Tambov Meeting

"Turning Towards the Origins of Molokanism"

International Molokan Meeting in Tambov, Russia.

August 1-4, 1997

Cost $1,400 - 14 are going from America

On this page:
Invitational letter from Tambov ? Letter to American Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations ? Reports of Meeting and Trip.

Invitational letter from Tambov:

Tambov Obschina of the Spiritual Christian Molokans (SCM)
10 May
Ivan Timofeievich Vologin
Presbyter, Tambov Obschina of SCM
g. Tambov 392018
Telephone: (075-2) 51-98-61
Dear Bothers and Sisters,
The Tambov Obschina of SCM invites you to a thematic conference of the Spiritual Christian Molokans to be held from August 1 to August 4, 1997. The theme of the conference is "Turning Towards the Origins of Molokanism".
Proposed program of the Conference follows:

  1. August, Friday -- arrival and evening sobraniia
  2. August, Saturday -- working day
  3. August, Sunday -- Sobraniia and discussions
  4. August, Monday -- departure

We are not formulating a detailed program because we hope the delegates will contribute their ideas regarding:

Please send delegates -- elder capable of contributing to the life flow of out Molokan movement on the basis of Spiritual- Bible knowledge. We are hoping that young people will become involved in the conference. Their interest in and work at the conference is very much desired. This conference is convened through the initiative of brothers and sisters from the USA and the invitation of our Obschina. This conference does not have any connections to the Union (soiuz) of the SCM and participation of delegates in the conference does not require membership to the Union of SCM. (For brethren in Russia) If your Obschina is not able to pay for transportation of its delegates to the conference, please, forward the following information to our address:

Per instruction of the Tambov Obschina of SCM.
Presbyter I.T. Vologi

Letter to American congragations:
May 22, 1997
Antonina M. Pushkarow, San Francisco
Telephone/Fax: 415-826-1354

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Once again Matuska Rossia (Mother Russia) is beckoning to all Molokans to visit the land of our forefathers. The enclosed letter from Tambov is an invitation to a conference to be held in Tambov in August of this year at a
Cardiological Sanatorium located on the grounds of a picturesque park of the former landowner Asseev on the banks of the river Tsina in the center of the city. I realize that this invitation is arriving rather late but our brethren and I beg for your forgiveness. We hope you will consider taking this trip in spite of the time limitation. To plan interesting activities in Tambov (during the conference and after) and in other areas, please advise which of the following interest you: visiting museums, archives, villages where Molokans live, etc. To plan a feasible itinerary, we need to know the regions you would like to visit after the Conference. The choices are: Veronezh, Samara, Tula, Stavropol' (any particular area?), Rostov, Krasnodar regions, etc. Because the time is so short, we need your information (your wishes) as soon as possible -- by June 10th. I am enclosing the letter from Tambov in both languages for your convenience. Upon receipt of your response, I will be sending you more information regarding the cost of the trip. We will attempt to keep the cost as low as possible. If you will need help in preparing documentation and acquiring a Russian visa, please let me know.
As you probably already know, you need to have a current passport.

If you would like me to deal with your visa acquisition, you need to send me:

  1. a copy of the first pages of your passport (page with your picture and passport number).
  2. places you would like to visit and how long you would like to stay in each area.
  3. three pictures (passport size) of the visa,

Upon receipt of the above documentation, I will send you a completed visa application, which you will need to sign and return to me with a check for $50 for your visa.

Please share this information with your friends and church members.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
The least of your sisters,
Antonina M. Pushkarow

NOTE: Plans are to fly on Aeroflot from San Francisco on June 30. Arrive in Moscow June 30 (18-hour flight across dateline). Go directly to Moscow train station. Take overnight train (with beds) to Tambov train station on June 31. Go to Cardiological Sanatorium for rooms and meals. Meetings begin next morning, August 1. Cost to and from Tambov from San Francisco or Los Angeles is $1,400.

What Happened at the Meeting?

Proceedings of the Tambov Meeting
News from Tambov, by Andrei Conovaloff (posted August 5, 1997)
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HISTORIC MOMENT: Orthodox Priest Embraces Tambov Molokans 

TAMBOV --- August 4, 1997 --- The priest of the oldest Russian Orthodox Church in Tambov greets the local Molokans with a welcoming hand. Centuries of persecution are erased in one moment. 

