville, Ohio. The book
also contains an extensive list of members of the Wolf Creek
Church of the Brethren which we leave unpublished. These
items are particularly significant at this time when the
Brethren Heritage Center, a joint effort of individuals from
the Brethren bodies interested in church history and
genealogy, is making its debut, one hundred twenty-one years
following the parting-of-the-ways.
We begin a two-part selection from Dr. Gary Kochheiser's
Doctor of Ministery paper on nonresistance. A careful and
thoughtful study of this paper will reveal the present
disparate views on the subject, their origins, and how they
Stephen E. Scott
grew up in southwestern Ohio near a large group of Old German Baptist
Brethren. He attended Cedarville College and Wright
State University. Stephen is author of numerous books on the
Stephen and his wife, Harriet (Sauder), are members of the
Old Order River Brethren. They have three children and live
near Columbia, Pennsylvania.
[He is also the Administrative and
Research Assistant at the Young
Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.]
Gary Kochhelser grew up in north central Ohio as a
member of a Grace Brethren Church. He attended Grace
College, Grace Theological Seminary, and Trinity Evangelical
Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister of the
Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches and has pastored FGBC
churches in Cedar Rapids, IA and Longview, TX. He is the
senior Bible teacher at Mansfield Christian School in
Mansfield, OH. He and his wife, Carol (Weidman), live in
Mansfield, OH. They have two children, both attending Grace
The Pilgrims of Russian-town Seventy Years Later
| Wolf Creek, Ohio Church Minutes
| Wolf Creek Church History
History of the Church of the Brethren
in Southern Ohio
| Old German Baptist Brethren (Old
History of the Church of the Brethren
in Southern Ohio
| The Doctrine of Nonresistance
Donald F. Durnbaugh
| Potpourri – Editors Musings
– Follow the Money – Marriages Are Not Musical
Chairs – The Imitation of Christ – The Same
John-Anabaptist History Collection Gets New Home –
Nothing Hidden, Nothing Exempt, Bittersweet Victory
| Meaning in Life
Pilgrims of Russian-town Seventy Years Later
The book, Pilgrims of Russian-Town, by Pauline
V. Young tells the story of a group of Russian
Christians called [Pryguny : Jumpers] Molokans
from the early 1900s, when they came to America, until 1932,
when the book was published. [After 1928 American Pryguny transformed into a new Dukh-i-zhiznik faith, based on their
ritual book they call Dukh
i zhizn'.] The purpose of this article is
to describe what has happened to the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans since Young's book. Because
the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans might be considered
the Russian equivalent of "Plain People" a study
of their history is valuable to us Pennsylvania German Plain
seeing how they survived persecution in their homeland and
how they have struggled to remain a separated people in the
New World. Their experiences in an urban environment is
especially pertinent to many of us who have not moved to the
city but have gradually had the city move to us.
readers who did not follow the series,* some introduction,
reiteration and clarification might be in order. The [Pryguny] Molokans
trace their beginning to the religious turmoil of
seventeenth century (mid-1600s) Russia, which produced many
sectarian groups including a movement called "Spiritual
Christians." These people rejected the formalism of the
Russian Orthodox Church and all of its trappings, including
icons, vestments, and elaborate rituals. A personal
relationship with God was stressed without the involvement
of priests. Similar to English Quakers, the Spiritual
Christians saw the literal observance of baptism and
communion as extraneous. Going even further, a belief
developed which saw even the Bible as unnecessary for
communion with God.
*[Editors note: Pauline Vislick Young's Pilgrims of
Russian-Town appeared in a reprint in six installments
in Old Order Notes (#18-23, 1998-2001). The 72 year old
sociological treatise on the Russian [Prygun] Molokan
immigrants in Los Angeles was well done. Scott says,
"Pauline Vislick was born in Poland in 1896. She came to
America in 1914 and was a student at the University of
Chicago, 1915-1919." See news of the
new book reprint.]
[Note again that the Young clearly identifies her subjects as Pryguny in the
title, though she refers to them in the text 100s of times
as "Molokan," a different denomination. This misnomer
confused everyone ever since and has been corrected here.
Dr. Young was born in in Russian-Poland among Jews, spoke
Russian and apparently identified with these immigrant
Russian sectarians. She got
her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Southern
California (U.S.C.), and this book was adapted from her
masters and doctorate theses. Before 1914, sociology
departments at U.S.C., Occidental and Pomona colleges had
personal contacts with the Russian sectarians coordinated
by Dr. Rev. Dana Bartlett, director of the Bethlehem
Institutions, who conducted one-week joint college classes
every year in the slums of Los Angeles. Bartlett believed
that aspiring sociologists should know their subjects
first hand, as he had been taught "in the field." Among
their many field lessons was attending Prygun religious
services held at the Stimson-Lafayette Industrial School.
The second edition of Young's popular textbook Scientific Social Surveys and
Research (1949) included many of her original interview
notes with Pryguny.
Young is well-known for applying innovative data recording
methods and statistics to sociology research.
Young's graduate work in the 1920s builds on the 1918
surveys by U.S.C. graduate student Lillian Sokoloff:
Los Angeles. Sociologist Dr.
Waters reports that Young’s 1932 book is the best
documentation of an immigrant group he has ever found, and
that it provided him with valuable data to compare Pryguny with later
Dr. Robert C. Bannister, Swarthmore College, produced 2 websites summarizing Young's work
This was the first of her 7 books. She also authored 15
articles, including 2 about Pryguny:
- "Family Organization of the [Pryguny] Molokans", Sociology and Social
Research, Sept 1928.
- "The Russian [Pryguny] Molokan Community in Los Angeles", American
Journal of Sociology, Vol. 35, No. 3. (Nov.,
Molokans [and Pryguny]
An 18th century Spiritual Christian named Simeon Uklein
began preaching the authority of the Bible in faith and
practice. In the 1760s Uklein's followers formed a separate
group who came to be known as Molokans [Russian: Molokane] — meaning "Milk
Drinkers." They received this name from the fact that they
did not observe the Russian Orthodox fasts prohibiting the
drinking of milk. The Molokans themselves like to think of
the title as referring to "spiritual milk."
Christians from whom the Molokans divided became known as Doukhobors
Wrestlers," a name given to them by a Russian bishop
who accused them of striving against the Holy Spirit. [Before these labels, both
groups were probably called iconoclasts,
Like the Molokans, the Doukhobors reversed the connotation
of their epithet and interpreted it to mean that they were
fighters for the Spirit. Both groups grew in number
(although the Molokans much more rapidly) and extended
beyond their central Russian homeland to southern Ukraine in
the first decade of the 19th century (1800-1810). In the
1840s the Russian government sought to isolate the Spiritual
Christians by forcefully
removing [less than
half ] them south of the Caucasus Mountains in
present Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia on the Turkish
border. [Pryguny claim to
have begun in 1833, but were a named heresy about 1856.]
Despite, adverse conditions, the [sectarians, mostly] Molokans [, Pryguny, Subbotniki]
and Dukhobors prospered in their mountainous home, but at
the dawn of the twentieth century new threats motivated
large numbers of both groups to seek a new home in North
America. [Mostly the
most dissident migrated.] The Dukhobors led the way
in 1899 and [one-third]
settled on large communal tracts in Saskatchewan, Canada. In
contrast, from 1904 to 1912 several thousand [mostly Pryguny and some]
Molokans (about 1% of their number) were inspired* to relocate in Los
[* Though some were
"inspired" by prophecy to follow the Doukhobors to Canada,
many factors influenced the migration of each person and
family. See a comprehensive
list comparing reasons why so many stayed while a
only few left.]
2. The [Pryguny] Molokans
According to Pauline Young
In her 1932 book Pauline Young describes how the [Pryguny] Molokans
were utterly devastated by their comparatively brief
exposure to urban America. These Russian peasants are shown
to have been largely overcome by the forces of American
culture and their battle to survive as a separate religious
group was deemed futile. In the closing pages of her book
Young mentions a few encouraging signs. The rate of
delinquency had declined considerably in 1931 and she
states, "At times there are evidences of a true cultural
revival which seems destined to sweep the ranks of the youth
…" But on the downside she concludes, "… but again new
defections occur with such rapidity that it is increasingly
apparent that in the end sectarianism is not wholly able to
resist the insidious penetrating corrosives of urban life.”2 And her final statement, "… the present
trends indicate that the city life eventually fuses even the
most refractory sectarian material."3
The readers might wonder what actually happened to the [Pryguny] Molokans in
the seventy years that have transpired since the Pilgrims
of Russian-Town appeared in print. At that time the [Pryguny] Molokans had
only been in America for about 25 years. So what became of
the children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren of
the Pilgrims of Russian-Town? Have Pauline Young's
doleful predictions come true? Have the pious [Pryguny] Molokans
been absorbed into the glitz and debauchery of a city known
round the world for its sinfulness? Have the descendants of
the [Pryguny] Molokans
been assimilated into the secular and religious American
mainstream? Do joyous, Russian psalms no longer ring from
simple meeting houses in southern California? Are bearded
men in traditional Russian garb and women with long dresses
and veiled heads no longer seen on the city streets of East
Los Angeles? The answers to these questions may surprise
Young estimated that about 5,600 [Pryguny]
lived in Los Angeles in 1932. She counted six congregations
with 100-150 families in each.4 One can
assume that the great majority of the [Pryguny]
Young interviewed are no longer on the scene. It is doubtful
if more than a handful of the Russian-born [Pryguny] Molokans
Young encountered could be among the living, and the
troubled youth she described would now be well beyond the
allotted three score and ten  years of age. Nearly a century after
the [Pryguny] Molokans
arrived in the hostile wilds of urban Los Angeles, could
there possibly be any survivors?
Changes in Russian-Town
Several significant events in the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan community occurred
immediately after Pauline Young wrote Pilgrims of
Russian-Town. The same year the book was published,
1932, Philip Mikhailovich Shubin passed away at age 77. He
was the respected elder who had been instrumental in
bringing his people to America, helped them adjust to the
American scene, provided wise counsel during the First World
War and stable leadership through the stormy 20's.5 This is the stately looking white bearded
man whose picture
appears in the front of Young's book.
Also, in the summer of this same year of 1932, three Los
Angeles [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan congregations decided to
merge in an effort to remedy leadership and church
government problems. The Selimskaia, Karmolinovskaia, and
the Ol'shanskaia [congregations]
whose membership totaled over 500 families, purchased a
property on East Third Street and built a large structure
which became known as the "Big Church," but officially it
was the First United Christian Molokan Church [of Spiritual Jumpers].
On Sunday, February 26, 1933, the members of the three
congregations ceremoniously left their old meeting places
and marched through the streets to a joyous meeting at their
new church home.6
Not all [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans were enthused about the merger, however. A
minority of members among the three L.A. [congregations] churches who
did not take part in the merger were strongly critical of
the move.7 Prophet Ivan Sussoyeff predicted
that the Big Church would some day abandon important
principals of the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan faith and others made
unfavorable prophecies concerning the new congregation.8 When the bylaws of the United Church were
revealed during the dedication ceremony, the prophecies
seemed to be fulfilled in the minds of some people.
Departing from [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan tradition, the affairs of
were to be governed by several committees including one
called the Dukhovny Komitet (Spiritual Committee)
which was to look after spiritual matters, including the
disorderly members [,
the most zealous Maksimisty].
In this arrangement the presbyters and elders would be under
the authority of the younger members of the Komitet. Also, the
chief speaker was now to be elected for a term of one year
instead of being chosen by the presbyters as the need arose.
