Dukh-i-zhizniki in America
An update of Molokans in America (Berokoff, 1969). IN-PROGRESS
Enhanced and edited by Andrei Conovaloff, since 2013. Last update: 4 June 2018. Send comments to < Administrator @ Molokane. org >
Original: Molokans in America © 1969 by John K. Berokoff, 3478 East 5th Street, Los Angeles, California 90063, USA
Privately Printed by Stockton-Doty Trade Press, Inc. Whittier, Calif., 208 pages.
Contents Updated 23 December 2017
Original page count by chapter
Review of Original Book
4 June 2018
1 July 2016
Introduction: The Flight to the Refuge
13 Nov 2016
Why Did They Wait So Long in Russia?
Why Did Most Stay Home?
2 Mar 2018 1
The Migration 11
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The First Years 32
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11 May 2017 3
Attempts at Farming 51
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The First World War 63
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Post War Problems 77
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1 July 2016
Appearance of New Leaders 103
The Second World War 109
|||||||||| |||||||| 18 1 July 2016 8
Aid to Brethren in Iran 138
|||||||||| 10 1 July 2016 9
Addenda Petitions and Letters 157
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10 July 2017
|| 2 inside
Review of Original BookMolokans in America, a book NOT about Molokans, was the first history book in English by a Dukh-i-zhiznik for American Dukh-i-zhizniki. Published in 1969, it was the last of several books by the late author and translator John Kereich Berokoff (1898-1972), and his only book with photos and tables.
The book is biased with many errors and omissions which have never been addressed on the scale presented here. It can be found in several libraries and online. It's not about Molokans!
My main reasons for extensively correcting the book are:
Though partially authoritative, the book was never a verified source, nor fact checked, nor scrutinized. Because many descendants of Dukh-i-zhizniki refer to this privately printed book for their history, and scholars often consulted and cited it as a reference which spread disinformation, this book needed to be extensively questioned, investigated, corrected and updated historically revised. It's about Dukh-i-zhizniki, not Molokans.
- The title and labels are very misleading (Did I say it's not about Molokans?),
- Much unbiased history is needed with citations,
- Lack of visual aids, context and index, and
- Missing Addenda.
This Review is a preface to a work in-progress that should be periodically checked for updates, time stamped above. Because so much of this history is forgotten, unclear, confused, and polluted with myth and rumor, the certainty of information here will be rated as fact, a correlation, or inference; and what data may be missing.
In Black Font the reader will find the original text, and in Red Font changes and comments, with hyperlinks to more information on the Internet. The current Russian alphabet is used, updating pre-1918 Russian texts. Square brackets are used for original footnotes, and added data. Simple HTML code is used for quick download and multi-platform accessibility on desktop and mobile computers.
About the Author
JOHN K. BEROKOFF (1898-1972) was born 16 February 1898 in the village of Voskresenovka, Erivan Governorate, Russia (now Lermontova, Armenia). He was the last of 12 children of Kiray Timofeyitch Berokoff. Their village neighbored Nikitino village, Yerevan guberniya, Russia (now Fioletovo, Republic of Armenia), the hometown of M.G. Rudomyotkin, founder of the Spiritual Christian Maksimist faith, and E.G. Klubnikin (Klubnikinist faith founder) who had a legendary boyhood vision about a land of refuge, also a popular theme among staroobriadsty.
Family oral history reports 3 immigrant Biryukov (Бирюков) brothers landing at Ellis Island, New York. When they saw long lines (queues) of people waiting, they decided to split into 3 lines thinking they will save time by finishing together. After processing they compared immigration documents. Each was given a different name in English Berekoff, Berokoff, Berukoff. There was no standardized transliteration of languages at that time.
In 1907 the Berokoff family arrived in Los Angeles when John (Vanya) was about 9 years old. The Los Angeles City Directory, 1909 (page 148) shows his family address as Kire Berokov, 503 Turner street, in the crowded Bethlehem district among thousands of arriving and departing Spiritual Christians, a Jewish center, other nationalities of "undesirable immigrants" (illiterate, unskilled, not from western or northern Europe), bars, prostitutes, drunks, migrant workers, homeless and destitute; and several settlement organizations serving immigrants from around the world and the poor.
Many Jews from Russia and Japanese lived in his "Bethlehem" neighborhood. A block south from his house across First street, was the first east side Hebrew school and synagogue, Congregation Talmud Torah at 114 Rose St (1904-1910), which gradually moved to 247 Breed Street, and by 1923 built the largest Orthodox congregation west of Chicago, which Dr. Young may have attended.
Like his peers, J. K. Berokoff began full-time work about age 16, avoiding junior high school. His first job was in a reed furniture factory, probably downtown with other immigrants, who were taught reed weaving, rattan, furniture building and other sloyd trades in free vocational classes. His next job was collecting rubbish, which was a preferable profession among his peers because little education was needed and they had flexible hours allowing them to attend most all religious meetings (sobranie, holidays, funerals, etc.). ("John K. Berokoff (1971): 'The simpler our faith, the better it tastes,' "a 75 minute 2-part interview on CD with text introduction by James J. Samarin, 2001. Photo on CD courtesy Andrew J. Berokoff.)
When they moved east across the Los Angeles River into the "Flat(s)", his family attended Romanovskii sobraniya (also called: Klubnikin, Podval, Shubin), 114 S. Clarence street, next to the Klubnikin bakery, just south of First street in "The Flat(s)." Named after Romanovo village, Kars Oblast, this congregation split into 3 faiths by the 1960s. The evolved original postoyannie congregation is now at 15052 Clark avenue, Hacienda Heights, with a branch in Oregon. Starii Romanovskii (Old Romanovsky) became "Blue Top", 322 Clela street. His family followed the Novie Romanovskoe (New Romanov) branch to 3553 Beswick street, nicknamed Freeway sobranie because it bordered a freeway; and in 2010 relocated 10 miles southeast to South Whittier. At least 3 congregations split from "Freeway" one to South Australia before his death; and after his death, one each to Oregon and Porterville, CA. Berokoff's heritage Romanovka congregation divided the most (5+ times) of any of the diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki faiths, which today all falsely claim to be the "true Molokan" faith.
In his youth he also attended the Young Peoples Meeting (molodoe sobraniya) which zealously embraced the Dukh-i-zhiznik ritual books, charismatic jumping, prophesy, and opposed both the U.M.C.A. (since 1926) and Y.R.C.A. (since 1941, 2 years after it was founded in 1939).
Berokoff lived close to the core population of Dukh-i-zhizniki and other Spiritual Christian groups on the East-side of Los Angles his entire life, where he had good exposure to most events and issues of his generation, and attempted to coordinate among conflicting congregations and clans during his controversial volunteer service with social scientists and as C.P.S. liaison during WWII. He was more self-educated compared to his peers, probably more fluent in Russian and English, and probably typed.
His exposure to social science research and historical documentation began in the mid-1920s when he, and probably others, assisted University of Southern California graduate student Pauline Young with her master's (1926) and doctoral theses (1928) resulting in her book The Pilgrims of Russian-town (1932). Young wrote in her Acknowledgements (page x): "Mr. John K. Berokoff has read the volume, made many corrections, and offered valued criticism. He has kept in touch with the study for several years." Young's publications about Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki in America stood alone for 37 years until Berokoff's history book in 1969. This exposure undoubtedly launched his volunteer position as an amateur historian and an unofficial spokesman for his misunderstood faith(s).
He began to translate Dukh-i-zhiznik ritual books probably for his own use and to share with youth not Russian-literate and confused about their heritage, which they only learned from limited biased, and often conflicting, oral tales. It was said that he was concerned about his younger relatives and peers questioning their faith and history, about which he writes in Chapter 7, page 129: "... they were not sufficiently indoctrinated." In 1941 he published his first legacy book, the previously translated 1915 Arizona Maksimist prayer book (molitvennik), with a preface explaining that since we are not returning to Russia this book is needed in English to educate the youth. During WWII, translations were needed to show the government that he represented faiths opposed to war, though 90% of the draft-able members enlisted.
Like many of his relatives and peers, whose parents and ancestors were wagon drivers (drozhky, дрожки) in Russia, not irrigation farmers, he developed his own urban recycling business later in life, buying and re-selling kegs of nails. He had 5 children: Bill, Paul, Peter, Andy and Manya. His literacy probably motivated 2 of his sons to graduate college and pursue a teaching profession, unlike their most zealous peers whose families feared that higher education will turn believers into worldly "heathens" and "rob the Spirit." In the 1950s, he raised his family at 335 South State St, the west edge of Boyle Heights, within easy walking distance of The Flat(s), stores, schools, parks, a library, youth programs, and electric streetcars. In the 1960s, he moved to 3478 East 5th St, the east edge of Boyle Heights. He died May 1972 at age 74, 3 years after publishing this book.
During WWII, he volunteered to mediate with the government and a council organized by 3 peace churches regarding alternative military service, and was appointed secretary of the Los Angeles Dukh-i-zhiznik conscientious objector Advisory Committee. Though the committee members rotated, he steadfastly conducted nearly all its written business. His Committee report is all of Chapter 7 (18 pages). 20% of his book focused on WWII (18 pages of Chapter 7 + 16 pages in Addenda = 42 of 208 total pages). (Note 7 Addenda are missing.)
Berokoff's 1966 privately printed history book was first web-published in 1998 by me, after correcting the original for spelling and grammar errors, and enhancing with some clarifications, links, definitions and maps. Someone converted my scanned HTML text to PDF which was posted online by Daniel H. Shubin.
In the past decade, I found fascinating forgotten and censored history by exploring hints provided by Berokoff, like the failures of Cherbak, bride selling, colonizations, and unpaid $17,024 CPS debt. By researching his hints and conducting thorough research, much new material has been found, some of which has been added here to substantially clarify and improve the original book with an accurate title, which is being updated as time permits. In time, this project should evolve into several print and e-books.
Though Klubnikin was the founding presbyter and prophet of his congregation and faith in America, Berokoff concludes in his book, with regret and little explanation, that he did not completely fulfill the refuge prophesy of Klubnikin to flee Russia to live in an isolated rural community with co-religionists.
1. The title and labels are misleading
My main criticism of Berokoff's history is the misnomer title and mislabeling of Spiritual Christian faiths. Though the book claims to be about "Molokans," Berokoff presents almost no information about the Molokan faith until the last Addenda letter (page 207), or about Molokan congregations in San Francisco and north of Sacramento, California. Only upon repeated questioning (page 203) by professor Piepkorn (an American- Russian scholar), does Berokoff admit that he does not know Molokan elders or rituals. Therefore, the book title: "Molokans in America" is false.
In the Addenda letters Berokoff documents the change of religious labels from WWI, through WWII and again in the 1960s. Only once in Addenda XXVII #7 does he confess "The title of our church body in Russian is: Dukhovnaye Christiani Pryguny" (page 203, 5th page from the last). After 1928 his Klubnikinist faith became a dukhovnye khristiane Dukh-i-zhiznik faith, which openly opposes the Molokan, Prygun and Subbotnik faiths, and the Armenian Dukh-i-zhiznik faith.
The major error was that the original book was NOT about Molokane, but somewhat about Dukhovnie khristiane pryguny (Духовные христиане пригуны : Spiritual Christian Jumpers) and historically related faiths (Maksimisty, Zionisty, Novie Israeli, Klubnikinisty. etc.), whose descendants established the Dukh-i-zhiznik family of faiths on the American west coast, mostly clustered in eastern Los Angeles County, and are properly collectively called Dukh-i-zhiz'-ni-ki (Дух-и-жиз'-ни-ки) after 1928.