These changes were instituted to eliminate the dissension
and bitter debates which had long distressed the [Pryguny] Molokans,
and free the presbyters for their more important spiritual
duties.9 Those who opposed the changes in [congregational] church
government cut off fellowship with the Big Church and those
who sympathized stayed with it.10
[A revealing testimony
of how Dukh-i-zhizniki abuse Pryguny was
documented in "Breaking the Silence: An Experience I Lived
Through When I attended Big Church", pages 417-474, in The
Memoirs of Paul John Orloff, 2008. Orloff details a series of
abusive incidents by Big Church from 1957 to 1999.
Significant in the evolution of Dukh-i-zhizniki in America is his detailed report that
in 1962 Orloff was falsely accused of attending the
Persian Prygun sobranie
church) holiday, the Birth of Christ, "Christmas worship",
when he was actually at another congregation 200 miles
away. He was verbally abused and excommunicated from his
congregation. This and other harassment, caused him to not
attend his family's congregation after September 14, 1965.
Up to his Memoirs
publication in 2008, Big Church officials insisted that
Orloff apologize for something he never did and can prove
he never did.
The irony is that many
Big Church members and others of duo-faith have Christmas
trees in their homes, which Orloff never did, and
regularly attend and are members of other faiths, with no
repercussions by their Dukh-i-zhiznik congregation. No one has explained if
Orloff was singled out for some other reason. In the
1980s, Orloff's family built a new prayer house in La
Puente, named "Dom Malitvee" (house of prayer), with an
open door policy to serve Dukh-i-zhiznik descendants, many of whom
are ignored or marginalized by other congregations, some
for not being "paid members."
Berokoff reports about this holiday deviation dispute in Chapter
8, page 147. Berokoff falsely reported that Jumpers
abandoned those holidays 100 years ago because he did not
know the 3 different faiths.
So many members were
disgusted with Big Church in the 1960s that one group
split off to form a new congregation in Monterey Park
(Hill Top sobranie,
Bill Babishoff, presbyter). In the 1990s Babishoff
compiled and published four instructional manuals explaining the Dukh-i-zhiznik rituals in English and
Pauline Young mentions the formation of an organization to
nurture [Prygun] Molokan
youth in the faith and life of their people and provide
alternate activities to those of the secular, sinful society
and Baptist proselytizers. This was the United Molokan Christian
misnomer] which was begun by a group of nine men in
1926.11 The organization started in a
vacant store, but by 1928 rapid growth necessitated moving
to a remodeled house made to accommodate 300 children.12 At this time a charter for the
organization was obtained from the state of California.13 In 1934 a Ladies Auxiliary was organized
which was responsible for carrying out a large part of the
work of the U.M.C.A.14 Every Sunday
children were taught traditional [Prygun]
songs and lessons in both Russian and English. On Wednesday
evenings there were meetings geared to teach teenagers [Prygun] Molokan
traditions and beliefs and provide a place for them to meet
and socialize. These were not regular [worship] church
meetings, but many of the elders of the church
did attend and support the program.
There were conservative [Maksimisty]
however, who objected to certain aspects of the U.M.C.A.
including the fact that children were not taught to kneel
for prayer nor that jumping in the spirit was an important
part of worship. Some also were critical of the fact that
the organization obtained a charter from the state and was
governed by a committee of men who were not leaders in the [Prygun] Molokan [society] church. Some
didn't like the neon sign on the building that reminded them
of a bar. As an alternative to the U.M.C.A., some of the
conservatives started traditionally conducted midweek and
Sunday afternoon church services and singing classes
in the homes of the members. All of these efforts [by the U.M.C.A.] to
instruct the youth in the ways of [their culture] the church
and provide wholesome activities for them did result in
marked decrease in juvenile delinquency.15
5. [Pryguny, Dukh-i-zhizniki]
and the World Wars
During World War I the [Prygun] Molokan
leadership made special effort to establish their
denomination as a peace church with the U.S. government. The
great majority of [Prygun] Molokan
young men registered for the draft declaring themselves
conscientious objectors, but actually escaped conscription
by reason of their classification as resident aliens.16 Six men from Arizona, did receive severe
treatment and imprisonment for their refusal to register or
cooperate with the military in any way.17
By the time of World War II the conviction for joining the
military had apparently weakened considerably. Little or no
emphasis was placed on teaching the youth the ways of peace
and nonresistance in the efforts of the U.M.C.A. and other
youth programs.18 Many [Pryguny] Molokans had
not expected that there would be another war in which their
young men would be called to serve. Additionally, many
assumed that since the [Pryguny] Molokans had
been recognized as conscientious objectors in World War I
there would be no need to reestablish that status. Of
course, that was not the case. Ivan Samarin, who had
composed a petition to President Wilson in 1917, now wrote a
similar petition to President Roosevelt asking for exemption
from the military for the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans.19 A delegation of three men traveled to
Washington in October 1940 to present their concerns to the
government. A [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Advisory Council was
organized very late in 1940 to deal with the government in
regard to conscientious objectors.20 This
organization worked with other peace churches in the
National Service Board.21 The [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Advisory Council took
over a Mennonite C.P.S. camp near Three Rivers, California,
in November 1945 and operated and financed it until it
closed in April 1946 .22 Seventy-six [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan men
did serve as conscientious objectors in Civilian Public
Service during World War II.23 Actually,
88 [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan men
were ordered to report to camp, but 11 were reclassified, 8
received medical discharges, 3 enlisted in the military
while serving in camp, 5 refused to report to camp because
of religious conviction, 3 left the camp for religious
reasons, and 46 served until the camps were closed. An
additional 35 men were arrested for refusing to report for
induction, of which 22 served from one to three years in
federal prison and 13 were released on probation.24 On the other hand a roster of "Russian [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans in
U. S. Service" lists 672 names, including six who were
killed in action. By the end of the war seven men of [Dukh-i-zhizniki and] Molokan background died in
the military and forty had been wounded.25
At the end of the list appears this statement, "Respects are
due also to all Russian [Dukh-i-zhizniki and] Molokans serving as
Conscientious Objectors in Civilian Public Service Camps.”26 It was estimated that perhaps 50% of the
[Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan men
serving in the military were in the medical corps.27 Of those who returned home from military
duty perhaps only one fourth became active in [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan [congregations] churches,
but the majority had only been nominally involved in
religious activities before they went into the service.
Conversely, some who had served in the military became very
enthusiastic peace advocates and zealously observed [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
traditions.28 They joined ranks with those
who had taken a stand as absolute conscientious objectors to
become leaders in the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan [congregations] churches.29
After World War II an even smaller percentage of [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
young men registered as conscientious objectors. From 1952
to 1964 sixteen Russian [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan were
reported serving in the I-W program for conscientious
objectors.30 However, in 1980, in response
to a report concerning the renewal of the draft, a
delegation of five [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
elders traveled to Washington to present a renewed statement
to Selective Service and the White House reaffirming the
group's opposition to military participation.31
The [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan C.O.
Advisory Board is still active, consisting of a chairman and
representatives from ten churches. Significantly, some of
the board members included those who had served in the
military but later regretted this decision.32
An article submitted by the Advisory Board affirming the
historic peace stance of the church appeared in the December
2001 issue of The Molokan [, a misnomer, the Dukh-i-zhiznik U.M.C.A. newsletter,
Hacienda Heights CA].
6. How Many
[Dukh-i-zhizniki and] Molokans Today?
It is estimated that there are over 20,000 people descended
from the 3,000 [Pryguny and] Molokans
who arrived in the United States in the early 1900s and an
additional 500 who arrived from Iran in the 1940s and 1950s.
This sounds encouraging enough, however this number does not
represent active congregation church members. [Of their descendants,]
Only about 5,000 people attend [diaspora Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
worship services at least annually and around 2,000
regularly participate in [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
worship.33 Although these figures show
that only 10% of the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
descendants are active in the group today, given the bleak
picture Pauline Young painted in 1932, it is indeed
remarkable that there are any [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans at
About 60% of all active [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans in
America still live in the Los Angeles area34
although there has been a gradual move eastward within the
metropolitan area.35 There are ten [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
congregations in and around Los Angeles. Five of the ten
L.A. [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans [congregations] churches
date back to the early 1900s, and three were outgrowths from
other older [congregations]
churches.36, The community received a transfusion of
new life from 1947 to 1956 when 172 Molokan [, Prygun, Baptist, and Subbotnik] families (about
500 people37), who had fled to Iran in
1932 to escape being forced into collective farms, joined
their relatives in America.38 Many of
these people established their own congregation known as the
Persian church in Los Angeles. In the 1990s around 10-15 [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
families from Armenia immigrated to California. Some of
these have intermarried with American born [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans.39
7. [Prygun and Dukh-i-zhiznik]
Young describes various efforts of the [Pryguny] Molokans to move to friendlier
surroundings outside of Los Angeles.40
Most of these early ventures in relocating failed, but there
have been several successful [Prygun and]
Molokan communities established in California and
beyond. The inspiration to flee to a far off land of refuge,
— pakhod in Russian — has been a recurrent theme in
history. A pakhod brought the [Pryguny
and] Molokans to America in the early
after their arrival in the United States some [Pryguny] Molokans saw
that the new environment would be detrimental to their faith
and in 1905 were once again moved by pakhod* to seek a
haven in Mexico about sixty miles south of the border in the
Guadalupe Valley of Baja California. This settlement
prospered for over half a century and several small
communities were established from it. By the late 1930s, and
increasingly during World War II many [Prygun] Molokan young people from Mexico
were moving to Los Angeles for better economic
opportunities. As late as 1955 a new meetinghouse was built,
but a new road through the community in 1958 brought an
invasion of squatters who forced [most of] the remaining [Pryguny] Molokans in
the valley to move to California in 1964-65.41
[* Wrong. The
goal before arrival for many was never to live in a city,
but in an agricultural commune, and return to Russia.
Mexico was the most successful and first communal venture.
A smaller commune in Arizona failed after 2 years.]
One of the most recent instances of pakhod occurred
in 1963 when a prophecy originating in the Arizona [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
community inspired eight families to [flee from a possible nuclear holocaust
and] seek a better life in Australia.42
More [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans
followed, and eventually five congregations in South
Australia and two congregations in West Australia were
established which have a total current memberships of over
100.43 There were repeated efforts to
settle in South America beginning in 194744
and a few families did migrate to Brazil in the early 1970s
but this venture proved less successful.45
[The 1970s Brazil pakhod, incorporated as the Dukh-i-zhiznik
"Molokan Agricultural Colony" (MAC),
failed within the first year. The first defecting
family, Alex Kotoff, sued the MAC board to return of his
investment share. This was a major case
contradicting an oral
code of faith. Most of the family that lost was
eventually shunned by a majority of other Dukh-i-zhizniki. A
prophet who co-led the pakhod, Paul Efseaff, wrote a
confessional booklet titled "A Labor of Love" about
being misled by the Dukh
i zhizn', which he and others freely
distributed among the diaspora in 1980 and 2009, and in
Russia in 2009.]
Most [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
movement has been within the state of California. The most
successful [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
community outside of Los Angeles is located at Kerman, west
of Fresno, where there are four congregations with a total
of approximately 200 active members, an elementary school,
and a United [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Christian Association here. This settlement began in 1915 as
an agricultural community concentrating on grape production.46 Pauline Young seems to have overlooked
this community mentioning it very briefly in a footnote
indicating that [Pryguny] Molokans
lived near Fresno. Elsewhere in California are two [3 now] assemblies churches at
Porterville, one at Shafter (started in 1908)47
in the central part of the state and one church at San
Marcos near San Diego. [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans
have lived in these three communities since the 1920s, but
the total active membership is now approximately 100.48
Outside of California, a small [Dukh-i-zhiznik] congregation in
Glendale, Arizona, has survived many troublesome times since
it was founded in 1911. A small community of [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans had
existed in Oregon since the 1920s, 49 but
the present day [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
settlement in that state began in 1953 in the vicinity of
Woodburn and Gervais where there are three congregations.50 Some of the Persian [Pryguny] Molokans who
first settled in Los Angeles soon moved here.51
In the 1960s Oregon [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans
sponsored the resettlement of an ultraconservative group
known as Old Believers,52 who originated
in the 1600s as a schism from the Russian Orthodox Church.
Today these very traditional Russians far outnumber the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans in
their Willamette Valley community. Russian Pentecostals have
also located in this area.
There are also Molokan congregations in San Francisco and
Sheridan, California, which belong to a separate [demonimation] group
which will be explained in the next section.
[Upon immigration, the
California appear have been be divided by divergent
leaders who clashed on goals. Some believed America was a
temporary stop to earn money to take back to Russia, some
were set on retuning back to Mount Ararat for the "second
coming" of Christ and Maksim. Others wanted all to live in
harmony in an isolated religious agricultural colony — a New
could never arrange that one location. Though Mexico was the
largest colony, a major group moved to Arizona within 10
years, followed by more in the 1930s. Many
ag-colonizations failed due to zealous religious leaders
mis-led by ambitious land agents, who had been selling
"The Promised Land" to religious immigrants for a century
in the American West. By 1940, return to Russia or Turkey
failed, most boys enlisted in the military, and a "kingdom
in the city" became the norm.
After WWII the restorationist movement in the city was
dominated by increased zealotry, outcasting Americanized
members, condemning the UMCA ("the devil dances on the
roof") and YRCA,
appearance (dress, beards, jumping, etc.). The
paradigm shifted from pakhod
location to wealth accumulation and prestol prominence.
If a family looked and acted the part, frequented the
right events, and looked wealthy, they became important,
urban or rural. The farmers insulted the city dwellers,
especially independent rubbish men for working in filth.
The successful business man in the city could snub the
farmer for not being blessed with material wealth.]
8. Two Kinds of
[Russian Sectarians in America: Molokane, Pryguny
Dukh-i-zhizniki, Subbotniki, Dukhobortsy]
[Russian sectarians who
migrated to] in America represent two major
divisions. The rift occurred in 1833 in the Ukraine near the
Black Sea. Those who believed in visible manifestations of
the Holy Spirit became known as Pryguny or
"Jumpers" because of the ecstatic jumping occurring in their
worship. Those who did not recognize this new practice were
the [original Molokane]
"Constants" or Postoyannye (also called Steadfast
or Steady). While the Jumpers consisted of only about 5% of
Christians] Molokans in the old country53 they made up the majority of those who
came to America and are the people described in The
Pilgrims of Russian-Town : Общество Духовных Хрисиан
Прыгунов в Америке, The Community of Spiritual Christian
Jumpers in America : The Struggle of a Primitive Religious
Society to Maintain Itself in an Urban Environment.
According to Jumper sources, the Russian government sided
with the Constants
while the Jumpers were at times severely persecuted. A
Jumper prophet, Maksim Gavrilovich Rudometkin, was arrested
in 1858 and spent seventeen years in prison, including eight
years in a former monastery on the Arctic Sea. Despite many
efforts to free him, Rudometkin died in prison in 1877 and
is considered a martyr.54 Maksim's
writings became incorporated in the book Spirit and Life,
which is the primary inspirational book of [Maksimisty who split from] the Pryguny-Jumper Molokans.55
[The Maksimisty are now
categorized in the religious family called Dukh-i-zhiznik. Some
Dukh-i-zhizniki believe Rudomiotkin never died in prison. A few
believe he rose to heaven.]
A primary difference between the [Spiritual Christians] Constant and Jumper Molokans is the
observance of holidays. This contrast developed very early
Christian] Molokan history with the
incorporation of a large group of Sabbatarians into the
Molokan fold in the 1700s. The Saturday Sabbath observers (Subbotniki)
eventually formed a separate sect, but their influence
remained, reemerging among the [Pryguny]
In the 1860s, while in prison, Maksim Rudometkin declared
that the religious holidays observed by Christians were of
pagan origin and should be avoided. Instead, Maksim
advocated the celebration of Biblically inspired holidays
from the Old Testament, but in a Christian context. His followers, the Maksimisty, The majority of
Jumper Molokans followed this directive [, transferred to the Dukh-i-zhizniki], but there has
been much social pressure [in America among assimilated Dukh-i-zhizniki]
to recognize Christmas and Easter and many families do
celebrate these holidays to some extent [, secretly at home or by attending a
[UPDATE: After Scott
collected his data in 2002, further analysis revealed that
3 distinct religious denominations should have been shown
— (1) Molokane,
(2) Pryguny, and
The Pryguny observe
all the holidays above. See: Holiday and
Song Taxonomy of Molokans and Jumpers.]
commemorating the death and resurrection of
the coming of the Holy Spirit
- Blowing of Trumpets-Pamiat Trub
the announcement of the birth of Christ
- Day of Atonement-Sudni Den'
day of repentance and forgiveness
- Feast of Tabernacles-Kuscha
setting up of Christ's kingdom on earth
- Ascension Day
now observed at Thanksgiving
formerly observed on January 7 but now on
Along with the observance of Old Testament holidays, the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Jumper Molokans have practiced
Jewish dietary laws. Although never adhering to the full
extent of kosher rules, the most devoted followers of Maksim
Rudometkin abstain from pork. Devout Maksimisty buy
all their meat from [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan food
stores or from Jewish or Muslim butchers, prepare all their
food at home and never eat at restaurants. On the other hand
many more modern [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan do
not observe Old Testament food regulations at all and argue
against this practice. There had been as many as fourteen [Prygun and Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan food
stores and bakeries in Los Angeles; now there are only two
butchers and one grocery store in the Los Angeles area and
one butcher in Central California.58 [In 2010, one Dukh-i-zhiznik store remains in Whittier, CA; and one
woman home-bakes bread for sale to congregations.]
regard the [Molokane and Dukh-i-zhizniki] Postoyannye-Constants and the
Pryguny-Jumpers as two distinctly different sects.
The [Molokane] Constants
consider the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Jumpers
excessive in their emotional displays and the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Jumpers feel
that the [Molokane] Constants
hold back the moving of the Holy Spirit.59
There is also a difference in the singing practices of the
two groups. In their regular worship services [Molokane] Constant Molokans
sing only verses (stikhi) based on Russian Old and
New Testament scriptures. The [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Jumper Molokans also sing stikhi
from The Book of Spirit and Life. A second class
of songs called dukhovnye pesni (spiritual songs)
are used in some parts of [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Jumper Molokan worship, but are
considered less solemn. This type of song is only used for
nonworship occasions by the [Molokane]
Molokans, including memorials for the dead and
wedding showers.60 Despite the differences
between the [Molokane and Dukh-i-zhizniki] Constant and Jumper
Molokans there is some visiting between the two
groups and even intermarriage.61 [The sects never hold
communion together. Sometimes a member of one sect will be
respected as a guest, often not. Familiar to Brethren are
severe splits among factions of Dukh-i-zhizniki, which treat each other as different
A relatively small number of [Molokane]
came to America. Their center of concentration has always
been in San Francisco where they first settled in 1906
immediately following the great earthquake [on their way back from
Hawaii].62 By 1912 an estimated
1,000 Molokans lived in the Bay area.63 A
[prayer hall] church was
built in the Potrero Hill area in 1929, where it remains to
this day with the distinction of having the largest
consistent attendance (60-75 each Sunday) of any Molokan
congregation in America.64 The majority of
Molokans have moved further south away from the urban center
into more prosperous neighborhoods.65
There was also a [Holy]
in San Francisco until the 1950s when the few remaining
members joined the [Molokan] Constant
congregation.66 [This Prygun
congregation did not accept the Dukh i zhizn'.]
In the 1920s some Constant Molokans searched for a
more rural environment near Mount Lassen, California, and
Klamath Falls, Oregon, but soon relocated to Sheridan near
Sacramento, California, where a small congregation exists
In addition to the various [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Pryguny-Jumper Molokan congregations there
was a Subbotnik congregation
in Los Angeles for many years. This group, which may or may
not be considered a branch of Molokans, observed all the
Jewish holidays and food laws, and the Saturday Sabbath as
well. The last twelve members disbanded in 1971 and donated
treasury to the United [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Christian Association. They had previously sold their house
of worship to the City of Los Angeles.68 [Many Subboniki
intermarried with Pryguny
and Dukh-i-zhizniki in Los Angeles and are buried in the Dukh-i-zhiznik-managed cemeteries.]
[Also many Doukhobors (Dukhobortsy) lived in
California who affiliated with Molokane
before 1930, and
later occasionally with Dukh-i-zhizniki. A few intermarried. After
1980, Dukh-i-zhiniki officially shun the
Among the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Jumper Molokans
There is no religious hierarchy or wider ecclesiastical
organization beyond the congregational level among [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans. Each [Dukh-i-zhiznik assembly hall] Molokan church is
independent,69 but there is a tendency for
congregations of like faith and practice to associate more
with each other than [with]
those [congregations] churches
which are not as similar. This is a situation similar to
other Christian groups who avoid an ecclesiastical
structure, such as independent Baptists, "Plymouth"
Brethren, Churches of Christ, and the Amish.
Among the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Pryguny-Jumper
Molokans at least four rather indistinct subgroups
have been identified, based on the one hand on the extent to
which a [congregation]
supports the U.M.C.A. and the Komitet and on the
other hand the degree of acceptance of the Spirit and
Life book. On one extreme is the Re-Formed [Dukh-i-zhiznik congregation] Molokan Church
in Oregon and a recently organized [illegal] congregation in Arizona
[who stole property]
have sometimes been classed by themselves as [Molokans] Constants
even though they are of [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Jumper background [and do not practice any
form of Molokan worship, prayer or
singing]. Then on the other end of the spectrum are
those who are the most zealous in defending the teachings of
Maksim Rudometkin. This group is referred to as [Maksimisty,
Zion" or "New Israel."70 The vast majority
of the [congregations]
churches between these
two poles may be divided roughly between the 11 [congregations] churches who support
the Komitet and the 12 churches who
give some credence to the Spirit and Life. The
congregations] Molokan churches
in Australia are also divided between Komitet and Spirit
and Life factions.71 Not all [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans
would agree on the dividing lines that separate these
subgroups or even that there be any such divisions.72 Indeed, the lines have been blurred
considerably since the establishing of the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Elementary School
which even though it is part of the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] U.M.C.A., it is
supported by some of the most zealous Spirit and Life
[Though Scott describes
2 poles on a one-dimension continuum, these 2 poles can be
diagrammed in a 2-dimensional space for classification of
the Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations in Los Angeles, as
- Acceptance of UMCA and komitet.
- Acceptance and use of the Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life — Dukh-i-zhizn'
New Zion, New Israel, Maksimisty
positions have changed over the years and are not static
due to many factors, external and internal. External, like
LA-UMCA control shifting to Dukh-i-zhizniki. Internal, like dying
elders replaced by people with different traits, and
members changing congregations (inside or outside the
faiths). External factors not discussed include
affiliation with outsiders, like Doukhobors and Quakers,
which diminished after WWII when COs were given positions at the table (prestol).
Two more dimensions could be used — (3) English and (4)
communal cemetery — to create a 4-dimensional space. Other
factors not mentioned which correlate with degree of use
of the Dukh i zhizn'
are amount of
jumping and prophecy, personal appearance (beard, dress), home layout
(Russian items), white handkerchief used to collect money
on table, and eating
After 2002, it was learned that the rouge Cowboys in
Arizona are an illegal group who forged government
documents, falsified notarizations, stole $911 from the
bank, and are fully supported by the Re-Formed. Bill M.