Beginning in 1902 they called themselves the "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians," which by WWI became the "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christian Jumpers," until their Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' was published. They are mixed descendants of Russians, Ukrainians, Armenians, Mordovians, Chuvash, Germans and other nationalities and ethnic groups who emigrated from the Russian Empire.
Again, Berokoff wrote a book about Dukh-i-zhizniki not Molokane, and people from Russia not Russians, which confused all the descendants of these immigrants and continues to confuse nearly everyone, including scholars and journalists, who widely propagated the false label by citing his book (1969) and Young (1932), and cite the citations.
In 1971 he incorrectly lectured to youth: "There is no significant difference between Pryguny and Postoyannie except the manifestation of the Holy Spirit;" while focusing on Rudomyotkin and the Dukh i zhizn' to define his faith. (Samarin CD.) He died the following year, in May 1972, buried at the "Old Cemetery."
Throughout his book, Berokoff consistently perpetuated the confusing misnomer that members of his faith are "Molokans" 451 times, an average of more than twice per page (451/208 = 2.2), while sparsely and inconsistently contradicting that they are "Spiritual Christian Jumpers", "jumping", or "Pryguny" 42 times. He reported the wrong faith 11 times more (451/42 = 10.7) than the correct former faiths!
Frequency Count of Selected Term Clusters
* Collection of closely related terms, a hard cluster, factor.
Graph (each bar = 5)
Molokane (Molokans 435,
Postoyannie 15, Constant 1
|||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||| Pryguny 11, Jump(ers,ing) 31
42 |||||||| brotherhood
|||||||||| |||||| Bible
||||| Spirit and Life
||||| E.F. Klubnikin
|||||| Semion Uklein
The terms Molokan and Postoyannie appear 15 times (7 times in the body text, 8 in the appendix) before Berokoff is requested by Dr. Piepkorn to define it. After Berokoff incorrectly states it is a "branch of Molokany," he uses the word another 8 times in the last pages of his book trying to refine his erroneous definition.(Addenda XXVII, page 203 of 208 pages). He translated Postoyannie as "Constant" only once (Addenda XXX, last page), and never used Young's term : "Steady." Note that Uklein, the reported founder and organizer of Molokane, is only mentioned once (page 202), in response to probing by Dr. Peipkorn, compared to 56 times that Dukh-i-zhiznik prophets (Rudomyotkin, Klubnikin) are mentioned. Note that he mentions Klubnikin 24% ((13-25=6)/25) more times than Rudomyotkin, which suggests that Berokoff is primarily a Klubnikinist.
The original label used by these immigrants Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians is used about 1/6 as often as the confused terms listed above it in the table above (84/491 = .17).
Emphasis on Dukh i zhizn' topics (book, prophets, prophesies, etc.) is about double the Bible topics (111/64 = 1.7), therefore this book is about Dukh-i-zhizniki.
A more comprehensive linguistic analysis is in-progress, to be shared with research partners and supporters.
2. Much more unbiased research is needed with citations
My second criticism is that Berokoff did little research, was biased, and what few facts he cites typically lack sources. His comments are too often vague and general with no quantified data or references. No census counts or estimates are shown. No institutions are discussed in detail or listed except in Chapter 7 where he targets the congregations for failure to pay their C.P.S. camp bills. Shame!
His sources are limited, primarily to Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn', the Sionskii pesennik (songbook) and his own oral history, particularly his knowledge and records and letters of conscientious objectors during both world wars. He skims through Russian history, briefly mentioning topics to set up his story, often with partial or no verifiable facts. Many topics are avoided, or censored.
My goal is to fill in these vast voids with relevant facts and citations.
It is puzzling that he did not mention or cite any of 7 periodicals published by his diaspora Dukh-i-zhiznik community before 1969, or his 3 published articles:
- Molokanskoe* Obozrenie (Молоканское Обозрение : The Molokan* Review, 1941-1949), including 2 of his own articles:
- Berokoff, J.K. "In Retrospect" (Молоканское* Обозрение : The Molokan* Review, August 1945, pages 8, 35); and
- Berokoff, J.K. "The Movies-Good or Evil?" (Молоканское* Обозрение : The Molokan* Review, August 1947, pages 8, 13);
The Flats Gazette (dates?) Сонце (Soltse : The Sun) 4 editions, edited and published by Vasili Prokhanov, Los Angeles. Newsletters and mailings by the UMCA (The Molokan*) YRCA (The Anchor) CO camp newsletters (The Molokan*, 1942+)
- Decentralization: Its Effect On Us, The Molokan*, January 1946. [3-Rivers CPS Camp, CA.];
Russian Molokan* Directory (1954, 1962), Paul A. Samarin, editor/publisher.He did not mention any publications by Molokane in America:
He also omitted many relevant mis-labeled publications about Pryguny and/or Dukh-i-zhizniki published in the U.S., not written by the diaspora:
- Вестник духовных христиан Молокан : The Herald of Spiritual Christian Molokans (San Francisco, Sheridan CA, 1925+). This official Molokan publication was also not mentioned in Young's The Pilgrims of Russian-town (1932, 1967, or 1998).
- Отчет духовных христиан молокан .. 150-ти летнего юбилея .. указа .. июля 1805 года и 50-летнего юбилея .. в Соед. Штаты Америки, состоявшегося 22-23 и 24-го июля 1955 года в городе Сан-Франциско, Калифорния. 199 с. (Report of Spiritual Christian Molokans .. 150 year anniversary .. of the decree of .. July 1805 and the 50th Anniversary .. in the United States, held 22-24 July, 1955 in San Francisco, California. 199 pages.) On page 44, Berokoff refers to an article in this book, but cites neither the title of the article nor the correct book title.
- "II. Statements as to conditions at the Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas," Political Prisoners in Federal Military Prisons, National Civil Liberties Bureau, New York. (1918). Pages 10-14 describe "Holy Jumpers" in brutalized solitary confinement.
- Speek, P.A. Russian Sectarian Peasants in the West, A Stake in the Land, (1921). Pages 24-33.
- Young, Pauline V.
- "Social Heritages of Molokane* in Los Angeles." (1926) Unpublished Master's thesis, University of Southern California. (An extensive analysis and translation of early versions of the book: Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn').
- "Molokan* Family Organization," (1927) Sociology and Social Research 12: 54-60.
- "The Russian Molokan* Community in Los Angeles," American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Nov., 1929), pp. 393-402.
- "Assimilation Problems of Russian Molokans* in Los Angeles." (1930) Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Southern California.
Day, George Martin. "The Russians in Hollywood: A Study in Culture Conflict," Ph.D dissertation, University of Southern California (1934). Compares Dukh-i-zhizniki with Russian Orthodox on pages 89-74.
Maloff, Peter N. Dukhobortsy, ikh istoriia, zhizh' bor'ba (1948) Refers to Molokane in several places, chapter about Tcherback (Cherbak).
Roher, Norman. "Molokans* from the Flats: Young Russians American style," King's Business, October 1956, pages 40-41.
* Should be Spiritual Christian, or Prygun(y) before 1928, and Dukh-i-zhiznik(i) after 1928.He should have had a copy of The Directory of Civilian Public Service, May 1941 to March 1947, by The National Service Board for Religious Objectors, 1947, or at least mentioned it. Nicknamed "The C.O. bible," the book listed all men on file who completed C.S.P. Alternative Service, showing address, camps, dates, religion, and occupation.
He ignored and omitted the Selective Service Act of 1948, and federal court cases of 6 Dukh-i-zhiznik conscientious objectors (Kariakin and Kalpakoff 1954, Chernekoff 1955, Klubnikin 1956, Dalmatoff and Prohoroff 1958).
Though public libraries had 100s of relevant newspaper articles and books, and more oral history was abundant from living immigrants, he only referred to one 1969 Los Angeles Times article (Chapter 1, page 17) about a meteor shower in Mexico, which appeared just before publication of his book; and he never named an elder he quoted besides Klubnikin. His passing emphasis on a recent meteor shower suggests its mystical-spiritual importance, which I examine on the same page using astronomical data.
It may be due to his limited elementary education that he did not know how to mine the library, cite references, how to conduct interviews, was hiding his project, was influenced by proofreaders and/or assistants, or the facts were so embarrassing that he chose to censor his own book as he apparently did with The Pilgrims in Russian-town. He apparently did not ask anyone with good literary skills to help him, though several (including many college students and graduates) could have helped with research or proofreading. Notably absent is Paul I. Samarin, who collected information about Molokan history at the Los Angeles Public Library, published it in the phone Directory with references, and lectured about his findings at the U.M.C.A. Wednesday Night gatherings in the 1950s. Perhaps Berokoff was promoting his own independent history of his particular Klubnikinisk Dukh-i-zhiznik faith.
He missed so much relevant history and could have correlated events. For examples:
The above omissions provide hints about Berokoff's scope of knowledge, interest, and understanding; and about his preference to report "our" (nash, Klubnikinist) history as "my history," not "their" (ne nash) history. He could have reported much more and correlated several events with plausible effects or parallels, and/or likely outcomes, like:
- The Introduction is a very short listing of a Klubnikin prophesy with no discussion. Similar prophesies are well-documented and analyzed in many Anabaptist histories.
- Though Berokoff said the Doukhobor historian Peter N. Maloff was a friend (page 202), he omits or did not know about the very significant 3 Doukhobor arms burning protests in 1895, or their incarcerations and exiles witnessed by their neighbor E.G. Klubnikin in Romanovka village, who came to Los Angeles as presviter of his congregation. This is a major omission. (Research in-Progress.)
- The secret sealed final Klubnikin prophesy is not mentioned, perhaps to keep it a secret.
- Though Lev N. Tolstoy is mentioned only once on page 92, among a list of 3 Russian writers, there is no hint about his crucial role in appealing to the government 4 times for peasant relief and permission to emigrate. One cannot understand Spiritual Christian history without knowing the chronological facts about Tolstoy's involvement and influence among Spiritual Christians. This is a major omission. (Research in-Progress.)
- Community Doukhobors and Svobodniki (Freedomites) tried to move to the U.S. from Canada several times to join with Spiritual Christians in the U.S., while the most zealous Svobodniki tried to join with Pryguny and related faiths Some succeeded.
- A communal farm colony of Independent Doukhobors was established in 1924 at the north boundary of Manteca CA (100 miles northwest of Kerman, 80 miles east of San Francisco).
- He unevenly mentioned most colonization efforts while missing plans for major colonies in Hawaii and Los Angeles (1905), and with all Spiritual Christians near Santa Barbara (1902, 1910), Oregon (1923), and Paraguay (1952).
- He omits the impacts of the closing of the Bethlehem Institutes (1913), and its replacement by the YWCA International Institute (1914).
- In Chapter 4 The First World War Though he summarized the June 1917 arrest of 34 Pryguny in Arizona for not registering for the draft, he missed what happened in November in Los Angeles. 3 Christian ministers were arrested for holding pacifist meetings endorsed by 100s of ministers. By December 8, 1917, they were fined $1,200 each and sentenced to 6 months in prison merely for speaking against war. By January 1918, the case was a national human rights scandal reported and examined for decades.
- Omits women's vote, 19th Amendment (1920).
- Omits the impact of many Spiritual Christian youth who excelled in sports (Olympian Mickey Galitzen-Riley) and crime, and college graduates, some with higher degrees, perhaps because they did not embrace his Klubnikinist faith.
- Omits the impacts of 1920s prohibition, labor strikes, 1930s dust bowl, 1906 earthquake, 1950s black lists, and 1930s depression; but mentions fiscal inflation and rationing.