Shubin, Fresno CA, travels to Arizona every year and
coaches them; and Bill and Kathleen Baghdanov traveled
from Washington state several times to testify in Arizona
courts for them, and to help steal money from the blind
presbyter. Most of this phoney board operates like a gang
on paper, rarely attending their own Sunday gathering and
never participating with Dukh-i-zhiznik
in California or Oregon. They never joined in services of
Arizona funerals with visiting Dukh-i-zhizniki
prevented the actual members from using their own assembly
since 2002. As of 2012 they have not been arrested, yet
managed to illegally control property by changing locks,
lying to police and in court, while they took several
million dollars in cash and fooled the LA-UMCA directory
to list them as a "church."]
There have always been in-group disputes among the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans and individual
congregations have distinctive beliefs and practices. Some
of the differences probably come from the fact that [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans
came to California from widely separated communities and
brought with them long established traditions and customs
that were unique to their former homeland. In the early
1940s another kind of division developed from a revival that
broke out in the New Romanofsky [congregation] Church in
Los Angeles (nicknamed Chulok — literally "sock"
for uncertain reasons). The young people involved in the
ecstasy of the revival also became zealous in keeping the [Maksimisti] Molokan-Jumper
traditions and rituals.
Eventually, they became the ultraconservatives elders of the
group.74 The center of the ultra
conservative minority shifted to the Old [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Spiritual [congregation] Church on
Clark Avenue in Los Angeles which, with the 605 North Church
in Oregon, do not fellowship with other [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans. These are the "New
Zioners" referred to above.75 [These nick-named
"Clarkies" opened their doors to all Dukh-i-zhizniki after a decade of prayer
and cleansing, but were not accepted by all in return.]
There was a revival of interest and zeal for Maksim
Rudometkin's teachings and the Spirit and Life book
from the 1950s to the 1970s among American [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans and a minority of Molokans are still strongly Maksimisty
and highly critical of [those] other Molokans
who have departed from the teachings and rituals instituted
by Maksim.76 Some [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Jumper Molokans now regard Maksim's
writings as heresy, especially his self proclamation as
"King of Spirits" and the "New Jewish Messiah," and his
unfulfilled prophecies concerning the millennium. The
authenticity of some of the writings credited to Rudometkin
in the Spirit and Life book have also been
questioned recently.77 Many [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Jumper Molokans are now critical, or
at least skeptical, of Maksim's teachings and wish to stress
what they consider the more Biblical beliefs of earlier [Pryguny and Molokane] Molokans.
Some would see the move away from Maksim and [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Jumper Molokan distinctives as a
drift toward mainstream Evangelical [Christianity].78
[In this sense they are
no longer Dukh-i-zhizniki.]
In the 1980s the Re-Formed [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
Church was established in Oregon. This small group was
intent to preserve their biblical [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan heritage, but at the same
time correct what they considered to be un-biblical
doctrines and practices. One of the greatest changes was to
conduct all their worship services in the English language.
In 1987 an official newsletter was begun: The
Christian Molokan “Besednyik."
Although the Re-Formed [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans are of [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Jumper background, they are now more
like the [Pryguny] Constants in
their rejection of many of the innovations instigated by
Maksim Rudometkin. [See:
Song Taxonomy of Molokans and Jumpers for an updated
clarification of the differences.]
[In San Francisco, the
dwindling "Holy Jumper" Prygun
merged with the
Molokan congregation in the 1960s. Their
privately owned prayer house was sold by the descendants
of the man that loaned it.
About 1950, after all other Prygun congregations the US were
converted to Dukh-i-zhiznik, a Prygun congregation
immigrated from Iran, the "Persians" led by presviter Ivan L.
Lediaev. The "Persian" congregation was shunned by
American Dukh-i-zhizniki for being immigrants and
celebrating Prygun holidays,
coercing Lediaev to
move to Australia, and the remaining congregants to
convert to Dukh-i-zhizniki — "fall in line" or be
excommunicated. For most of 50 years other congregations
were reluctant to attend services at the Persian assembly,
then realized they kicked so many people out that they had
better support the few remaining.
Berokoff reports about
this holiday deviation dispute in Chapter
8, page 147. Berokoff falsely reported that Jumpers
abandoned those holidays 100 years ago, because he did not
realize there were 3 different faiths.
In the 1980s, Vasili
Sissoyev, assistant presbyter of the "Persian"
congregation, who himself was raised in the Prygun faith and
first met Dukh-i-zhizniki in the US, called the last-known meeting
of all presbyters in Southern California. He hoped to
address several topics, including educating them about
their roots as Pryguny
and the liturgy they discarded by obeying MGR and
the Dukh i zhizn'.
During the meeting, the most zealous and vocal could not
remain civil, became agitated and confused about his
message, and ended the meeting by accusing him of heresy
for telling them they should celebrate "Christmas," even
though that was not his intent or message. Oral history
about this meeting was never accurate.]
Organizations and Activities
The United [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Christian Association is
still going after seventy-five years of existence. The
U.M.C.A. moved into temporary quarters in facilities of the
First United Christian
Molokan Church of
Holy Jumpers in 1946 then to a new large building
on Gage Street in 1954. It was here that the attendance at
group sponsored activities peaked to over 600 in the 1960s [due to former members of
the YRCA]. Eventually, however, the atmosphere of
the neighborhood changed
until it was no longer considered safe for youth to attend
A property was purchased much further east in Hacienda
Heights in 1982 where the U.M.C.A. is located at present.79
[* The Mexicans lived
in relative peace with the Russians for more than half a
century, until a Dukh-i-zhiznik- racing car severely
injured a Mexican boy at the UMCA. The Dukh-i-zhizniki offered no apology,
compensation or effort to investigate their crime.
In addition to the, original Sunday School, youth
activities, and Wednesday night church services, there are Tuesday
night adult Bible classes, Tuesday night ladies Spevka (singing
practice), vacation Bible school and various seminars.
Bridal and baby showers also take place here, which are
important [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan social events. The U.M.C.A.
building is the scene of family reunions, luncheons, and
various fund raising events such as chicken and steak
dinners. The U.M.C.A. sponsors an annual picnic, a youth
camp, and sports events, including the "Borsch Bowl" in
which the Los Angeles youth challenge the youth from the
Kerman community to basketball and volley ball.80
In the 1960s an organization within the U.M.C.A., the Molokan Youth Parent
Teachers Association (M.Y.P.T.A.), energetically promoted a
host of activities and boosted Sunday School attendance
dramatically. When the U.M.C.A. relocated further east in
the 1980s to a safer neighborhood the attendance dropped
drastically due to the distance from the [Dukh-i-zhiznik assembly halls] Molokan churches
and the [dominance]
dispersal of [Dukh-i-zhizniki] the Molokan population.81 [The M.Y.P.T.A. was created
members of the Y.R.C.A.]
One of the currently most active facets of the U.M.C.A. is
the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Elementary School, begun in
1987 with a preschool program and expanded every year until
seventh grade was added in 1993-94.82 The
school currently offers classes from pre-Kindergarten to
sixth grade.83 The enrollment in 2001 was
87, and 248 other students had attended the school since it
began, including some from Oregon, Australia, and Russia.84 The aim of the school is to provide high
quality, affordable education with emphasis on [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan traditions and religious
practices including fluency in the Russian language. [By 2011, attendance had
dropped to about 50.]
The U.M.C.A. Library and Heritage Room has been part of the
organization since 1955. "Articles of historical
significance and interest to the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan community" are housed here,
including Bibles and historical books and papers,
genealogical documents, recordings of singing, antique
clothing and personal heirlooms. A sales area makes
available a variety of books, recordings, crafts, gifts and
The official publication of the LA-U.M.C.A. is a monthly
periodical called The [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
Molokan, which began
publication in a very small way probably in the [1940s] 1950s.86 A variety of articles,
announcements, and advertisements now appear in the
magazine, including spiritual articles; the dates of [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan holidays; a Russian
vocabulary page, calendars of events; [[Dukh-i-zhiznik]
Library reports; pictorial articles on community events such
as benefit dinners, the annual picnic and youth basketball
and volleyball games.87 There was a
children's feature with cartoons called "Billy Boarch*, The Making of a Super [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan ."88 The
current regular children's page featuring puzzles, quizzes
and projects is called "Molokids." [ * A proper
transliteration is "Borsch."]
The U.M.C.A. now publishes The Russian [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Directory which began in 1952 as an individual effort
to help [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans stay connected who had
moved from the old Los Angeles neighborhood. (Several
individual [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans had been responsible for
this publication in the past). The names, addresses and
phone numbers of people active in the [Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations] Molokan churches
appear in this irregularly produced volume, as well as
listings of [assemblies]
organizations, and advertisements from [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan business's.89
The Heritage Club, which describes itself as the
"Association of [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Businessmen and Professionals Dedicated to Service and
Advancement of the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Community," was established in 1979 primarily to award
college scholarships for worthy [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
youth, but also contributes to various [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
institutions and programs. The Heritage News, the
official publication of the organization, publishes an
annual "Scholarship Edition" with profiles of students
receiving scholarships. The Heritage Foundation was
established in 1996 to provide funding for these projects.
One of the recipients of Heritage Club support is the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Residence Center, a home for
the elderly opened in 1981 in the heart of the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
community in East Los Angeles.90
Center was never fully supported by the Dukh-i-zhizniki congregations as they had initially promised. The Los
Angeles congregations agreed to rotate holding services
there which rarely happened after the grand opening when
Though their kids took the
scholarships, Dukh-i-zhizniki shunned the liberal intermarried Heritage Club (HC)
members, whom they often condemned as Jack Greeners. HC
involvement with the The Resident Center may have
contributed to it's failure.
In 1960s much care was taken to best locate The
Resident Center in Boyle Heights close to the elderly population, their assemblies
and Klubnikin's Market. After construction, the location
became a major liability because the majority of Dukh-i-zhizniki, who no longer lived in the Russian ghettos — Flats,
Karakala, Boyle Heights, East LA — and were not
involved with the planning, feared the location. It was
often said that the planners were stupid for putting it in
an undesirable "Mexican" neighborhood. "Why didn't they
put it in a nice area like where I live?" The 98-bed
facility never averaged above about 20% occupancy, failed
financially, and was quietly sold in 2005. The funds
remain dormant in a Resident Center Trust.]
11. [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
[Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans refer to their
congregations as sobranie (plural: sobraniia),
which is a Russian word for gathering [meeting, or assembly]. The
meeting places are very simple structures since the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans believe that "the people
are the church not the building."91 [In contrast, the] The Constant
Molokan [prayer halls]
buildings are identified with signs, but only one [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Jumper Molokan meeting place is so
marked. Prayer meetings are often held in the homes of the
The [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Jumper Molokans rely on the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the selection of
officials. When a need is felt to fill a position in the
leadership[,] of the church the members of the
congregation wait for a sign to indicate who the right
person is. The prophets play an important, but not always
exclusive role in this selection.92 The
qualifications for ministry are "age, experience,
efficiency, religious inspiration, and virtue."93
The following is a detailed description of a [diaspora Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
worship service condensed from The Origins of [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Singing by Linda O'Brien-Rothe.
| Upon arrival at the [assembly hall]
for service, members typically wait outside until a
small group gathers. By custom, a woman must be
escorted in by a male. When the group decides to
enter, the men precede women, with the eldest male
or a visiting guest elder at the head. The group
pauses after all have entered and are facing the
congregation as it stands, acknowledging their
arrival. After the lead entering male quietly
recites a short prayer, the new arrivals seat
Recognized [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
guests, especially ranking elders, are offered
priority seating. Outsiders are usually seated with
the congregation. Except at funerals and weddings,
uninvited outsiders rarely attend a typical worship
The service is divided into two sessions: the first
seated while verses are chanted and religious
thought shared, and the second standing for prayers
and singing of songs. Plain, backless, wood benches,
skameiki, provide traditional seating for the
first part of the service. The layout of the inside
of a sobraniia evolves from the Russian peasant
cabin (izba), with a table lined by two long
benches in the corner away from the entry door. The
congregation is arranged with the women to one side
and the men around a table located toward one comer
of the room away from the entry. The elders who sit
in the front row around three sides of the table are
called prestol (literally: "at the table").
They are arranged in five groups by their functional
There are usually more singers than any other group
[at the table].
Male members and guests with no rank will sit in
rows behind the readers and prophets. Women sit
facing the presviter
and a few feet from the men. Leading women singers
sit in their front row closest to the male singers.
Prophetesses sit in their front row opposite the
lead women singers near the male prophets. Other
women and female guests sit behind these. The table
is rectangular, of dining room size, and covered
with a fine white cloth. On the table, before the presviter, lie
open the books for worship all in Russian. In order,
they are the Bible with Apocrypha, a
collection of prophetic writings (The Spirit and
Life), a collection of song texts (The
Sionskii Pesennik), and the book of prayers (Molitvennik).
- the presviter, presiding elder or
minister, sits at the end of the table facing
the congregation, and at his side, if the
congregation is large, is a pomoshchnik,
helper; to the presviter's right are
- the besedniki, speakers, and
- the pevtsy, singers; and to the
presviter's left are
- the skazateli, readers, and,
- the proroki, prophets.
The presviter coordinates the service and
recites the prayers. He rarely conducts a sermon.
That function is performed by the speakers who
usually read from and elaborate on the Bible in
Russian, and The Spirit and Life. The use of
English varies within and among congregations.
Because few youth understand Russian, it is
increasingly tolerated, especially during an
occasion when a speaker feels that English is
appropriate for the audience, or the speaker is not
fluent in Russian.
The worship service usually starts at 10:30 a.m. on
Sundays. During the first part of the service the presviter
will direct the head singer to coordinate the
singing of verses. The head singer may start a verse
himself or call upon another singer. When called
upon, a singer will begin a verse from memory
leaving it to the reader to locate and recite lines
ahead of the singers. As fewer youth learn the
rituals, increasingly this process requires singers
to call out the location by page or number of the
verse they are starting. After several verses are
sung, the head speaker is asked to coordinate the
The benches are stacked to the sides by the men at
about 11:30 a.m. for the second part of the service,
prayers and songs. The presviter stands to
the readers' side of the table, where the men have
cleared a large square area. The men stand on three
sides, and the women stand opposite the presviter.
The presviter, after listing dedication and
intentions for prayer, recites the Lord's Prayer
(often with vestigial Old Slavic words, as he
learned it from his grandfather) followed by other
prayers appropriate to the day or occasion. Some
parts of the ritual require kneeling which varies
among congregations. After prayer, the singers are
instructed to begin. Songs are sung from memory or
increasingly with the aid of songbooks brought from
home or provided by the church.
All members may sing. Readers do not recite for
songs as they do for verses. Although songs and
verses are often categorized by how appropriate they
are for different services and occasions, a seasoned
singer can creatively select a message in a song for
an uncommon situation. Often young singers are
amazed when a head singer will select a song that
has not been sung for years, because he considers it
the right song for that moment.
As singing begins in an orderly fashion beginning
with the men, the congregation will place an
offering (melosteniia) on the table (in
Russia money is placed under a towel* [to conceal one’s donation]),
and later, perform a greeting ritual in which
members give each other a "holy or brotherly
Selected songs accompany the offering and kissing.
[*After all members place
money on the table, one of the nearest elders lays
a white handkerchief flat on the table, places the
money in it and ties the opposite corners making a
bundle (uzel) which remains on the table
until after the service when the treasurer usually
collects it. Recently about half of all congregations have reinstated the
original practice of placing money into or onto a
white handkerchief placed on the table. The
motivation for change most cited is recent news
that dollar bills are contaminated with harmful
bacteria and illegal drugs – things which should
not be placed on the altar table. A few ignore the
handkerchief and place their money on the table as
they did before.]
** See: Reusser, James. "Kiss,
Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
1957. Web. 12 August 2010.
Video of Doukhobors performing their holy kiss
ritual in Russia, 2010. Move
time to 3:20-3:40.
The Brethren in the Milky Waters Area performed
kiss" with neighboring Molokane, who
were welcomed Sunday guests. Among themselves the
Brethren only kissed "brother to brother" and
"sister to sister." Though the Brethren agreed
that Molokan men
and women kissing is scriptural, many of the
Brethren women would not participate. To this news
Scott replied: "Thanks for the info on the
Mennonite Brethren and the holy kiss. I wasn't
aware of this connection. Actually, all the
'plain' groups practice the holy kiss. The more
modern Anabaptist groups have given it up though."]
Occasions arise when members will jump and one or
more may dictate or speak in Russian "in the
spirit," or decreasingly "in tongues." Although any
member may deliver a prophecy or spiritual message
during any part of the service, this function is
usually carried out by the anointed prophets in a
ritualistic manner. The service usually ends with a
prayer at noon. [See: Samarin, William J. Tongues
of Men And Angels: The Religious Language of
Pentecostalism (Macmillan, 1972) , 277 pages. When he
was a teenager, Dr. Samarin led the Y.R.C.A.
members to revitalize the U.M.C.A. beginning in
1941, which was continued by others through the
1960s. Three of his brothers are presvitery —
has a large kitchen to prepare obedy, meals,
for special occasions. Obeying the Old Testament
food laws, [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans
prepare all church meals "kosher style" (see
Leviticus 23). Meats are home grown and slaughtered
or purchased from a kosher style butcher, preferably
a [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan.
In greater Los Angeles, one remaining [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
butcher supplies almost all church
orders. After the meal is served and prayed for, and
the elders have begun eating, all serve themselves.
During each course, when the congregation is eating,
a speaker is called. After the speaker, when most
have finished a course, and before the next course
is served, songs are sung, It is not uncommon for a
prophet to deliver a prophecy, a timely message.
Besides restrooms, the [assembly hall] church
may also have a small nursery. Large congregations
may have an adjacent building for funerals (a few
congregations still prohibit coffins, considered
"unclean," in the main assembly hall, classes,
Youth only rarely participate in the regular worship
services but typically attend Bible classes on Wednesday
evenings, singing classes, Russian classes, and weddings.95 There were Sunday evening services
especially for the youth, but only one congregation now has
The prominent [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan older John K. Berokoff, when
asked, "what is a [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokan?"
responded, "A [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan is a person who sings the
Psalms." He further elaborated that when [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans no longer sang the Psalms
in their worship they would no longer be [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans.97
Certainly the singing of psalms is a vital religious
activity for the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans as well as singing verses
of Scripture in the Russian language, songs, and spiritual
songs during religious services on Sundays and holidays and
at prayer meetings, weddings, child dedications, funerals,
memorials, as well as domestic and community gatherings. All
singing is entirely a cappella and always in Russian. [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans songs were either passed
orally from one generation to the next or in handwritten
songbooks. The first printed hymnal, Bogodukhnovennyi
Pesennik (Divinely Inspired Songbook), was published
in 1915. An expanded edition called Sionskii Pesennik
(Songbook of Zion) first appeared in 1930 and had gone
through six editions by l990, the last of which was compiled
by Martin P. Orloff and contains 800 songs.98
To encourage non-Russian speakers, a songbook was published
in 1933 featuring the original Russian texts in Cyrillic
type, a phonetic transcription of the Russian words and an
English translation for each song.
Literature and Language
Twenty-seven [Molokane] dogmas
dating from 1803 serve as the official statement of faith
for the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans [who did not have such a list. About 2000
they re-plagiarized a Molokan
list first plagiarized in 1948, and added 2 items
they needed to show to the California courts.] This
document has been translated to English and is comprised of
basic statements concerning God, prayer and the church as
well as objections to Eastern Orthodox practices such as
making the sign of the cross, images of saints, bishops and
priests, incense, and clerical vestments. Articles on
baptism and communion define the view that these ordinances
are to be regarded spiritually and not to be performed
physically.99 A collection of writings
called The Book of Spirit and Life (Dukh i Zhizn’),
consisting of Bible commentary, prophecies, prayers, songs
and letters, is considered a spiritual guide for many [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans. The primary authors are
the 18th century [Prygun]
prophets, Maksim Rudometkin and David Essevich. This book
was available only in Russian until
 1966 when John Berokoff published Selections
from the Book of Spirit and Life consisting of
portions of an English translation done by John Volkoff.100
[Scott misinterpreted here, and
proofreaders didn’t correct the last sentence above.
Berokoff published a small booklet in 1945, and more
selected translations in the 1960s. In the 1945
introduction, Berokoff explains that he wanted to publish
earlier, but elders insisted it would be a waste of time
since all Dukh-i-zhizniki were to
return to Russia soon. So he waited 15+ years. By the
beginning of WWII, it was obvious to him that no one was
returning to Russia, so he defied orders and published
what he had to help inform his peers who wanted to know
what this controversial book was about. Many zealous Maksimisty were
Independently in the mis-1960s, John Volkoff translated
the entire book one summer while he was a Russian language
graduate student at the University of California,
Berkeley. He donated his manuscript to the UMCA board of
directors in the Summer of 1966 with instructions to
publish and sell it as a fundraiser. I happened to stay
late that Wednesday night and witnessed John personally
hand a sample copy (first 3 chapters?) of the manuscript
to then-president Paul Lukianov, then-vice-president Mike
Planin, and former-president Alex Thomas. During the
following year John Volkoff often attended LA-UMCA events
and was a guest speaker. He was often acclaimed for his
erudite complete translation. Volkoff was not married and
probably did not have a car or a driver's license. Often
members of the Religious Committee would give him a ride
to the UMCA. I sat near him often during Wednesday Night
youth services and many times could smell alcohol on his
breath. Within a few years after Volkoff's proposal it
became clear that the UMCA was afraid to carryout this
fundraising task. At first I suspect the elders judged the
man's outward appearance rather than his work. But most
likely, they feared excommunication, as was being done to
John K. Berekoff at that time. If they would publish this
holy book entirely in English, American pork eaters will
understand it's secret messages.
During the next decade Daniel H. Shubin proposed to
publish Volkoff’s translation and restore translations of
all the texts which had been deleted, edited out or
censored from the previous Russian versions. The missing
text was about 30% of the total. (*) Many people donated
to the Volkoff translation "as is", but Shubin changed
many terms and added a lot of footnotes, many trying to
link the S&L text to the Bible. There is a concern
that the mystery of S&L cannot be translated, nor read
and understood because it must be interpreted spiritually,
not literally. Only a select few can understand it
spiritually in Russian.
* Previous to August 2010, I wrote here: "Many people
donated to this unabridged English Spirit & Life
project. To their disappointment Shubin reneged on his
initial proposal. Instead he edited Volkoff’s work
amending it to his interpretation and added numerous
cross-references to the Bible to counter those who claimed
that the Spirit and Life is not a Christian text." Shubin
complained that I was slandering his reputation. I checked
with one sponsor of the project who verified that indeed
Shubin delivered most of what he promised. The project to
publish the missing text, or the original handwritten
notes, is unlikely due to fears of those who believe the
text is holy and intended only for the followers of
Rudomiotkin, the Maksimisty.
Most Maksimisty are
unaware that their publishers in 1928 submitted a copy to
the National Library of Congress, among other institutions
(unless they are reading this).]
Ivan G. Samarin (1857-1948) and his son, Paul I. Samarin
(1900-1976), provided most of the literature-for the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan community for many years.