- No clear mentioning by name of any president or policies except when they were petitioned. In Chapter 5, F.D.R. and the New Deal are inferred.
- No mention of the Japanese Internment (1942), Zoot Suit Riots (1943) or the Watts Riot (1965).
- Omits impact of 5 freeways built through Boyle Heights since 1946 which displaced about 40,000 people and cutoff neighborhoods and congregations.
- Omits both the 1905 and 1955 celebrations of the 1805 order for freedom of Spiritual Christian Molokane, though on page 44 he tried to cite the 1955 report.
- Omits 43 people who aided, impacted and/or reported about his Spiritual Christian Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki (Atkinson, Beglaroff, Bixbys (3), Black, Bodyansky, Carter, Castle, Clark, Cushing, de Blumenthals (2), Demens, Dunns (2), Eberle, Fairchild, Fays (2), Gold, Green, Huntington, Kryshtofovich, Kurbatoff, Leopold, Leshing, Lev, Lochvitzky, Makee, Oxnam, Pilnyak, Scott, Sokoloff, Sorokin, Spaulding, Stimson, Taylor, Teichrieb, Tolstaya, Ukhtomsky, Van Waters, Wilbur), while briefly mentioning 6 (Bartlett, Cherbak, Cudney, Maloff, Tolstoy, Young). He either missed 88% (43/49=.88) of these people and history, and/or he deleted them from his oral history.
- Omission of the the Selective Service Act of 1948 and 6 federal court cases of Dukh-i-zhiznik conscientious objectors in the 1950s indicated a continual need for the lapsed Dukh-i-zhiznik Selective Service Advisory Board, Draft Advisory Board, CO Advisory Board. No effort to reestablish a board occurred until Vietnam in the 1960s, at the U.M.C.A.
Instead, his analysis initially focuses on failed religious prophesies, then the shameful C.P.S. financial fraud, and concludes that urban diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki should seek refuge elsewhere, "away from the world's turmoil and its temptations." Though he testified to be a follower of Klubnikin (Klubnikinist), he remained in Los Angeles in a house, attended meetings (sobranie), and was buried in 1972, age 74, in a cemetery near Klubnikin ironically all adjacent to freeways.
- Doukhobor mass arrests, punishment, and exodus (1895) and New Year's earthquake in Tiflis (1900), with Klubnikin's inspiration to seek land of refuge (~1900). Klubnikin lived on the main highway and probably witnessed Kars Doukhobors marched to and between prisons.
- Tolstoy's petitions and letters with the migration of 1/3 of all Doukhobors, changes in Russia of policy and treatment of non-Orthodox faiths, and impact on reduced emigration of non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians.
- Publishing Животная книга духобортев (Living book of the Doukhobors, by Bonch-Bruievich) (Бонч-бруевич, 1909), with publishing by Spiritual Christians in America.
- Rejection of help from Cherbak (1910), "Russian bride-selling" court hearings (1911-1914) and closing of Bethlehem Institutions (1913), with groups fleeing Los Angeles to form rural colonies (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Washington), as mentioned at the end of his 1945 article "In Retrospect."
- Protests of the svobodniki in Canada (1902-1960s), and killing of Peter V. Verigin, the first leader of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (C.C.U.B., communal Doukhobors in Canada) (1924), political activity of the Ku Klux Klan in Los Angles (1920s), the founding of the U.M.C.A. in Los Angeles (1926), Young's masters thesis (1926), the publishing of the final version of Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' (1928) with founding of the somewhat collective Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths.
- Long Beach earthquake (1933) and highway construction through the Flat(s) and Karakala, with protests about komitet and Bol'shoe sobranie (The "Big Church" founded in 1933) and reorganization of congregations when a new cemetery is purchased in 1938.
- Failed petitions to return to Kars, Turkey (1939, 1945), with urban lifestyle, prosperity and assimilation (loss of Russian language, successes in sports and education)
- The New Deal, Cold War, Nuclear Holocaust warnings, Vietnam War, and Civil Rights Movement with the pokhod to refuge in Australia.
3. Lack of visual aids, context and index
My third wish is for more historic, economic and social context; and more graphic and accurate reader aids (maps, charts, lists, section labels); and, an index. A comprehensive list of why only 1% migrated greatly expands the Introduction below. The original inside-cover map by Shubin is very crude and some villages have multiple names, not shown. Simple maps showing the migration paths, neighborhoods, assemblies and colonies would have greatly orientated the reader; and are being inserted as time permits. When I posted this book in 1997, I added rough maps scanned from my mislabeled 1980 Молокан Directory and photos taken in 1939 by Alex Serguiff. I posted them on my mislabeled website (molokane.org). Since then, from my travels and collaboration with Spiritual Christians around the world, many of the emigrant Spiritual Christian villages are now mapped in Google Earth in digital color (in-progress).
A major study aide is the 1995 map insert: "Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan Colonization, Russian Town, The Flats and East Los Angeles" by Kornoff and Mohoff (1995), in A Stroll Through Russiantown (Mohoff and Valoff, 1996); but this map, produced 26 years after Shubin's map, erroneously places 2 of 3 items shown in the Bethlehem district (6, 86) and omits several places forgotten in their oral history.
While a paged index is planned for the published version of this draft, this version is somewhat hyper-linked, with added section headings to aid navigation.
4. Missing Addenda
Some of Berokoff's document collection is shown as Addenda, of which 7 of the 30+1 numbered items are missing with no explanation for omission or non-sequential numbering. The 51-page Addenda comprise 25% of the pages of his 208-page book, indicating how important he felt they were for the community public record, especially since it is printed in relatively large 12-point sans-serif font.
If the Addenda were so important to comprise a fourth of the pages, why are 7 missing (8, 10, 12, 20, 24, 26, 28) and 1 added (6a)? Why are they all sequential odd-numbered pages? Why are there references to 3 misnumbered Addenda on page 125? Where they omitted : (1) due to censure, (2) to save money, fewer pages, (3) due to adding 8 photos, or (3) by blunder, a mistake?
A last minute censure can explain why the 7 Addenda numbers are missing, and one added (6a, VIa). But, why weren't the Addenda numbers re-sequenced? Could it have been to save money, or because photos were added late? I don't think this was an absentminded blunder. Which other reason (1-censure, 2-economy, 3-photos) is most likely?
A hint can be found by examining how this book was physically assembled. Books are printed in sections (many pages on large sheets) called signatures, which are folded, collated, sewn and glued together, trimmed, then glued into a cover. A major cost consideration is to not waste blank pages and print a minimum number of large signatures, to save press time. Signatures typically have 2n pages (2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 32) mechanically folded from large 2-sided prints. It is most economical to publish books of this size in 32-page signatures.
This book was printed in 8 signatures, of which 6 were 32 pages, and the 4th signature was 16 pages with an 8-page signature (#5 in table below) of photos on glossy paper inserted without page numbers, making a 24-page combined (16+8) signature. The photos are stitched in the middle of the book witout page numbers. The book has 208 page numbers, with text on the last page, which indicates that no pages were wasted. Numbering began on first signature page 9, not on the text page 1, which indicates that signatures and page counts were scrutinized, but things added, probably in haste, without updating pages numbers.
Signature Sizes and Pages
* Signature 5 was inserted into signature 4 for stitching in the middle, with 3 signatures stitched on each side of the middle.
2, 3, 4
5, 6, 7
8, Addenda 8
The table shows the signatures with corresponding page numbers and chapters. Because the last printed page is 208 and there are no blank pages at the end, suggests that Addenda were deleted in haste due to economy, to squeeze in as much as possible into the last signature. It seems that the Addenda were assembled last and the extra pages were discovered perhaps at the print shop during layout. It appears that Berokoff made a last minute decision whether to print an extra signature of 8 pages at the end, which the publisher would not like, or remove items to fit the last 32-page signature. It was too late and expensive to re-typeset all the Addenda in smaller 10-point font, or match the font used in the text, or even to renumber them in sequence.
Were the 8 photo-pages added after the book was written, or planned from the beginning? Photos are in the exact middle (between pages 104 and 105), without page or photo numbers. There are no text references where expected to any photo, and some photos are not related to any text. This suggests the photos were added probably during beta-reading and proofreading. The printer may have adjusted his cost estimate to include the photos on an 8-page signature on glossy paper, if the middle (#4) signature was reduced from 32 to 16 pages, and the photos were inserted as a signature. Maybe the printer added it for no extra cost. This would reduce the entire book by 8 pages and explain why 6 Addenda were removed.
More hints appears in the "Contents" list (page 5, no number). After "Addenda .. 157", the section "Petitions .. 177" appears, but not the section "Inquiry of Prof. Arthur Piepkorn ..." (page 192). The label on every odd-numbered page after 157 is titled "Addenda". The section for Petitions does not appear at the top of the odd-numbered pages after page 177. This suggests that Berokoff was arranging these documents in sections (Addenda, Petitions, Inquiry ..) and exceeded his last 32-page signature. Oops! Had all these documents been typed in a smaller font, there probably would have been space to include all or most of the missing 7 items. Probably in haste and frustration, he and the printer decided to "just do it, as is" rather than find and correct all errors, to comply with the printer's contracted scheduled print date the deadline.
The mystery of 7 missing Addenda appears less likely due to censure, and more likely due to photos squeezing out space for the large-font Addenda. Though the missing items were probably judged not as important as those published, it would be interesting to see what is missing.
Biased History book for 60 years
Despite the misleading title and weak biased content, Berokoff's book, which appeared 37 years after Young, stands alone as the only diaspora-produced history of Dukh-i-zhizniki in the Americas since Young's work in the late 1920s and 1930s (thesis, dissertation, books, articles) up to 1991 (when Wren was published), spanning almost 60 years. His book served as a prejudiced rough draft of his version of this history up to 1969. There is no public archive of his papers to definitely locate the 7 missing items in the Addenda, or to add what he omitted. (A single 1971 recording by James J. Samarin will be posted here with transcript.)
Among the many significant historical facts and tales Berokoff displays, the most revealing is his 5-page summary financial report showing that their 74 Dukh-i-zhiznik conscientious objectors during WWII (compare to 600+ who enlisted) failed to pay half (46%) of their C.P.S. camp bill (~$17,000), then refused to resolve the matter with a visiting representative of the National Service Board of Conscientious Objectors. The extent and detail which Berokoff reports this breach of contract suggests that exposing the scandalous C.P.S. debt was a major purpose for publishing his book, comprising 20% of the pages, though not mentioned in his Forward. It appears he really intended to blow the whistle about his deadbeat brethren before he died.
Why did he omit the C.P.S. debt in his Introduction? One explanation may be that a characteristic of Dukh-i-zhiznik oration is to lead with a minor neutral topic to get the listeners' attention, delaying one's major point until the end, changing to the intended topic(s). Berokoff does this oral history bait and switch by burying his C.P.S. debt report in Chapter 7. His C.P.S. report is enhanced to show the huge scandalous extent in which Dukh-i-zhizniki financially cheated the 3 major American peace churches that negotiated for and arranged the C.P.S., while remaining steadfast (postoyannie) in refusing to pay their own C.P.S. debt today and hiding behind a false label. 1000s of their archived documents have been collected to complete this story when time permits.
Unfortunately the misleading "Molokan" label and erroneous "facts" have been widely propagated by scholars citing Young and Berokoff. Though both authors identified their subjects as Pryguny, and specifically as Spiritual Christians who use the book Dukh i zhizn', together they obscured those two groups with over 1500 repetitions of the word "Molokan" in print. This label dis-information was so extensive that it appears intentional, perhaps to diffuse attempts by zealots in government from further investigating and/or deporting them. Young and others testified in government hearings and during investigations to defend the most zealous Spiritual Christians (to be added). Her protective propaganda caused Spiritual Christian history and faiths to be scrambled for generations.
After Berokoff was published
Ironically, Berokoff himself was bullied by a few of the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki, including several of his relatives, for publishing his translations: Selections from the Book of Spirit and Life (1966) and history (1969), among other reasons which they cannot articulate, like whistle-blowing about deadbeats, speaking at the U.M.C.A., and corresponding with other faiths (ne nashi). Though most readers greatly appreciated his books, several descendants of J.K. Berokoff still hate him for exposing "their religion" to the world, which they believe to be a sin (apostasy). They did not know that soon after publication in 1928, their Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' and related holy ritual books were placed in several libraries, including the National Library of Congress, and never were a secret from the U.S. or Soviet governments.
The next Dukh-i-zhiznik-produced history appeared 32 years later in 1991 (A.F. Wren, True Believers ) using the same misleading faith labels, and no citations. For more than 70 years after Young, only these 2 member-produced books (Berokoff and Wren) existed in a few public libraries along with several scholarly papers, theses and dissertations by "outsiders" (ne nashi). Then many works by Dukh-i-zhizniki appeared (Babashoff, Mohoff, Samarin, Shubin, Slivkoff, Valov, etc.), as their fear of self-publishing somewhat attenuated. Unfortunately, all these recent publications further abused the Molokan label, have many errors and omissions, lacked citations and should be similarly edited as time permits. In short, very little of the material published in the 1900s (20th century) in English was correctly labeled, which affects all citations. What a mess of history.
The U.M.C.A. newsletter (1950s-2000s) was entirely mislabeled and controlled over time by different factions of Dukh-i-zhizniki with opposing agendas. The final 3 decades were entirely controlled by one family of editors who falsely believed: "Whatever Molokanism is, I am in the center of it." (Quote from William Alex Federoff, early 1970s.) The newsletter published sparse information about Dukh-i-zhizniki, censored openness, and silently expired in 2007 after authentic Molokane organized in Russia with official journals. Now western Dukh-i-zhiznik communication is limited to member-only e-mail lists and discussion boards, all mislabeled and functioning as closed secret societies protecting a false identity.
In the 1940's, Dr. Pauline V. Young was working on a sequel to her 1932 book Pilgrims in Russian-town to report that these Spiritual Christians, whom she earlier assumed would assimilate in Los Angeles, were being revitalized by their own American-educated youth. She did not realize that while members of the various Spiritual Christian faiths she studied were integrating and assimilating, the Prygun congregations were converting to various Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths which persisted, and generally rejected non-believers in their new faiths unless they were wealthy. Unfortunately her working papers were destroyed in a fire at the International Institute in Los Angeles, and the book was never completed. Dr. Young wanted to document how youth trained at the Young Russian Christian Association (Y.R.C.A.) and the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (B.I.O.L.A.) enhanced the United Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan Christian Association (U.M.C.A.) with improved management, programs and publications, causing attendance to grow for 20 years. In the mid-1960s, U.M.C.A. Sunday School book purchases, an indicator of attendance, peaked at rank 10 in the country, 3rd in California!
Young died in 1977 before the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki who hated the U.M.C.A. took full control of the non-profit corporation and property in the 1980s, converting it into their private school and territory. In contrast to Young's appraisal, Berokoff (page 97) presents the U.M.C.A. teachers (not identified as Y.R.C.A.-ers) as heretics of his Dukh-i-zhiznik faith. Not mentioned is that Berokoff's zealous peers, indoctrinated at the Young Peoples' Meeting (Molodoi sobranie), hated the Y.R.C.A.-ers who bought a building in The Flat(s) to hold their club meetings and socials, had about 25 members educated at B.I.O.L.A. (free tuition before 1959), had a library, and were invited to administer the U.M.C.A., which rapidly grew for 20 years. Partially due to Berokoff's history book and his son Peter, who became a teen boy's U.M.C.A. Sunday School teacher in the mid-1960s, substantial numbers of zealot Dukh-i-zhizniki invaded the U.M.C.A. to evict those whom they perceived to be Americanized heretics of their various Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths.
The 20-year (1962-1982) takeover of the U.M.C.A. by zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki followed by their 1985 Satanic ritual abuse media frenzy caused the Sunday School attendance to plummet more than 95%, greatly reduced regular attendance in all diaspora Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations, and closed their doors to outsiders, including Molokane, for most events. In 2017, part of the Heritage Room was closed during the U.M.C.A. Picnic, perhaps to prevent non-believer guests (ne nash) from seeing what may not be considered holy relics, though their store was open. 100 years after immigration from Russia (2004), most of the descendants of these Spiritual Christians, subjects of this book, assimilated, fled or were expelled from Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths by zealots, leaving a total faith-practicing diaspora smaller than the number who immigrated from Russia.
Highgate Road Social Science Research Station (H.R.S.S.R.S.)
In the 1960s, Dr Stephan P. Dunn and Ethel Dunn, a husband and wife team of social scholars of the Soviet Union who lived near Berkeley, CA, incorporated their own non-profit organization. They called it their Highgate Road Social Science Research Station (H.R.S.S.R.S.) after their street. Both were educated at Columbia University, New York, then learned Russian and specialized in translating social science articles into English for publication. Dr. Stephan P. Dunn's doctoral adviser was Dr. Margaret Mead. After they became interested in Spiritual Christian history, they were surprised to discover Molokane in San Francisco, and made friends with the congregation. That led to expeditions to Southern and Central California, Oregon, Canada, and a focus on everything about the diaspora groups including networking with Berokoff.
In the 1970s, historian Ethel Dunn asked Berokoff: "... what a Dukh-i-zhiznik
Molokanis, to which he answered: 'A Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokanis a person who sings the psalms.' When asked to elaborate, he added that when Dukh-i-zhizniki Molokansno longer sang the psalms in their services, they would cease to be Dukh-i-zhizniki Molokans." From this exchange Ethel realized she must understand psalm-singing, but neither she nor her husband were musical, nor did they know any Russian ethno-musicologist.
Berokoff's reply was far too simple. He should have further specified: ".. only in our Los Angeles style and dress, only sung in our Southern Russian dialect as we speak it, by men in long beards who perform our rituals, with jumping and raising both arms exactly as we do and when we do, who are accepted by us as full members of our congregation(s), intermarry with us, and meet with us often." Evidence of his social introversion and exclusion is revealed on page 97 were he says at the end of item 1: ".. such conduct .. should be stopped." The rest of the story reveals what Berokoff omitted when he published his warning.
Though psalm-singing (hymn-singing) in Russian is characteristic of all Spiritual Christians, and in most languages by all Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths around the world, of which Berokoff had practically no knowledge, his very simple mislabeled definition motivated Ethel Dunn to find a Russian ethno-musicologist, and in 1980 to apply for a research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). She proposed to publish a book titled: "The American Molokans as an Ethnic and Religious Group" (RS-*2061-80), but never realized that she focused on non-Molokans.
Unfortunately, the Dunns failed to produce the book by spending most of the money to study singing. (How the money was wasted in-progress.) With my volunteered help, the H.R.S.S.R.S. only produced the chapter about singing. Berokoff's 1970s definition of "Molokan" was published in O'brien-Rothe, Linda, Ph.D. The Molokan Heritage Collection Vol, IV: The Origin of Molokan Singing, H.R.S.S.R.S., 1989, page 1. Now we know that this book should have been titled: The Spiritual Christian Collection Vol. IV: The Origin of Dukh-i-zhiznik Singing.
In 1973, a master's thesis by W.B. Moore, Molokan Oral Tradition (U.C. Berkeley), with Dunn's guidance, was published which caused a huge oral backlash among zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki, including false reports about Berokoff's widowed daughter-in-law. Lingering hostility and fear erupted when zealots heard that a ne nash researcher (Dr. O'brien-Rothe) had interviewed elder singer Misei Volkoff, and they raided his house the next day to confiscate his huge tape collection against his will and "protect it" from ne nashi. This delayed O'brien-Rothe's research on singing for a year, until she was given cassettes of 300 songs recorded by Dukh-i-zhizniki in Australia.
To lessen objection to Dr. Obrien-Rothe's pioneering work, I insisted on having her first draft anonymously proofread by a wide group of elder Dukh-i-zhiznik singers and potential critics who had been slandering the Dunns and Dr. Moore for a decade. It happened that the survey was primarily administered to members of the late Berokoff's congregation (Noviye Romanovskii sobranie, Freeway assembly, Beswick street church), and to singers of other congregations, by elder Jack Peter Ocip. Valov who was quite impressed with the draft. He volunteered to assure that this new research would be scrutinized, for the historic record, and collected all comments. The comments submitted showed a broad multidimensional spectrum of attitudes about outsiders doing research on "their" sacred songs, from full agreement and understanding to absolute disgust by one person, some unable to understand the point, and some initially hostile who changed their minds after reading and discussing with other readers. The results were summarized with responses by the author and included in one version of the book. (To be posted.) The process of open proofreading and a summary report apparently melted most of the zealots' opposition to research and documentation.
Valov later coauthored and edited books with George Mohoff, while others like Babashoff, Baghdanov and Shubin, published their own books, and a MA thesis by Slivkoff appeared. But when Dr. Breyfogle's was invited to Los Angeles to present his book and research in 2005, the Dukh-i-zhiznik controlled U.M.C.A. board issued a verbal order prohibiting all thesis about their faiths, as if they were an Imperial council of the Tsar Dukhov (King of the Spirits) issuing an ukaz (decree, order) upon academia.
This book in-progress is also open to you as a volunteer beta-reader to comment as it is being edited and composed. Check back often for changes and updates. E-mail : Administrator (at) SpiritualChristians.org.
In many ways, the Dunn's body of work facilitated young social scientists around the world to analyze the previously under-reported non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians from Russia Americans (Breyfogle, Clay, Hardwick, 2 Moore's), Australian (Slivkoff), Russians (Inikova, L'vov, Mazo, Nikitina, Panchenko, Petrov, Samarin, Zhuk), Armenian journalists (Grigorian, Mangasaryan). I met most, and have been in contact with all.
I last spoke with Ethel Dunn about 2002, and suspect she died about 2004 and was cremated to join her late husband. This updated book in-progress can serve as a short sample of the book the Dunns wanted to produce, a project I assisted for most of the 1980s and hope to finish some day, with much more information than imagined 30 years ago, about Spiritual Christians in North America.
When the 3 labels for these 3 Spiritual Christians faiths Molokane, Pryguny, and Dukh-i-zhizniki are untangled and properly used with verified facts, as shown in this text, their individual histories and identities become much clearer.
Andrei Conovaloff, Arizona, USA.
PAGE 7 There are numerous reasons why the life of the Dukh-i-zhizniki Molokan people in America deserves to be recorded in a book but the most important, perhaps, is the probability that the third and fourth generation American Spiritual Christian Dukh-i-zhizniki Molokans are unacquainted with the real reason for their forefathers' emigration from Russia or how they managed to survive as a community for over sixty years up to 1969 in a large city abundantly supplied with various worldly temptations.
It is also possible that they do not know why the United States of America was chosen as a place of settlement in preference, say, to Canada or to South America and how it came about that they chose urban life in Southern California instead of remaining on the Eastern seaboard as millions of other immigrants did. They also do not know why their grandparents failed to obey prophesy to return to Russia, to go east, or failed to form large isolated farming communes.