Ivan was a prominent Molokan
leader who was largely responsible for bringing his people
to America. In 1915 Ivan edited and published the first
edition of the Spirit and Life. Paul, who was both a
publisher and printer, joined his father in publishing a
second edition of the book in 1928. Paul Samarin also
produced three editions of the Sionskii Pesenik Molokan [, a] songbook, three editions of
the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Directory,
and published the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Review from
1940 to 1949.101
A number of [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans have made important [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
contributions to literature in the recent past. John
K. Berokoff wrote [about
Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokans in America,
and Selections from the Spirit and Life in the
1960s. John's son Andrew J. Berokoff recently wrote [about Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans Making Decisions
which gives an insider's view of 20th century [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan struggles. In the last
several years George Mohoff and Jack Valov have compiled
fascinating, well-illustrated histories of [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan communities in California
and Mexico. Bill Babishoff has recently produced a number of
writings explaining [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan beliefs and practices for
the benefit of his own people. Daniel H. Shubin, a [Dukh-i-zhiznik
church leader, has also written a number of books
in the last few years. The U.M.C.A. [in Hacienda
Heights, CA,] has been the primary distributor of [diaspora Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
literature [in print].
13. [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Identity
How do the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans see themselves today? A
brief, but revealing statement is made in A Stroll
Through Russiantown. "A [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
is a person who embraces the traditions of the forefathers
handed down through the Holy Spirit as promised by our Lord
Jesus Christ. They are part of a social community that
upholds the heritage and culture. Those who choose to reject
the faith by joining another denomination or marrying
somebody of a different belief are no longer [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans, but are of [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan descent." In the same
publication is a list of [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
characteristics. To mention a few: "A good [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan must not receive payment for
personal services to a brother, sue a brother in court, act
in a purely individual manner in matters concerning the
family or group, reject the customs of the forefathers, to
lose himself in the ways of the world, receive charity from
an outside group." Some of the group prohibitions include
intoxicating drink or drugs of any kind, dancing, playing
cards, and going to the theatre. Early marriage is
encouraged to preserve virtue. The simple life, simple
occupations, hard work and the equality of all people are
Pauline Young reported that the Russian language was rapidly
vanishing among the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans in the 1930s. The situation
is certainly no better seventy years later, but Russian is
still the predominate ceremonial language among most [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokanss even though few members
can speak it fluently.103 The Russian
language is most vibrant in the Persian [congregation] Church,
composed of people who came to America over forty years
after the initial major migration.104 The
U.M.C.A. conducts regular classes with some students very
enthused about preserving their mother tongue. Children are
also taught songs and scriptures in the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Elementary School and there
is a regular Russian vocabulary page in The Molokan,
[a misnomer, and no
longer in print].
Contacts with the Old Country
There has always been some communication between the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans who came to America in the
early 1900s and those who stayed in Europe and Asia. A [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
elder from Los Angeles [,
Vassili Sissoyev,] attended the first International
Congress of Molokans in Moscow in 1991. The following year
30 American [Dukh-i-zhizniki and] Molokans attended the [second] same meeting
in the Ukraine. After about five years interest in the event
waned among American [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans, possibly because the great
majority of Molokans in the old country are of the [original faith which they
despise] Constant faction.105
16. [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Dress
For religious gatherings many [Dukh-i-zhizniki]
still wear a form of traditional garb. For men a long
pullover shirt (rubashka) [kosovorotka]
is usually worn untucked over the trousers. This garment has
a high standing collar and a row of buttons running half way
down the left side. A tasseled cord belt (poyas) is
generally worn over the shirt. A conventional suit coat or
vest is often worn with the traditional shirt. [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
religious leaders customarily wear beards, but this is not a
hard and fast rule. Even in the early 1900s some [Prygun and] Molokan men were clean
shaven and beards became increasingly rare toward the middle
of the century, but now are enjoying a comeback [among the young Dukh-i-zhizniki]. Currently, many men, including
some younger men, have very long, full beards. The practice
of parting the hair in the middle is still observed by some
of the most conservative [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
men [, and some
explain it is like the open Bible].
The traditional costume for [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
women consisted of a long, full skirt; a loose-fitting
long-sleeved blouse extending over the waistband of the
skirt; an apron and a head shawl (kasinka) [platok]. It was formerly a
custom for women to wear a simple cap under the head shawl.106
When the [Pryguny and]
Molokans first came to America they wore predominantly dark
colors, but now white has become regarded as a religious
symbol. Husband and wife traditional costumes in matching
pastels have become popular in recent years. Women's outfits
have incorporated more and more lace over the years.107
There are varying degrees of conviction concerning the
traditional [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan dress, but to some it is
still important. One [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan man
is quoted as saying, "We must continue to wear the old
Russian peasant clothing that our fathers wore, keep the
beard, and part the hair. Otherwise, how is God to know us
and who we are when the Great End comes?"108
There has actually been more uniformity in church- going
dress among [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans since World War II. A [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
writer expressed, "The uniformity in styles is a striking
symbol of the uniformity of faith, the oneness which should
prevail among all Christians."109
However, outside of worship occasions most [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans are not as obviously
different from their neighbors. The most conservative women
have long hair and wear only dresses. Many men, especially
elders, do not wear short pants.110 Many
photographs appearing in The Molokan [Dukh-i-zhiznik] publication picture men with long,
full beards and women in head shawls, but these people
appear to be in the minority and are mostly elderly people.
The vast majority of the people pictured at various [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan social events wear
completely fashionable clothing. It is only among the "New
Zion" [Maksmist] faction that [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans wear traditional dress [styles] on a daily
basis [, but not finer Sunday clothes].111
There has actually been more uniformity in church-going
dress among [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans since World War II. There
is still very much a belief among [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans that Christians should be
separate from the world
Separation from the World
There is still very much a belief among [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans that Christians should be
separate from the world. Their own stories of persecution
and martyrdom support their conviction that true Christians
are despised and hated by the secular world and by false
religion. Many [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans are very cautious about
sharing their ways and beliefs with outsiders. Those who do
make information available to researchers and students are
often criticized. In 1975 a group of [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Jumper Molokan singers from Los
Angeles were [invited]
to take part in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in
Washington, D.C. and for the first time ever perform [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan singing outside the
community.112 However, they encountered
so much criticism that efforts to bring a group [of Dukh-i-zhizniki] to the 1995 festival were
unsuccessful. As it turned out, Constant
Molokans from San Francisco and Russia did take part [to the deep disappointment
of a choir of Maksimisty
from Stavropol province who elected their best
singers in a remarkable act of non-partisan cooperation,
and had their visas and passports ready to go].113
Concerned [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
parents are fearful of the corrupting influences of public
schools, colleges, jobs and non-[Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan friends on their children.
They view their children's absence from religious meetings
and their refusal to wear the traditional church garb
as signs of rebellion. Drinking, drug use, and sexual
promiscuity are considered very much out of order in
traditional Molokan homes. "Marrying out" is still one of
the most serious offenses among practicing [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans.114 If a
[Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan marries an outsider he or
she is cut off from participation in any religious
activities and the non-Molokan spouse and the children
of mixed couples are normally not welcome in religious
services. Marrying within the faith at an early age is seen
as a deterrent to getting too involved in the non-Molokan
In some [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
circles higher education is still regarded with caution.116 Children are taught that [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans are nash (ours) or
svoy (our own) and that non-[Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans are nye nash (not
our own). Visitors may or may not be welcome in [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
services depending on the mindset of the elders.117 [In
the 2000s, guests, even real Molokane, are not welcome in some Dukh-i-zhizniki
congregations.] Converts are very
rare and are usually limited to those who can speak Russian.118 It is the general feeling that one has
to be born of [zealous
Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan parents to truly be [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan. There are a few exceptions
to the general rule. A number of Armenians
converted to the [Prygun faith]
before they came to America. Their descendants are full
members of the group.119 At least a dozen
people of non-[Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
background have married into the group[s] and participate in the
services. Most of these are at the "Big Church" in Los
several joined the Molokane
in San Francisco.]
18. [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokans Survival
Thus we have seen that the [Pryguny were extiguished and replaced by the most
zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki who] Molokans
have survived into the twenty-first century [fulfilling] despite
Pauline Young's prophecy of doom in 1932. Present day [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans protest that Young "saw
only the problems"121 concerning their
people. Indeed, present day [Dukh-i-zhizniki]
have their share of problems (who doesn't?!), but if we
concentrate on their many positive aspects, the future of
the group looks promising. To say that [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans will prosper and flourish
during this new century would be overly optimistic, but to
predict that there will still be [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans in 2100 seems within the
realm of reality. Indeed, the Molokans [Spiritual Christian Molokane, Pryguny, and Dukh-i-zhizniki] have survived very adverse
conditions in Europe and Asia where there are at least 150
congregations scattered through [the Former Soviet Union —]
Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Bulgaria,
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kirgizstan.122
American [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans have reflected on how they
could have fared better in the New World. Firstly, they
realize that their biggest mistake was settling in the city.
Actually, they only intended to remain in the city
temporarily until they could get on their feet and purchase
farms.123 Andrew J. Berokoff, (son of
historian John K. Berokoff), in his [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans
Making Decisions124 expounds on why
the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans have lost so many of their
children to worldly society. He describes how the first
immigrants were so preoccupied with there survival that
older children were often unsupervised while parents put in
ten-hour workdays six days a week. After initially trying to
avoid public schools the [Dukh-i-zhizniki]
eventually saw that secular education was necessary. In
time, however, the influence of teachers with radically
different values was blamed for drawing many youth away from
the faith. Religious proselytizers also attracted many [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan youth, especially
Pentecostal groups including the Foursquare Gospel Church of
Aimee Semple McPherson. Interestingly, a Grace Brethren
preacher named Jack Green worked among [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
youth in the 1940s and 50s organizing the Young Russian
Christian Association (YRCA).
He also ministered in the [Prygun] Molokan
community in Mexico.125
Far more than religious enticements, Berokoff credits
"plain-ol'e-sins" (drugs, sex, divorce) and apathy as the
main forces which have led youth and even adults astray. It
is stated that many [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan girls are determined to
remain true to the faith but there are not enough faithful
young men for marriage partners. Many have been
disillusioned with [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan traditions, and have been
frustrated by the continued use of the Russian language. He
also describes [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans who "are proud of their
‘heritage’ as long as others and not they are practicing it.
They do not want to be 'tied down' with having to practice
what their heritage represents."
Will the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans of the future be the same
as they are now? Perhaps a minority will retain the group
characteristics held dearly today, but the majority will no
doubt continue to adapt to the changing environment as they
have since 1932. Will the change-minded party eventually
give up most or all distinctive [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan beliefs and practices and
become absorbed into mainstream Christianity? Will the conservatives
retain their young and maintain a large enough gene pool to
continue indefinitely into the future? These are questions
faced by all nonconformed Christian groups. We are also
faced with the inescapable, ever encroaching urbanism that
the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans have coped with for nearly
I'm sure Pauline Young would be surprised to hear ancient
Russian Psalms still being sung in East Los Angeles. She
would be amazed that the "insidious penetrating corrosives
of urban life" have not [entirely] obliterated the [Spritual Christians] Molokans as
she predicted seventy years ago. [And, she would be facinated to learn
that their survival mechanism was being accomplished by
the most zealous minor faction who were conquering the Pryguny in plain
sight under her nose. The original Dukhovnie kristian prygun
faith examined by Young had been obliterated in the West
by Maksimisty who transformed it to their image — a more
strict, ritualistic, fractionated religioius family of Dukh-i-zhizniki.]
census in 1918, no comprehensive population counts have
been done. In the 1980s, I mapped a geo-frequency
distribution from 3-digit postal ZIP-Codes of unique addresses from
the 1980 directory, updated in 2010. Hardwick adapted my 1980 map for
her PhD thesis and book (page 93).