What was their life in Los Angeles like as a zealous minority that
theyclung together in one close knit neighborhood while most Spiritual Christians along with other nationalities scattered to become assimilated in the local population? Insisting, for religious reasons, on wearing full beards and their peasant clothes in the face of ridicule while most Spiritual Christians along with other nationalities conformed to local customs; periodically dropping everything to attend the funeral of a relative, a friend or a respected elder church dignitary, quitting their jobs twice a year to observe their daytime* week long holidays plus three other one day religious observances, they yet managed to support their very large families without admitting to taking public charity or assistance from [outside, ne nash] non-Molokan sources.
* Probably after WWII, "Big Church" decided to accommodate members who could not take leave from day jobs by holding 2 services a day, or evening services on weekdays, during extended holidays. The most zealous congregations refused to adopted such a flexible holiday schedule, to remain constant (postoyanniye : постоянние) with their rituals (obryady : обряды).
To assimilated descendants of Spiritual Christians Molokans born and raised since the end of the second World War, this accomplishment may not seem very impressive because the continuous prosperity and full employment of the last 25 years [1944-1969] would lead them to believe that it was always thus, but in fact, during the first ten years of their PAGE 8 life in America [(1904-1914)] the [Spiritual Christians] Molokans were subjected to periods of unemployment when the bread winner of the family considered himself very fortunate if he worked an average of four days a week at [$1]
$2.00per day as casual laborer in a lumber yard. How did they do it?
Credit Captain P. A. Demens (Dementsov : Деменцов) for guiding them to L.A., falsely rebranding them all as "Molokans" and giving many jobs in his nearby laundry and lumber yard, and finding other jobs for many.
This book attempts to answer some of these questions. It is a narrative based on personal observations, on notes, letters and documents in the writer's possession as well as on information gathered from many anonymous persons who are old enough to have personally experienced the history of the [Dukh-i-zhizniki] Molokans in America. It is a story of a people who were and are somewhat unique among all the ethnic groups in the Los Angeles area.
Introduction The Flight to the Refuge* [Contents]
PAGE 9 Prophecies of [Prygun] Efeem Gerasovich Klubnikin** (1842-1915) concerning the coming of World Wars and their after effects, written in his youthful years in the village of Nikitino
Nikitina, Russia*** in 1855 or thereabouts. He was buried in East Los Angeles, Califronia.
* Though a major theme in his book, these terms (flight, refuge) are not exactly defined by Berokoff. Their meanings and translations can be interpreted by his context and experience with believers and followers.
"Flight", or journey (Russian: pokhod: поход), is revealed in examples for destinations from Russia to California and Western states, Mexico, South America, Iran then California, and Australia from California, and back to Russia from everywhere. But the flight back to Russia has not happened. This term in context is similar to the Svobodnik (Freedomite) term: trek (Russian : трек), journey [by foot, and back to Russia]. Both groups have spiritual songs about pokhod and trek. See my edited version of: Moore, Willard B. "Communal Experiments as Resolution of Spiritual Christian
SectarianIdentity Crisis," University of California, Berkeley.
"Refuge" (Russian: ubezhishche : убежище) appears to be where Klubnikin and Berokoff settled and were buried Los Angeles County. In the final sentence on his last page 155, Berokoff implies this is the "first refuge," as he encourages "... emerging younger leadership to ... search for a second refuge ..." This term appears in context similar to the Anabaptist German term: bergungsort ("place of refuge" : to escape [from restrictive legislation], or [obey God's call and come to the] place of salvation [to be saved]); more than: sammlungsort : ("place of refuge" : a meeting place [with God], a tabernacle). Comparable Russian terms could be: сокрытие (concealment, hiding, escape), and место сбора (gathering place, venue, sobranie). Anabaptist scholars compiled a document archive and bibliography about their Central Asia trek, c a. 1880, and I list and link to their most relevant material online to show Dukh-i-zhizniki how their pokhod originated from Anabaptists who migrated to Russia from Germany in the 1800s.
** For Spiritual Christians who retained their ancestral Southern Russian dialect, Gerasovich must be pronounced Herasimovich.
*** Nikitino village, Yerevan guberniya, is now named Fioletovo, Armenia, where in the year 2000 there are about 4 separate Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations and one Molokan congregation.
Pages 636 and 651, Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life (Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' ; Книга солнце, дух и жизнь).
Story, Tale 2. ПОВЕСТЬ 2. О взятiи съ земли мира
"Kings will go to war with China. From the time of the war in China, peace will be taken from the earth.  There will be powerful wars in the East. From the time of the war in the East the wrath of God will spread throughout the whole earth.
Пойдут цари воевать на Китай, с Китайской войны миръ будет взять с земли. 2. На востоке будет сильная война; смешается кровь с водою, и с восточной войны разольется гнев по всей земле,
 There will be great groaning and crying of peoples, blood will flow everywhere. Great misfortunes and agitation among the peoples; tortures, torment and persecutions.  People will fly in all directions; to mountains, caves, forests and to different countries.  Separations of father and son, mother and daughter, husband and wife 3. Будеть великий плачь и стон народов, кровь нещадно прольется повсеместно, настанеть великое бедствие и волнениe в народах: мучения, скорб, казнь и претмснения. 4. Великое бегство по всем местам: в горы, ущелья, лмса и въ иныя земли. 5. Разлука отца с сыном, матери съ дочерью, мужа съ женою.
* * * *
Story, Tale 2. Song about the journey ПОВЕСТЬ 22. Песнь о noxoде. "Let us sing loudly a song about the flight to a place of refuge.  The Lord has sent His angels with trumpets to all the people; to go, to go on a journey, to remove themselves from worldly worry.
Воспоемъ громкую песнь, о походе въ место убежища !
2. Господь послалъ Ангеловъ съ трубою, возвеститъ всему народу; итить, итить в поход,-удалиться от миpcкихъ забот!
 We shall stand firmly on our feet, the Lord will give us His help. He is our joy and our strength.
3. Станем твердо на ноги, Господь дасть нам помоги. Онъ-радость и крепость наша.  A herald is flying from heaven, his command is to prepare us for a journey (pokhod). [5.] Angels are released to torment and to punish harshly everyone throughout the universe". 4. Вестник с неба летитъ, собираться в поход велитъ. 5. Решаются Ангелы, на жестокую казнь и мучение, повсеместно, по всей вселенной.
Why did they wait so long in Russia?
Why did 99% stay in Russia?
Why did the non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians in the Caucasus (Pryguny, Maksimisty, Molokane, Subbotniki, Zionisty, Novyi izrail', ) wait 50 years after Klubnikin's prophesy to migrate, until after 1900? And, why did less than 1% of them move to the Americas? What is real, and what is myth?
Oral history simply repeats that they left Russia to avoid war and injustice, and for the most zealous to follow prophes(y, ies). Here I try to present the broader context, clustered in chronological order, of some of the many changing geopolitical, economic, sociological and religious events that could have caused 1% to leave while 99% stayed home. (Check for updates. Submit your own missing alleged reasons.)
- 85 years before migration began In 1818, thousands of Anabaptist pilgrims from Germany arrived in Odessa, traveled through the Molochna region on their way to Palestine for the millennium prophesied for 1936, and many ended up in the Caucasus spiritually refocused on Mount Ararat.
- 70 years before migration began About November 1835, Haley's Comet may have influenced the zealot sectarian Sokolov to affirm Apocalyptic prophecies for 1836.
- 50 years before migration began About 1852 according to oral history, Klubnikin prophesies began when he is about age 10.
- 45 years before migration began 1859 Solar Superstorm : September 12, the largest recorded geomagnetic storm occurred; and Aurorae (Northern Lights) brighter than a full moon were seen around the world. 1861 Emancipation of Russians Serfs. An earthquake destroyed much of Shemakh city, capital of Baku governate, then the capital was moved the to the port city of Baku.
- 40 years before migration began Berokoff reported that about 1865, a mystery woman in the U.S. had a vision that particular Spiritual Christians will come to North America and she would give them land in Southern California. Her vision may be related to the 1859 Solar Superstorm. On June 9, 1866, an exploding fireball meteor shower fell eastward at the Serbia-Ukraine border, about 1230 miles NW from Nikitino village (Knyahinya (drawings) : ~1100 pounds recovered, ~1200 stones) perhaps similar to the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor. It fell at 5 pm (8 pm in Erevan), traveled about 30 miles in a few seconds, and probably was visible near the setting sun as seen from the Caucasus.
- 30 years before migration began In the 1870s, about 1/3 of the most dissident of all Protestant Germans in Russia begin to migrate when their exemptions from military and independent schooling ended. "From 1873 to 1884 about 8,000 Mennonites migrated to Manitoba, with another 13,000 settling in the midwestern United States." Many who moved to the U.S. got free transport, free land for churches and schools, some got wheat seed, and the state of Kansas, U.S.A., and country of Canada gave them military exception.
- 25 years before immigration began In 1877 the Russo-Turkish War in the Caucasus Theater lasted less than a year.
- 20 years before immigration began The 1882 May Laws restricted Jews in Russia for 30+ years. During 1881-1914 over 2 million Jews left Russia, 1.7 million (85%) to the United States. The Jewish Immigrant Aid Society formed in 1881 in New York City to provide meals, transportation, jobs and agricultural colonies, and temporary housing in 1882; later more Jewish aid societies formed in the U.S.
- 15 years before immigration began In Central Russia: Famine of 18911892 and cholera epidemic, about half-million people died, taxes more than doubled (but deferred in Caucasus). In New Russia (South Ukraine): Stundists and other non-Orthodox sects were arrested and prosecuted. (The term Stundist, like Molokan, often generally meant a non-Orthodox Russian citizen a heretic)
- 10 years before immigration began In 1894, the Ottoman Empire began mass killings of Armenians. 80 to 300 thousand were killed in 2 years, many within 100 miles of Kars city, where 1000s of Spiritual Christians lived. Demens begins a colony of Russian farmers 40 miles east of Los Angeles.
- 9 years before migration began
- In June 1895, in 3 locations in the Caucasus, about 7000 Doukhobors burned guns in 3 simultaneous protests against war. 1/3 of the most dissident participated. By winter about 400 were jailed. The next year about 4000 were evicted from villages resulting in about 2000 deaths from starvation and disease.
- On July 5, 1895, Emperor Nicholas II signed a decree (ukaz) ordering construction of Tiflis-Kars Railway.
- 9 to 5 years before migration began
- From 1895 to 1898 in the Caucasus, 240 Doukhobors were arrested and marched by E.G. Klubnikin's house to jail in Kars city, then again past his house to jail in Tiflis city. Klubnikin's village of Romanovka was the only village completely on this main road with Pryguny, and most of Melikoy. Spiritual Christians in other villages did not have a front row seat to the witness the Doukhobor arrests and marching of prisoners to jail like Klubnikin did.
- In November 1897, Lev. N. Tolstoy refused the first Nobel Peace Prize nomination, and proposed that destitute Doukhobors should receive it for burning guns in 1895, arrests and suffering.
- Immigration agents in Europe represented Canada's "new and aggressive immigration policy" to get "desirable settlers" " ... a stalwart peasant in sheepskin coat, born on the soil, whose forefathers have been farmers for ten generations, with a stout wife and half-dozen children, ..."
- 5 years before migration began
- In 1899, coordinated by the Society of Friends (Quakers) in London, the most zealous 1/3 of all Doukhobors (mostly followers of P.V. Verigin who is in exile) left the Caucasus beginning in 1898. About 7,400 relocated to central Canada. By 1930, 8500 arrived.
- Molokane refused Tolstoy's help to move to Canada, but many asked for the same deal given Doukhobors.
- On July 5, 1899, the Canadian government granted Molokane "to be allowed to settle in Canada on the same terms as the Doukhoborsti." The ruling included military exemption, homestead communal land, own schools, and religious freedom.
- Many Doukhobors gave much of their property (improved land, buildings, businesses, animals, tools, etc) to neighboring Molokane who stayed.
- A railway from Kars to Tiflis (T'blisi) was completed, which improved commerce.
- On 31 December 1899 (New Year's Eve), a huge earthquake in Tiflis governate destroyed 10 villages (6 completely) and killed 800- 1000 people, within 50 miles of dozens of Spiritual Christian villages.
- 4 years before migration began
- In 1900, the Transcaucasus Railway was connected to the rest of the Russian system.
- In January 1900, P.A. Demens in Los Angeles offered to help all Spiritual Christians in Russia come to Southern California, to colonize land, or work in his factories or elsewhere. City life for peasants from Russia was opposed by L.N. Tolstoy. Three representatives from dissatisfied svobodnik Doukhobors in Canada visited Demens in Los Angeles, toured the Pacific and plains states for colony land and returned. The west coast Immigration Commissioner protested to Washington D.C. that they are undesirable poor diseased religious monomaniacs.
- In early 1900, I.G. Samarin and P.M. Shubin deliver a petition to St. Petersburg to either free Molokane [Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians?] from military service or permit them to leave Russia.
- In August 1900, Demens arranged work for a small group of Doukhobors to build the coastal line of the Southern Pacific Railroad near Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County, California, for $2/day, and some moved to Los Angeles the next year.
- In August 1900, 3 scouts from the Caucasus representing Pryguny and Molokane tour Doukhobor colonies in Canada, inspect many U.S. states and visit Demens in Los Angeles.
- In December 1900, L.N. Tolstoy's first open letter to the Tzar is published internationally, which asks for religious and economic freedom for Spiritual Christians or let them emigrate. Molokane and Dukhoborsty are each mentioned twice. Second letter March 1901 (below).
- 3 years before migration began
- In January 1901, international news from St. Petersburg, Russia, reported that "40,000 Molokanen" in the Caucasus petitioned the Russian government to to restore their land rent (which has increased 300% to 400%) or allow them to move to America.
- On February 22, 1901, Lev N. Tolstoy is excommunisted from the Russian Orthodox Church.
- In February-March 1901 in Los Angeles, Rev. Dr. Dana Bartlett, aided by newspapers and women's clubs, launches donation drives to help poor immigrants at the Congregational Church mission complex named the Bethlehem Institutions.
- In March 1901, Tolstoy writes his second open letter to the Tzar, a continuation of his first letter (Dec. 1990, above) published in the international press. Molokane are mentioned once, but not Dukhoborsty 1/3 of whom migrated to Canada.
- 2 years before migration began
- In 1902, uprisings by sectarians (including Spiritual Christians) were regarded by Bonch-Bruevich as "... affirming ... the revolutionary potential of the sects..." for a new Russia, desirable people to oppose excessive governing by the Orthodox Church.
- The Tiflis-Erevan-Kars railroad extending south to Persia, with sections higher than any railway in Europe, opens the Caucasus to world trade and tourism.
- In December 1902, P.V. Verigin is released from exile to join his followers in Canada. He finds a divided group of which a majority follow his orders, but a minority of "independents" who sign for their own land, and an uncivil group of svobodniki continually protest, some naked, which brands all Dukhobortsy as crazy nudists.
- 1 year before migration began
- In February 1903, the Tsar issued an ukaz: "On Prescriptions Concerning the Improvement of State Order" for "...religious tolerance by the authorities ... " and granting "... different faiths and confessions free exercise of their faith and public worship according to their rites."
- In 1903, news reports that Russia did not want to lose any more peasant farmers.
- In Canada, several Doukhobors who protested about breach of their settlement contract were arrested; while in jail P. Pogeff refused to eat meat and starved to death. Doukhobors who protested in Canada were not welcome to return back to Russia, nor would Canada let them leave as a large group, and the U.S. rejected them migrating as a collective colony, but many migrated south to the U.S.A. as individuals.
- Immigration Act of 1903 (Anarchist Exclusion Act) denied U.S. immigration to anarchists, epileptics, beggars and prostitutes.
- Migration begins In May 1904, a group of about 40 (6 families) led by V.G. Pivovaroff arrives in Los Angeles, self-identified as the "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." The next group does not arrive until January 1905, soon followed by many aided and some met by Demens who diverts any headed to Canada to Los Angeles.
- During migration (1904-1912) No "milk and honey" paradise was found in North America, while those in Russia are given freedoms and economic relief. Announced mass migration was prevented mainly due to:
- no arrangement for mass exodus was arranged as done for Doukhobors in 1898 to Canada,
- no huge free tract of tax-free land was given in America for communal colonization as done in Russia or Canada, though large tracts of land were offered for adjacent homesteading in Hawaii and for purchase in California, Mexico, Texas, and other states.
- improved economic policies and religious freedom in Russia,
- prophesies to stay in Russia (false prophesies to leave, or instead go east or south),
- huge 100-year celebration in 1905 of religious freedom for Molokane (other faiths joined in celebration) in Russia, and
- negative reports mailed from the U.S.A. and delivered in person by those who returned from the U.S.A.
- In Russia Religious and civil freedom granted, war ended and war taxes reduced. Bloody race/religious riots escalate in the Caucasus cities of Baku and Tiflis, and lesser in Erivan. Peasants can get mortgages (loans) on their land. Prophesy that M.G. Rudomyotkin will soon arrive.
- "... the Czar ... in 1904, issued his ukase insuring religious freedom to all, with the exception of the 'Dancers' [Pryguny], and one or two other sects whose creeds and practices are alleged to be immoral, ..." "The Molokanye of Russia Seek Asylum in America," The New York Times, May 19, 1907.
- In December 1904, the February 1903 ukaz was amended, adding "... reforms in the area of religious politics;" and amended again in February 1905 to free sectarians from exile and prison; and amended again in April 1905 stopping persecutions of sectarians and protecting their civil rights. Molokane could own property and cemeteries, and establish their own schools. Pryguny and similar zealous faiths may not have been included in the new freedoms.
- Bloody Sunday riots in St. Petersburg in January 1905 and continued as the Revolution of 1905.
- In May 1905, ""The Catholics, Molokans, Stundists and all dissident creeds throughout the empire are testifying their appreciation of the grant of religious freedom and are holding thanksgiving services. The emperor has received many appreciative addresses from ecclesiastical bodies and individual churches."
- In July 1905, thousands of Molokane (with invited guests of related Pryguny) in the Caucasus celebrated 100 years of religious freedom granted by the Tsar in 1805 to Molokane. Only Molokane, Dukhobortsy and Subbotniki were given orders (ukazy).
- In October 1905, authoritarian, abusive Pobedonostsev retired from Procurator of the Holy Synod and Committee of Ministers, and died in March 1907.
- In 1906, 4 representatives of a Molokan farmers' association from Amur arrive in San Francisco to buy $150,000 worth of American agricultural equipment for their farms in Eastern Siberia.
- In 1906, due to new religious tolerance, Peter Verigin with 6 delegates returned and met with Stolypin and other ministers to negotiate the return of all Doukhobors, and were offered land in Altai and military exemption, but declined and returned to Canada in March 1907.
- In October 1906, an ukaz specified that registered sectarian communities of at least 50 households could select their own teachers, build religious buildings, organize hospitals and schools, buy and sell real estate, raise money, keep their own records, make contracts, participate in legal actions, file claims and testify in court. Molokane, and all non-Orthodox faiths, were free to manage their own missions, education, charity, publishing, conferences, etc. In November 1906, an ukaz gave peasants the right to personally own their portion of communal land.
- In 1906, homesteading in Amur province was stimulated with 200,000 lots along the Amur river and $3M in assistance funds. Two Molokan journals were launched.
- In 1907, K. P. Pobedonotsev dies. As Procurator (supervisor) since 1880 of the Russian Orthodox Church , a layman and government official with veto powers of the Most Holy Synod of Bishops, he suppressed Jews and heterodox (non-Orthodox) most were Spiritual Christians.
- In 1909, the staroobryad (Old Ritualist) faith was legalized. But these new liberal orders (ukazy) for religious freedom were withdrawn during the next 10 years, never fully enacted. They gave false hopes to those who stayed up to the 1917 Revolution.
- In U.S.A. The Naturalization Act of 1906 required U.S. immigrants to learn English in order to become naturalized citizens. New immigrants are not to be concentrated in cities, and importers of immigrants can be prosecuted. Immigration forms were standardized.
- People arriving after June 29, 1906, must be admitted for permanent (not temporary) residence to be naturalized. In December 1906, news reported: "... Molokane [Spiritual Christians] are not desirable citizens ... many ... penniless ... cannot stay in Los Angeles ..." 500 waiting in Texas are to be directed elsewhere.
- Thousands to leave Russia in May 1907. The eugenics movement and economic depression reduced immigration from 1908 through 1909.
- In January 1909 immigrants from Russia held a rally at the Plaza (Olvera Street) in support of political refugees and to commemorate "Bloody Sunday" 1905.
- No large land grants for communal colonies as in Canada, but more than 1000 flee from Los Angeles when "bride-selling" is investigated in 1911, scattering to isolated rural colonies guided, and misguided, mostly by agents of railroads and sugar companies. Immigration Service tries to stop widespread fraud while officers investigate illegal smuggling of diseased "Russians" from Mexico. Most immigrants clustered in cities close to downtown and tried to preserve their religions, language and culture; but Spiritual Christians from Russia differed from other immigrants by (1) lacking central leadership, and (2) not forming their own social support charity organizations, which were provided for them by urban missionaries and women's clubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and by U.S.C. students in Los Angeles.
- In Canada About one-fourth of Doukhobors protested citizenship requirement changes (individual land ownership; government schools in English; registering births, marriages and deaths). The most zealous few were arrested, jailed, began nude protests (photos in news), petitioned for migration to U.S. to join Pryguny. Doukhobors who signed for land and attended English school were labeled "Independent" by the Communal Doukhobors led in 1908 to British Columbia by P.V. Verigin.
- In 1904 Svobodnik A. Ponomareff was arrested, went on hunger strike, and died from painful wounds of forced feedings; and in 1911, A. Ozeroff died the same way. 4 more Svobodniki died of punishments at other prisons.
- During 1905-1911, Canadian immigration policy stopped recruiting from southeastern Europe, including Russia. White race, cultured immigrants from northern Europe and Britain were desired by the new Minister of the Interior Oliver, who closed the "open door" policies of the former Minister Sifton, who invited Dukhobortsy. and Molokane (Hollihan, K. Tony. "A brake upon the wheel": Frank Oliver and the Creation of the Immigration Act of 1906, Past Imperfect, Vol. 1, 1992, pages 93-112.)
- In 1905, hundreds of unwanted, undesirable non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians arriving in Canada are diverted by P. A. Demens to to join others already in Los Angeles, where he and his colleagues tried to help them.
- In March 1906, most land given to Doukhobors for communal colonies (258,880 acres = 405 sq. miles) was taken back by government because most individuals would not affirm or swear to obey the new law of Canada enforced by new Minister of the Interior Oliver. Those who signed, separated from communal Verigin Doukhobors, and a new zealot tribe who called themselves svobodniki.(free men).