2010 indicates that the diaspora descendants of Pryguny and Molokane who have
not been "obliterated" and who still self-identify with
the ethnic groups or faiths which they call "Molokan", are
a small fraction of the total descendants, less than 5%. No more descendants of
diaspora Molokane and
Dukh-i-zhizniki combined attend a regular assembly meeting,
including holidays, in the US and Australia during any
year than had immigrated — 2,500 maximun, probably less. A
much smaller total fraction regularly attends assembly
more than once a month. 100-year diaspora growth has been
zero at best, probably minus.
- Arthur Piepkorn, Profiles in
Belief, Vol. II, Protestant Denominations
(NewYork:Harper and Row, 1978), 509-517.
Serge Bolshakoff, Russian Nonconformity
(Philadelphia: Westminster, 1950), 97-1 10.
Richard A. Morris, Three Russian Groups in Oregon: A
Comparison of Boundaries in a Pluralistic Environment
(Ph.D., University of Oregon, 198 1), 54-59.
A. I. Klibanov, translated by Ethel Dunn, History of
Religious Sectarianism in Russia (New York:
Pergamon, 1982), 62-66, 151-167.
- Pauline V. Young, The Pilgrims of
Духовных Хрисиан Прыгунов в Америке, The Community of
Spiritual Christian Jumpers in America : The Struggle
of a Primitive Religious Society to Maintain Itself in
an Urban Environment.] (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1932), 271. [Also see a graph that Dr. Waters
made from Young's data: Figure
Official Delinquencies Recorded for Molokan Russian
Boys in East Los Angeles.]
- Young, 276.
- Young, 22,30.
- John K. Berokoff, [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans in
America (Los Angeles, 1969), 101.
- George Mohoff and Jack Valov, A
Stroll Through Russiantown (1996), 203-205.
- Berokoff, 97.
- Moboff/Valov, 204.
- Mohoff/Valov, 213-216.
- Berokoff, 97-98,
Andrew Conovaloff correspondence, 10/28/2002.
[Also see a graph
that Dr. Waters
made from Young's data: Figure
Official Delinquencies Recorded for Molokan Russian
Boys in East Los Angeles.]
- Berokoff, 74.
- Alex F. Wren, True Believers
Prisoners for Conscience (n.p. the author, 1991).
- Berokoff, 98.
- Berokoff, 111-112.
- Berokoff, 120.
- Berokoff, 12 1.
- Berokoff, 133.
- Directory of Civilian Public
Service (Washington D.C.: The National Service
Board for Religious Objectors, [1947) xix. Listed as
"Russian Molokan (Christian Spiritual Jumpers)."
- Berokoff, 134.
[Also see "Federal
Prison in the Fifies", MANAS
Journal, (XIII:52) December 28, 1960, page
2-3, describing a Dukh-i-zhiznik
CO in prison.]
- Berokoff, 128.
- The [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Review, August 1944.
- Berokoff, 134.
- Telephone interview with Andrew J.
Berokoff, July 20,2002.
- Telephone interview with Andrew
Conovaloff, Oct. 19,2001.
- Reporter for Conscience Sake,
- Mohoff/Valov, 13 8-140.
- Andrew Conovaloff letter, April
- Molokan HomePage,
- Willard Moore, [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
and Memories of an Ethnic Sect. Folklore Studies:
28. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973),
- Andrew Conovaloff, "Spiritual
Christian-Molokan Obschininy", 1992. (unpublished list).
- Moore, 8.
- Harry J. Shubin, "History of the
Russian Molokan Spiritual Christian Jumpers Faith" in
The American Molokan (Clovis, CA: Molokan Directory,
- Conovaloff interview.
- Young, 251-263.
- George W. Mohoff, The Russian
Colony of Guadalupe [Pryguny] Molokans
in Mexico (1993);
Susan Hardwick, Russian
: Religion, Migration, and Settlement on the
North American Pacific Rim. (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1993) 97.
- Stephen P. Dunn and Ethel Dunn,
"Molokans [and Dukh-i-zhizniki] in America," Dialectical
Anthropology, 1978, Vol. 3, 354.
- Conovaloff, "Molokan [and Dukh-i-zhiznik] Obschiny",
Conovaloff letter, April 9, 2002.
- Mohoff/Valov, 126-128.
- Dunn, 352.
- Hardwick, 98.
- Mohoff/Valov, 121.
- Conovaloff, Molokan [and Dukh-i-zhiznik] Obschiny.
The Russian [Molokan and
Directory 2000. Hacienda Heights, CA: U.M.C.A.,
- Letter from Andrew Conovaloff, Feb.
- Hardwick, 98.
- Morris, 61.
- Hardwick, 115-116.
[Also see Freedom
for an Old Believer, Chapter
6 and Chapter
18, for a
first hand account of how a few Dukh-i-zhizniki invited and helped Old
Believers to resettle near them in Woodburn, Oregon.]
- Shubin, 3.
- Moore, 6.
- Shubin, 35.
- The American [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
(Clovis, Cal.: Molokan [and Dukh-i-zhiznik] Directory,
- Holidays of Molokan Subgroups, [now:
— songs, holidays, prophets, communion and books."]
Religious Holidays 2002
According to Edward J, Samarin, a former minister of the
San Francisco Molokan Church, Annunciation, Ascension,
Transfiguration, and Epiphany are minimally observed if
at all. Telephone interview July 22, 2002.
- Conovaloff interview and Conovaloff
letter of April 2002.
- Moore, 14.
- O'Brien-Rothe, 11.
[Listen to samples of the varieties of Molokan singing:
- Dunn, 352.
- Moore, 9.
- Berokoff, 53.
- Conovaloff letter.
- Moore, 8-10,
(Potrero Hill is the home community of the infamous
football player, O.J. Simpson. [He lived in the projects on the
- Conovaloff letter April 2002.
- Hardwick, 98.
- Mohoff/Valov, 146;
A. Berokoff 1-2;
- Berokoff, 203.
- Andrew Berokoff interview July 20,
- Conovaloff interview and April 2002
- Moore, 25.
- Conovaloff letter, April 2002
- Moore, 24.
- Conovaloff interview;
A. Berokoff interview.
- Clark Avenue Letter.
- Open Letter.
- Conovaloff interview.
- Mohoff/Valov. 206-213.
- The Russian Molokan [and Dukh-i-zhiznik] Directory
2000. (Hacienda Heights, Ca.: U.M.C.A., ),
122. The Molokan, Feb. 1992, 1.
- Conovaloff, April 2002 letter.
- Mohoff/Valov, 66.
- Molokan Directory, 124.
- [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
School Newsletter, Dec. 5, 2001.
- Mohoff/Valov, 223, 224,
Molokan Directory, 123.
- Conovaloff letter.
- Molokan [and Dukh-i-zhiznik] Directory,
- The [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan,
Feb. 1922, 20-21.
- Molokan [and Dukh-i-zhiznik]
- Mohoff/Valov, 249-56,
The Heritage News, various issues 1989-1991.
- Mohoff/Valov, 89.
Public Sphere in Late Imperial Russia Department of
Ohio State University. Paper Presented at the
Conference: “Sacred Stories: Religion and Spirituality
in Modern Russian Culture”, University of Illinois,
February 23, 2002. (89 KB, .PDF file. Read with
Acrobat Reader.) Accompanying diagram
of the 1886 Kolesnikov prayer house in Baku.]
- Morris, 287-288.
- Mohoff/Valov, 89.
- Linda O'Brien-Rothe. The Origins
of Prygun Molokan
Singing, The Molokan Heritage Collection Volume IV
(Berkley, CA: Highgate
Road Social Science Research Station, 1989),7-10.
Another detailed account of Molokan worship appears in
- Moore, 17, 26, 33.
- Conovaloff interview.
- O'Brien-Rothe 1.
- O'Brien-Rothe, 11-15.
Conovaloff, April, 2002 letter.
were not arranged in any order and needed an an
alphabetical index of first lines to locate the song
number. Orloff's version is arranged alphabetically by
first line, similiar to the Canadian Doukhobor song
collection, but is not uniformly accepted by all Dukh-i-zhizniki. In 2004 a new
songbook was published in Armenia by Telegin which
duplicated 799 songs from the American songbook and
added 409 sung in Armenia (numbers 780 through 1208),
and included the American prayerbook in the back
section, all in in one volume of nearly a thousand
Principles of the True Spiritual Christian Russian
Molokans -- Dukh-i-zhizniki
(Clovis, CA: Molokan Directory, 1982).
- Moore, 12. Conovaloff letter.
- Mohoff./Valov, 78-82.
- Mohoff/Valov, 95. Used by
- Mohoff/Valov, 100.
- Conovaloff interview.
- Conovaloff letter, April 2002.
between Molokane and
Dukh-i-zhizniki in the Former Soviet
Union and the diaspora appears broad, but is no
different than the disconnect among Dukh-i-zhizniki in the US. In 1991-92
a Molokan Liasion Committee was organized to collect
and distribute humanitarian aid to ethnic Molokans in
Most of the work was done by a few people and
collective efforts severely declined by 1997. Some
American and Australian Dukh-i-zhizniki send money to a few
select individuals or for specific projects, mainly
building selected new prayer houses or to print a Dukh-i-zhizniki songbook. Those who do not
contribute money and/or avoid organizing aid appear to
believe, or behave, as if they are "chosen" because
their ancestors obeyed the prophesy for the pakhod
Therefore, those left behind in Russia are not
"chosen", or worthy as brothers. The quiet
discrimination is widespread among the diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki, though hundreds would
like to help but lack information and guidance. Since
2000, most aid is being sent to Armenia via the
approximately 25 who migrated to America and those who
embrace them. One hopeful immigrant here reported that
he earns, collects and sends $1000 each month.]
- Mohoff/Valov, 28, and numerous
photographs throughout the book.
Another excellent source of photographs showing Molokan
dress is George W. Mohoff, The Russian Colony of
Molokans in Mexico (1993).
- Conovaloff letter, April 2002
- Moore, 19.
- Mohoff/Valov, 30.
- Conovaloff interview.
- Andrew Berokoff interview, July 20,
- Mohoff/Valov, 142-144.
- Conovaloff letter, April 2002.
- Moore, 15-16.
- Moore, 18.
- Moore, 18.
- Morris, 302-307.
- Morris, 311-312,
- Monis, 359.
- Conovaloff letter.
- Moore, 2.
- Conovaloff, "Molokan Obschichiny".
- Mohoff/Valov, 118-119.
- Andrew J. Berokoff, [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans
Making Decisions, n.p. 1998.
- Homer A. Kent, Conquering
A history of the Brethren Church (the National
Fellowship of Brethren Churches)], (Winona
Lake, IN.: BMH Books, 1972), 181.
A. [Spiritual Christians] Molokans
in Europe and Asia
Bolshakoff, Serge, Russian Nonconformity.
Philadelphia: Westminster, 1950.
Breyfogle, Nicolas, Heretics
and Colonizers: Religious Dissent and Russian Colonization
of Transcaucasia, 1830-1890. Ph.D. dissertation.,
University of Pittsburgh, 1999.
Conovaloff, Andrew J., Molokan Heritage Collection
Volume III: Where Molokans Lived in Russia, Berkeley,
Road Social Science Research Station, 1983.
Conybeare, Frederick C., Russian Dissenters. New
York: Russel and Russel, 1950.
Donskov, Andrew; Ethel Dunn; L. V. Gladovka; John
Wordsworth, A Molokan's Search for Truth: the
Correspondence of Leo Tolstoy and Fedor Zheltov,
Berkeley, CA: Highgate
Social Science Station, 2001.