- In early 1906, due to pressure from svobodniki and new religious tolerance in Russia, Peter Verigin with 6 delegates goes back to Russia, fails to meet Stolypin, but with other ministers negotiates the return of all Doukhobors on land in Altai and military exemption, confirmed by Nicholas II, but Verigin declined and returned to Canada in March 1907.
- The Immigration Act of July 1906 restricted types of immigrants, and increased reasons for deportation.
- In 1908, the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (CCUB) bought land in British Columbia and began moving ~5000 of the Community Doukhobors loyal to Verigin to a new place of refuge.
- In 1909, a section of 550 acres west of Grand Forks was named Ubezhishche (Убежище : Refuge) where 7 communal villages operated lumber works and irrigated farms, and a few building are still in use. See maps of all Doukhobor Settlements around the world, by Johnathan J . Kalmakoff.
- In Mexico In 1905-1906 a land purchase is arraigned by de Blumenthal and Samarin to divert the expected mass immigration from Los Angeles. In December 1906, a half-million acres (781 mi2) was offered in Sinaloa, Mexico. Illegal border crossings into U.S. stopped. Many without papers arrived in Mexico, wanted to move to Los Angeles, but could not. Mexican civil war and revolution (1910-1920). War taxes levied, halting farm trade with U.S.
- In Hawaii In Spring 1906, the Molokan Settlement Association, led by John Kurbatoff (Molokan probably from Manchuria), arranged by Demens, Shubin and Slivkoff (both pryguny), failed in Kapaa, Kauai, though colonists were offered 30-40 acres of land each at $5.65/acre to settle permanently. Some hoped to sell their land for a quick profit, many refused to work, and all returned to California within 6 months. Most Molokane stayed in San Francisco to work and were offered tents and aid due to the recent April 1906 earthquake. Most Pryguny and other zealots returned to Los Angeles to live in crowded "shanty" conditions, some in horse barns.
- In the Los Angeles area Demens insists that all Spiritual Christians in Russia and Canada come to California where he and his associates will help them settle. Demens unsuccessfully tried to promote those in Los Angeles as one cohesive group of "Molokans," an error that persists today.
- For 3 weeks officially ending February 19, 1905, but continuing for several more weeks, most large American churches, including Bethlehem, conduct daily religious revivals.
- 400 Prygun immigrants for 6 weeks (Feb-Mar 1905) witness 2000 American Christians in spiritual revival marches, singing and chanting, to purify the blighted streets of their neighborhood from sin.
- Pryguny quarrel over failed colonies in Hawaii and Mexico and report being scammed by their own leaders (Samarin and Pivovaroff) and by humanitarian Russians (Demens and Cherbak).
- In April 1906 a Pentecostal movement begins a half mile from Bethlehem on Azusa street. Zealot Bizieff [Bayzieff] envisions the Apocalypse arriving, tells followers to flee to nearby mountains (probably Mount San Antonio, "Mt. Baldy") while city officials intervene to counsel him until he retracts his prophesy. San Pedro union thugs invade a Prygun sobranie (prayer meeting), threaten immigrant strike-breakers, then burn houses of 100 occupants. Immigrants from Russia arrested for fighting, and a murder investigated.
- In December 1906, "Molokans" in Los Angeles were declared "undesirable."
- In 1907, slums are extensively cleared of illegal shacks and courts, including Utah street. More than 99% of Spiritual Christian immigrants from Russia do not buy houses or apply for citizenship, probably because leaders believed they were in exile, soon to return to the Caucasus, while those "baptized with the Holy Ghost" at local churches, leave heritage faiths. Gang wars between immigrant ethnic Russians, Armenians, Italians, Slavs and Mexicans are common in The Flat(s). A young couple from different Spiritual Christians faiths attempts suicide when not allowed to marry by girl's father.
- In 1909, Pryguny arrange to purchase their own cemetery from a Slavic Orthodox Church, which became the preferred location for burial of zealot Dukh-i-zhizniki.
- Beginning in 1911, 100s attend a series of "bride selling" court cases lasting 3 years, causing more than a thousand to flee the sinful city to rural colonies for religious freedom and isolation, which fail and most return to the city.
- In San Francisco and Bay Area On the way back from Hawaii in 1906, after the earthquake, several who had been working as stevedores in Hawaii for steamship companies were transferred to similar jobs in San Francisco harbor. Mostly Molokane chose to stay and were taken to a large post-earthquake tent-city east of Potrero Hill managed by the U.S. Army, which provided better living conditions than the cramped slums they left in Los Angeles. Men got work in reconstruction, adjacent steel mill and sugar factory, and/or on farms further east. Some farm the south side of Potrero Hill (goats, chickens). The Olivet Presbyterian church women's club funded the building of a community center-school for immigrant adults, the Neighborhood House, which Molokane and Pryguny also used for large meetings (holidays, weddings) until they built the Molokan prayer hall in 1929 across the street, and Pryguny established their own meeting house. The Neighborhood House is still used by Molokane for wedding receptions and special events.
Though many factors prompted non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians to migrate from the Caucasus among the wave of Eastern Europeans to North America around 1900, the oral history of each Spiritual Christian family that immigrated to California reports different reasons for their ancestors' journey. Berokoff began his book (above) with parts of the Klubnikin prophesies beginning about 1852, then discusses just a few of the many possible reasons for migration. Following is a somewhat chronological comprehensive list of clustered likely factors which could have affected their migration from Russia to California, contrasted with plausible reasons why the vast majority (99+%) stayed home in Russia.
Reasons TO Leave Why 1% went to the Americas.
- About 4,000 Spiritual Christian Dukhobortsy were exiled, and nearly half died. (See number 5 below)
- Expiration of exemptions for taxes and rent for all colonists in Caucasus territories. Resettled Spiritual Christians became tax-paying and rent-paying citizens for the first time in their history. The nobility, clergy and military remained tax-exempt. The peasants supported the war economy with an assessment of about 60 rubles per year per family (in 1897).
- Land shortage and overuse, causing over population and underproduction. By the early 1890s average land holdings in Erevan governate dropped to half of the previous generation. To dilute the non-Orthodox (sectarians) in the Caucasus and enhance the imperial presence, more Orthodox settlers were sent, the majority arriving after 1900.
- Loss of wagon-making and driving jobs (drozhky) due to opening of new railways in the Southern Caucasus between Tiflis, Yerevan, Kars and Baku governates, and the end of war with Turkey. Many Spiritual Christians had lucrative jobs and contracts supplying food, wagons and labor to the military. Some Pryguny in Los Angeles drove garbage wagons, and in Mexico hauled military supplies during the Revolution.
- Need for workers and homesteaders in the Americas by railroads and businesses. Governments and business agents were competing around the world to bring "desirable" immigrant workers and settlers to the Americas.
- Rate war among steamers for immigrants to America dropped the trans-Atlantic fare from $15 to $9 in June 1904.
- Many Spiritual Christians planned to earn money abroad and return home, as done by many Southern Europeans. One group from Kars oblast left about 1880 to the East coast of the U.S.A. in search of the prophet M.G. Rudomyotkin rumored to be in the U.S.A., and returned about 1890. Many Armenians went to U.S.A. to get educated and return, until the massacres were over.
- Revolution of 1905 increasing labor strikes and protests in Baku and many major South Russia cities
Personal / Religious
- To dilute the non-Orthodox (heresies, sectarians) in the Caucasus and enhance the imperial presence, more Orthodox settlers were sent, the majority arriving after 1900. Government persistently tried to convert all non-Orthodox back to the Church to save their souls, while the most zealous resisted conversion.
- E.G. Klubnikin prophesy to flee to a safe haven, refuge from Apocalypse. Other Prygun faiths had prophesies to go South to place of refuge.
- To be part of Zion, not Jerusalem. See: Sionskii Kniga : Book of Zion, by E. G. Klubnikin.
- Obey/ follow family elders and prophets who chose to leave.
- Expiration of exemptions of military service to new settlers in the Caucasus territories. In 1874 military service became compulsory to all males age 20, active service reduced to 6 years plus 9 years in reserve, 15 years total.
- Welcomed by the Pentecostal faith revival launched in Los Angeles in April 1906 at the Apostolic Faith Mission, near 2nd street and San Pedro street, 1/2 mile from Bethlehem Institution, a day before the earthquake in San Francisco.
- Adventure. See the world.
- Russo-Turkish War (18771878). War among indigenous peoples in former Ottoman empire, mainly Armenians and Azeris, neighboring the Spiritual Christians.
- Massive killings of Armenians beginning in 1894.
- Russian settlers in war zones along the borders suffered thefts and kidnappings. Several Spiritual Christian villages closest to the Turkish border, and along major roads, had migration rates higher than 1%, but probably not more than 10%.
- Russian peasants were required to billet (house and feed) any Russian soldier who came to them.
- Russo-Japanese War starts On January 17, 1904, Japan invades Port Arthur without warning. Japan military funded by loans from American Jewish bankers in New York, and aided by Russian Jewish spies. Emigration is difficult until the war ends in September 1905, by which time 100s from the more ecstatic tribes of Spiritual Christians already fled to Los Angeles, and were divided between proceeding out of the city to colonies in Mexico or Hawaii.
- Religious Before 1905, sectarians (on-Orthodox ethnic Russians) were not allowed to build meeting halls, hire or convert Orthodox. Russians caught illegally reading the Bible together, a tradition started by Tsar Peter the Great in the 1700s, were fined $20 (more than a month's wages).
- Travel Before 1905, sectarians were not allowed to travel for work, or visit relatives in other districts.
- Speech Before 1905, no one was allowed to speak in public or hold meetings without a permit.
- Bloody Sunday On January 22, 1905, 100s of demonstrating workers were killed by tsarist troops in St. Petersburg. In the following days the revolt spread to Moscow, other cities, and the Caucasus.
- 1905 Russian Revolution From October 1905 to April 1906, 15,000 were killed, 20,000 injured and 45,000 exiled.
- 60 Dukhobor soldiers, led by Matvey Lebedev, refused to carry guns in April 1895. Some were jailed, and all whipped, some to near death.
- ~7,500 Dukhobortsy (1/3) supported their soldiers with 3 gun-burning protests in June 1895. More than 1000 were beaten, and 4000 evicted from their villages, about 2000 died.
- 240+ Dukhobor soldiers and elders were arrested. Those in Kars oblast, about half, were marched through Romanovka village, past the home of E.G. Klubnikin, to be imprisoned first in the Kars Citadel; and later marched from Kars, again through Romanovka village, to prison in Tiflis city. Several died from torture and the cruel, inhumane jail conditions. In 1896-97, they were exiled, scattered among Tatar and Armenian villages far from home. Many died of exhaustion, disease and malnutrition. (Doukhobor Military Exiles in the Caucasus, 1985-1899, map by Jonathan Kalmakoff, 2012.)
- Only 1650 (22%) of Dukhobortsy had funds to migrate, of the 7,411 who left per instruction of P.V. Verigin who was in exile.
- The Society of Friends (Quakers) in London organized an international donation for a massive migration of Dukhobortsy, and paid about 2% of their total travel cost. Friends in the U.S. sent train car loads of food, supplies and tools, including 200 spinning-wheels, to Canada.
- Lev N. Tolstoy donated about 23% of their travel costs ($17,000), and his "Tolstoyan" followers donated about 7% of the total travel funds. Dukhobortsy paid 23%, of their own costs and later reimbursed the Friends.
- Canada paid about 47% of their travel cost, gave large blocks of land for communal villages and schools, supplied food and seed, and guaranteed military exemption. The same deal was offered to non-Dukhobor Spiritual Christians in the Caucasus, but those later migrants were diverted to Los Angeles in 1904-1910 by P.A. Demens.