Dunn, Dr. Stephen P. and Ethel, collectors, Molokan
Heritage Collection Volume I: Reprints of Articles
and Translations, (Berkeley, CA: Highgate Road
Social Science Research Station), 1983.
Hoover, Peter and Serguei V. Petrov, The
Russians’ Secret, Shippensburg, PA.: Benchmark
Klibanov, A. I., translated by
Ethel Dunn, History of Religious Sectarianism in
Russia, 1860s-1917, New York: Pergamon, 1982.
Klibanov, A. I., Molokan Heritage Collection
Volume V: Spiritual Christian Communalists in 19th Century
Russia. Translated by Dr. Stephen P. Dunn and Ethel
Dunn, (Berkeley, CA: Highgate Road
Science Research Station), 1983.
Paul. "Development of Russian Sectarianism," Chapter
VI in Outlines of Russian Culture, Part 1, Religion and
the Church. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania
Piepkorn, Arthur, "Russian Molokan Spiritual Christians" in
Profiles in Belief, Vol. II, Protestant Denominations,
New York: Harper and Row, 1978, pp. 511-517.
Shakarian, Demos, The Happiest People on Earth.
(Armenian Molokans) Old Tappan, N.J.: Chosen Books:
Distributed by F. H. Revel Co., 1975.
Beliefs and Practices ([Dukh-i-zhiznik]
[Books in RED were missed or
published after this article was submitted. Comments in
Babishoff, Bill William, Sermons of the Beliefs and
Doctrines of the Christian Russian [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Faith for Church and Home, 1994.
Babishoff, Bill William, Intentions of and Instructions
for the Bride and Groom Beginning and During a [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Babishoff, Bill William, Announcements and Petitions for
Boys and Girls.
Babishoff, Bill William, False
Accusations and Misunderstandings Concerning the
Spiritual Christian [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Religion and the Book Spirit
and Life, (Montebello CA). 1995. 133 pages.
Berokoff, Andrew J., [S&L-user] Molokans Making
Berokoff, John K., Molokans in America, (Los
Angeles), 1969. Updated as Dukhizhizniki in America
Berokoff, John K., Selections from the Spirit and Life,
(Whittier, CA: Stockton Trade Press), 1966.
Dogmas-Principles of the True Spiritual Christian
Russian Molokans, Since 1803. (Clovis, CA: Molokan
Directory), 1982. Edited
by Dukh-i-zhizniki from Molokan sources,
because Dukh-i-zhiznik had no simple written
Kotoff, Alex A., [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Funeral Preparation Guidelines.
Mohoff, George W. The Russian Colony of Guadalupe: [Pryguny] Molokans in
Mohoff, George and Jack Valov, A Stroll Through
Mohoff, George W., The
(forthcoming). [Published November
2003. 380 pages, 170 photographs.]
Orloff, Paul J., The
Memiors of Paul John Orloff. Self-published 2008. 568 pages.
Prohoroff, William W., Maxsi'm Gavarilovich Rudometkin
"King of Spirits": Leader of New Israel ([Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokans),
The Russian [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Directory 2000. Hacienda Heights, CA: U.M.C.A.
Samarin, George, Marital Morality for all Seasons,
Shubin, Daniel H., Selections
from the Book of the Sun: Spirit and Life, 1988. 23
of Ages, 1999; Attributes
of Heaven and Earth. Philadelphia: Xlibris,
and Covenants. Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2000: Monastery
Prisons. Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2001.
Shubin, Harry J., A Collection of
Articles and Pictures, 2003. 81 pages, 92
Shubin, Harry J., [Ethnic]
Molokan History: A
pictorial chronology with an outline of Russia,
2003. 20 pages, 50 color illustrations.
Shubin, Harry J., "History of the Russian Molokan Spiritual
Christian Jumpers Faith" in The American Molokan. Clovis,
Shubin, Peter P., [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Christian Brotherhood of America. 199-.
U.M.C.A., Christian [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Holy
Veronin, Fae, Arizona [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokans.
Wren, Alex F. True Believers Prisoners for Conscience,
1991. Arizona Pryguny jailed
C. [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Dukh i zhizn’ (Spirit and Life), Russian language
American editions in 1915, 1928, 1947, 1975, 1993. Molokans
in Armenia published an edition in 1985 and the Persian
Church in Los Angeles published its own version in the
Pivovaroff, James Moses, Translations from the book
Spirit and Life, Portions of Morning Star and Copies of
Original Manuscripts of M.G. Rudometkin, Australia,
Volkoff, John, Spirit and Life (English translation
of 1928 edition of Dukh i Zhizn’) Los Angeles, CA,
Sionskii Pesennik ([Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Songbook). Eleven
increasingly larger editions from 1915 to 1990.
John K. Berokoff, translator, Book of Prayer and Songs,
Los Angeles, CA: Paul I. Samarin, 1944.
Molokan Songs/Phonetics, 1993. [Selections from the
Sionskii Pesennik to teach youth.]
Molitvenik ([Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Prayer Book), several
Babishoff, Bill William, Prayers from the [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
Molokan Prayer Book with Translations in English,
D. Molokan Periodicals
Spiritual Christian Molokan News, Sponsored by the First Russian
Christian Molokan Church of San Francisco and the Molokan
Liaison Committee, San Francisco, CA, 1990s. Featured
international news about the reimerging Molokan faith and
organization in the Former Soviet Union.
The Christian [Prygun] Molokan
"Besednyik," The official newsletter of The First
ReFormed Christian [Prygun] Molokan
Church, (Woodburn, OR), 1997-. Short-term publication which
Molokan Review. Published by Paul I. Samarin, Los
Angeles, CA, annual appeared 1939-1950.
The [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan, The Official
News Bulletin of the United [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Christian Association.
(Whittier, CA), 1950s-200_. The UMCA suspended support.
Heritage News, Association of [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan
Businessmen & Professional dedicated to Service and
Advancement of the [Dukh-i-zhiznik] Molokan Community, 1980s-. For the
promotional first five years, circulation was 4500+, then suddenly limited in
1985 to less than 700 donors and with less news.
F. American [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
History and Sociology (Non-[Dukh-i-zhiznik]
Dunn, Stephen P. and Ethel. "Molokans [and Dukh-i-zhizniki] in America." Dialectical
Anthropology, Vol. 3, (1978).
Hardwick, Susan W. Russian Refuge. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1993.
Hardwick, Susan W. "Religion and Migration: The Molokan [and Dukh-i-zhiznik] Experience," Yearbook of the
Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, Vol. 55
(1993), pp, 127-141.
Jackson, Sidney. The [Pryguny]
Molokans: A Study of a Religious Minority, unpublished
paper in Intensified Studies, the Social Studies Division,
George Fox College, Oregon, 1962.
Lineva, Evgeniia. "Psalms and Religious Songs of Russian
Sectarians in the Caucasus," in Report of the Fourth
Congress of the International Music Society. London,
1912, pp. 187-201.
Lunkin, Roman and Prokof’yev, Anon. "Molokans [Dukh-i-zhizniki] and
Dukhobors: Living Sources of Russian Protestantism." Religion,
State & Society, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2000.
Marco (Roosevelt High School, Grade 12), A History of [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans
in Boyle Heights, from Boyle Heights: America In The
Mirror, the "project is to enable students to apply
Social Studies skills, concepts, and themes to the study of
local history and geography." May, 1998.
Mazo, Margarita. "Change
Confirmation of Continuity as Experienced by Russian [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans."
In Retuning Culture: Musical Changes in Central and
Eastern Europe, edited by M. Slobin, 254-75. Duram:
Duke University Press, 1996.
Moore, Willard Burgess. [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
Oral Tradition: Legends and Memories of an Ethnic Sect.
Folklore Studies: 28. Berkley, CA: University of California
Moore, Willard Burgess. Russian [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
Molokan Religious Legends.
Masters thesis. University of California, Berkeley, 1971.
Moore, Richard Haas. Prisoners in the promised land: the
Story of the [Pryguny] Molokans
in World War I. Masters thesis. Arizona State
A. Three Russian Groups in Oregon: A Comparison of
Boundaries in a Pluralistic Environment. Ph.D.
dissertation. University of Oregon, 1981.
Muranaka, Therese. The Russian [Prygun] Molokan
Colony at Guadalupe, Baja California: Continuity and
Change in a Sectarian Community. Ph.D. Dissertation,
University of Arizona, 1992.
O'Brien-Rothe, Linda. The Origins of [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
The Molokan Heritage Collection Volume IV.
Berkeley, CA: Highgate
Road Social Science Research Station, 1989.
Story, Sydney Rochelle. Spiritual Christians in Mexico:
Profile of a Russian Village. Ph.D. dissertation,
University, of California, Los Angeles, 1960.
Turkdogan, Dr. Orhan. Molokan Heritage
Collection Volume II: Molokans in Turkey. Berkeley, CA: Highgate Road
Social Science Research Station, 1983. [Accurate title : Russian Sectarians Volume II:
Molokane, Pryguny, Dukh-i-zhizniki, Dukhobortsy, and Staroveri in
Waters, Tony. Crime
and Immigrant Youth. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Young, Pauline V. The
in Los Angeles 1929. American Journal of Sociology. vol. 35 (1929), pp.
Pauline V. Young, Pauline V. The Pilgrims of Russian-Town :
Общество Духовных Хрисиан Прыгунов в Америке, The
Community of Spiritual Christian Jumpers in America : The
Struggle of a Primitive Religious Society to Maintain
Itself in an Urban Environment. (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1932), 296 pages. Reprinted in
1986 by United [Dukh-i-zhiznik]
Young, Pauline V. The
Pilgrims of Russian-Town : obščestvo duchovnych christian prygunov v
Amerikě, the Community of spiritual Christian jumpers in
America : the struggle of a primitive religious society to
maintain itself in an urban environment, Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1932.
For Further Study
You can e-mail the author at: Stephen E Scott
See a similiar article: "Quakers
and Doukhobors: Common Ground and Crossing Paths",
researched and written by Joan Lowe, Assistant Archivist
of the American Friends Service Committee. (Linked from http://www.doukhobor.org/stories.html)
Links to information about Old Order River
Brethren, and similiar groups (Updated April
- "The Old Order River Brethren are a conservative group
that is neither Amish nor Mennonite but rather Brethren
in Christ in origin." [Source off-line now.]
along the Susquehanna River"
Order River Brethren, Who Are They?
Plain Women: Gender and Ritual in the Old Order
Women: Gender and Ritual in the Old Order River
Brethren (Amazon.com review)
- 2003 North America Mennonite
& Brethren in Christ Churches: Members:
Groups — compare
the "The Brethren
Card" to "Principles
of the [Dukh-i-zhizniki]
Spiritual Christian Russian Molokans, Since
Comprising 27  Articles"
- Church of the
- Third Way Cafe: Who are the
Church Canada Structure
- Adherents.com: Old
Order River Brethren and Old
Order (or Yorker) River Brethren
- Canadian Mennonite Encyclopedia Online: Plain
- Reformed Reader: Chapter
the Church of the Brethren and Other Brethren Groups
which stem from the Schwarzenau Brethren, 1708",
by Lois C. Byrem, Strasburg, Pennsylvania.
United Brethren — Famous River Brethren: Dwight D.
Eisenhower, U.S. President (born into River Brethren,
but raised mainly in Jehovah's Witnesses)
- More: Google search for "Conservative
Mennonites", Brethren, "Plain People"
- EXTRA CREDIT: Did Pryguny
adapt "leaping ... dancing ... jumping" from the
Mennonite Jumpers (Brethren) in Russia, and did the
German Brethren in Russia examine/change their "holy
kiss" after meeting Molokane and Pryguny.