- Beginning in 1898, one-third of all Dukhobortsy (7,400+) left Russia, most together in 6 shiploads, and most were followers of Verigin, and were called the "Big Party." By 1930 more than 8,000 migrated to Canada from Russia, while 2/3 stayed in Russia.
- News and books appeared about Dukhobortsy leaving the Caucasus, in the largest ever communal migration to North America.
- Society of Friends, Pennsylvania, donated food, clothing, teachers, nurses, medical supplies, 200 spinning wheels.
- In 1900 and 1901, Lev N. Tolstoy issued public petitions to Tsar Nikolas II to stop abuse of Dukhobortsy, Molokane and other sectarians, or let them emigrate. Pryguny and other heretic faiths were not specified. 2 of Tolstoy's petitions were translated and published internationally in April and June 1901.
- In February 1901 Tolstoy was publicly reprimanded for criticizing the Orthodox Church, and later ostracized (kicked out) from the Church for not immediately apologizing.
- Tolstoy quickly finished his third and last novel Voskresenie (Resurrection) and sold it as a magazine serial to donate the royalties to the international Doukhobor fund, contributing about 23% of their travel costs, $17,000. Canada paid more than half the total costs and gave land, the remainder was paid by the fleeing Doukhobors, The Friends Society (London) and Tolstoyans.
- He corresponded with many people about destination options for emigrating Spiritual Christians, including Demens who wanted them to come to Southern California or Hawaii.
- During the Dukhobor emigration, Tolstoy sent trusted friends, colleagues, reporters and his son to help supervise and record every detail of this historic migration.
- Tolstoy died in 1910.
- In 1917, his son Il'ya Lev. Tolstoy toured the USA coast to coast lecturing about his father's work. In March 1917, Il'ya was in Los Angeles where he addressed about 7000 including immigrants from Russia at the International Institute, who were all personally invited by volunteers going door-to door.
- 2 official Prygun scouts, M.P. Shubin and I.G. Samarin, returned from their North America tour with a highly favorable report.
- 4 of 5 unofficial scouts A.I. Agaltsoff with 2 nephews (M.N. and A.N.) and A.I. Slivkoff returned with positive reports. The 5th, V.I. Holopoff, a Molokan, stayed in Washington state then joined the Canadian military, listing his faith as "Brotherhood" (of Spiritual Christians).
- Repeated news that 200,000 Spiritual Christians "Molokany" were leaving Russia for North America.
- The most enthusiastic believed, or hoped, that everyone was going!
- In January 1900, P. A. Demens, a Russian businessman and author in Los Angeles, offered to help all Spiritual Christians in Russia come to Southern California, to colonize rural land or work in the city. Dukhobortsy who petitioned to move en mass to the U.S.A. from Canada were denied, but many moved as individuals. He devoted most of 1905-1906 trying to coordinate and assist all immigrating non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians from Russia who arrived in North America. He personally met some groups in Canada, some on the docks in New York, and personally escorted them to Los Angeles. For some he loaned money and/or arranged discounted train fares cross-country. He scouted Hawaii, escorted leaders there, and helped negotiate their land contract for Kauai Island, and began negotiations for land on Hawaii Island.
Reasons NOT TO Leave Why 99% stayed home.
- About 1898, many evacuated Dukhobortsy sold and gave their property (improved land, buildings, businesses, animals, tools, etc) to neighboring Spiritual Christians, therefore the need to move for lack of land or housing was reduced for those who lived near Dukhobor areas.
- In 1904, U.S. and Canadian political leaders reversed open border policies and restricted undesirable immigration from Eastern and southern Europe.
- In February 1905, English and American ship companies refuse passengers from Russia. Only German ships will take them.
- In September 1905, Tsar Nicholas II ordered reduction of war taxes paid by peasants (a major reason for leaving).
- Most Spiritual Christian Molokane in the Caucasus were bourgeois peasantry, more prosperous than indigenous peoples who were given more benefits and privileges, and less punishments.
- The government plan for Russification of the Caucasus required many successful Molokan colonies, which got preferred treatment with skill training, like cheese making.
- They would have to sacrifice everything to start over in a new land and language.
- They had no passports. Some had forged identification papers. Many could travel together with one visa, if anyone could get a visa.
- Traveling alone was very difficult, dangerous, expensive and unhealthy; especially for young kids. Most could not go without financial aid. Robbers and soldiers worked along borders. Bribes cost a lot. Border guards can shoot illegal migrants. The cheap area of the ships were crowded, dirty, infected with disease.
- People who lost war related and transport businesses, quickly adapted to changes due to new railroads.
- The U.S. government was exposing and stopping illegal immigration and fraud. Immigration rules prohibited migration of sick, weak, mentally ill. Many in North America considered Russians among the "undesirable immigrants."
- The first to arrive did not get rich quick and sponsor thousands of relatives to follow. Settlement in Hawaii failed, and the colonies in Mexico were poor and burdened by a revolution. Many felt ashamed to be so poor in Los Angeles that in 1910 Prygun men on the street refused to be photographed, they said they would be embarrassed that they might be recognized in their shabby clothes by relatives in Russia who might see the photo in a newspaper.
- Many wrote letters and/or returned with stories of poverty, colony failures, and less religious freedom in North America mandatory education, registration of births and marriages, Americanization melting pot (loss of customs, language). The high cost of good farm land and conflicting leaders prevented the dream of a huge communal colony, except in Mexico and later Arizona.
- International Workers of the World (IWW) in the United States began mass protests, similar to earlier labor protests in Russia, which were appeased.
- In 1906, homesteading in the Russia Far East was stimulated with $3M in assistance funds for those who moved to any of 200,000 lots along the Amur river.
Personal / Religious
- Scouts could not find M.G. Rudomyotkin along the U.S. East Coast in 1890s and returned.
- Ignored, or did not know about, or did not understand the Klubnikin Prygun prophesy: "Jerusalem" vs. "Zion."
- Obey elders and prophets who reported God wants them to to stay.
- Obey Rudomyotkin prophesy to go "East" to "Tika," the new territory east of the Volga River.
- Don't want to leave family and friends.
- Life is good enough, tolerable, don't mess it up or take the risk.
- Reports by mail and those who returned from the U.S. that said there was no paradise in America.
- Within 2 years of arrival in December 1906, The Los Angeles Times reported: "... Molokane [Spiritual Christians from Russia] are not desirable citizens ... many ... penniless ... cannot stay in Los Angeles ..."
- Russo-Turkish War (18771878) provided jobs for Spiritual Christians who also got many new villages in Kars and Batum governates.
- Russo-Japanese War ends September 1905 peace is negotiated.
- Ethnic wars in Caucasus declined.
- Russian military activity declined for a while. Soldiers were not ordering room and board (billet : ордер на постой солдат) from villagers.
- Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) impoverished and isolated the Russian colonists in Baja California.
- 1903 February Tsar Nicholas II issued and Imperial edict (ukaz): "On Prescriptions Concerning the Improvement of State Order" granting ".. all our subjects of different faiths and confessions free exercise of their faith and public worship according to their rites (obryady)."
- 1903 June Russian government would not permit Molokane to leave because they were "... splendid agriculturalists ... without fanaticism ..." and are "... more contented with their conditions." Religious freedom was not granted to "Dancers" [Jumpers, Pryguny] a major reason for Pryguny to lie that they are Molokane.
- 1904 December Russian government ".. agreed to eliminate 'all constraints on religious life not established by law' " adding political freedom to the ukaz signed in February 1903.
- 1905 January "A Brief Account of the Origins, Developement, and Present Status of the Evangelical Movement in Russia and the needs of the Russian Evangelical Christians (Known Under Various folk Nicknames as Pashkovites, Baptists, Neo-Molokans, etc.)" was submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
- 1905 February People formerly jailed for religious activities were released.
- 1905 April 17 On Paskha Sunday, Tsar Nicholas II issued his Imperial edict (ukaz): On the Strengthening of the Principles of Religious Toleration («Об укреплении начал веротерпимости») which gave all religious minorities the right to hold services openly, provide education, and build churches and meeting halls. Membership in a sect was no longer a crime, except for fanatical sects, like Skoptsy, Pavlovsty, [Maksimisty] etc.
- 1905 May "The Catholics, Molokans, Stundists and all dissident creeds throughout the [Russian] empire are testifying their appreciation of the grant of religious freedom and are holding thanksgiving services. The emperor has received many appreciative addresses from ecclesiastical bodies and individual churches."
- 1905 June Tsar Nicholas II issued and Imperial edict (ukaz): "On Relieving the Fate of Persons Convicted of Religious Crimes."
- 1905 July Thousands celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Tsar's 1805 decree of religious freedom for Molokane. Vorontsovka village, Erivan governate, hosted the event under a huge tent-like roof. Many Pryguny and other non-Molokan Spiritual Christians consider leaving to north America.
- 1905 October 17 Manifesto Title: On the Improvement of Order in the State («Манифест об усовершенствовании государственного порядка») 1. Fundamental civil freedoms will be granted to the population, including real personal inviolability, freedom of conscience, speech, assembly and association. (Reproduction with bloody hand print by artist Nikolai Shebuev, in Pulemet, no.1, November 13, 1905.)
- Religious Sectarians can build meeting halls, prayer houses.
- Travel Sectarians can travel for work and pleasure.
- Speech Anyone can speak in public and hold meetings.
- 1906 Journals Molokan vestnik (The Molokan Messenger) and Dukhovny khristianin (The Spiritual Christian) began publication.
- 2/3 stayed home in the Caucasus.
- Spiritual Christians planning to migrate to Canada were advised by Tolstoy and others to not follow the Doukhobors to Canada.
- In 1902 the Canadian's protested against the Doukhobor consolidation as a unit and large villages. 1907 the new government administration denounced group villages and Russian schools, though earlier immigrant Germans from Russia (Mennonites, etc) got such concessions.
- In 1902, 1700 Doukhobors march to protest freedom for land and for the Russian government to release their leader P.V. Verigin from Siberian exile so he can come to Canada. The protests were well publicized in 1903 when some split to form their own spiritual zealot sect of "free men" (svobodniki : свободники) and took off their clothes, which became more common when they set fires to get more media attention.
- Svobodniki in Canada wanted to join with Pryguny in Southern California. By 1924, Svobodniki was transformed to "Sons of Freedom," similar to Sons of Liberty.
- In 1907 the next Canada administration after immigration threatened to cancel land and school promises, but not military exemption, which caused about 75% to follow Verigin by abandoning their land, mills and factories (~$11,400,000), and move to British Columbia where their commune board purchased land on credit. Many thought Verigin would take them back home to Russia. Spiritual Christians arriving in Los Angeles refused to join Verigin's communes, except a few in the 1910s who went to the Doukhobor commune in Oregon.
- Molokane and Pryguny wrote to Tolstoy for aid for transportation years after 1/3 of the Doukhobors migrated, but were denied. These letters to Lev N. Tolstoy (noted in his diary, yet to be found) were most likely composed by I.G. Samarin.
- Rumors of 300,000 and 200,000 migrating quickly reduced to 60,000 then 16,000 and down to 5,000 within months. The actual number was less than any estimate published and may eventually be tabulated from immigration documents.
- Though Prygun scout F.T. Butchneff returned to Russia from North America with a negative report, the majority of non-Doukhobors who migrated to U.S.A. were Pryguny and other non-Molokan Spiritual Christians.
Contents Chapter 1>
Spiritual Christian History
Spiritual Christians Around the World