A historic moment appeared quite by chance. After the Tambov Meeting, those remaining toured Tambov to see the beautiful city and historic sites. Along the scenic channel park of the River Tsna are several bright blue and gold onion domed churches and the attractive Cardiological Sanatorium we did not get to stay in. We asked to see the oldest Russian Orthodox (pravoslavnie) church in Tambov. It was just up the street. We all jumped out of the bus. Pictures were difficult to take because trees had grown around the property and blocked much of the view of the first floor. As we walked through the iron gates, we could see piles of logs and lumber in various stages of processing. The noise of three men at a large table saw cutting logs into lumber contrasted with the restored historic holy building. The men were building a new Sunday school and reported that cutting lumber this way was much cheaper than buying finished lumber. 

As we walked around the old church, Father Nikolai (Otets Nikolai) appeared and greeted us. If not for his long black robe, chain and cross, he looked just like a Molokan with a full beard and gentle smile. He was between services and does not often get a bus load of guests. In our group, Mike Mendrin from Laguna Beach had many questions which Antonina Pushkarow translated. Father Nikolai graciously answered every question. 

Not far into the intense discussion Father Nikolai learned he was with Molokans and was astonished. He stopped talking. His face gleamed with chuckles when Antonina explained that we came from all over Russia and overseas to meet with our brothers in Tambov, the origin of our sect. He exclaimed that he had no idea Molokans still lived in Tambov. 

Father Nikolai said that it was such a pity. He explained that a few months ago when summoned to a hospital where an old woman (babushka) was dying,, she begged him to perform the Molokan last rites and she wanted a Molokan funeral. Not knowing the Molokan rituals (obriad), he did not know what to do. He regretted not being able to fulfill her last wish. Now he was delighted to meet the Tambov Molokan presbyter, Vologin, and assured Vologin that he will refer all Molokans to him. He won't try to convert them to Orthodoxy. 

Father Nikolai insisted that we are all God's children - Molokans and Orthodox - and brothers and sisters. We said we must each serve our respective flocks. He then insisted on us all coming into his church to complete his personally guided tour. He gave everyone a souvenir pin commemorating the 360 anniversary of Tambov (1636 to 1996). Before parting, Father Nikolai and Vologin embraced and held hands, turning a new page in Molokan history.
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drank tea with samovar hot water. Galina also sang in a girls' trio. The experience reminded me of the first time I stayed with the Doukhobors in Molokan Youth Propose Plan
TAMBOV - While their parents and elders were in the main meeting, Molokan youth from Tambov, Moscow, Tula, and Voronezh met outside for
hours discussing issues important to them. They prepared a list of four major priorities which they presented to the elders on the second day of  the meeting.
First the youth recommend a newsletter to advertise their agenda and programs. They know many families of Molokan ancestry with youth who have not yet attended their local Molokan churches.
Second they needed a program that would be fun and attract the youth. The main goal was to get to know one another. Spending a weekend at a youth camp lodge (lager) was the chosen strategy. A perfect place was the lodge near the new Molokan resettlement of Slobodka, Tula.
The third recommendation is to improve the boring Molokan worship ceremony. The service could be shorter, contemporary, and broader. The service is too long, prayers seem to take forever. Prayers could be shorter and more relevant to current issues which would provide more time to other things. The elders read the Bible without discussion. If more people participated in the service, actively expressing their views, they would get more out of it than just passively sitting and listening. They sing the Psalms but no songs like the American Molokans. More variety in songs is requested. In fact, new songs were learned each evening as singers from each delegation taught each other samples of their repertoire.
Finally, the youth recommended documenting and studying their roots and history. They need to search their archives, research family trees, learn about Molokans from other parts of Russia and the world. They plan to produce a collection of information about the Molokans - photos of all the churches and members, names, addresses and phone numbers, and archival documents - and reproduce this information on CD-ROM (laser disk) and the Internet. I remarked that their hi-tech plans will astonish the American Molokan youth like the Russians did during the cold-war when Russia launched the first satellite. I joked that at this resort we don't have hot running water, the floors are not smooth, the furniture is falling apart - all OK (normalno) in Russia, a third-world country; they added, and we don't have air-conditioning; but, you'll bury us American Molokans with CD-ROMs and Internet advances.
In response to their futuristic plan, I suggested that it would be a good gesture if American Molokans could fund the transportation of ten youth, five from Tambov and five from Moscow, to Stavropol' during a wedding in Kamenie Balka. Such a trip would cost $400 round-trip for all ten and produce intense cross-fertilization. The youth liked the idea. It would be better than trying to invite everybody to remote Tula when most of the active Molokan youth are in Stavropol'.
These modern thinking Russian Molokan youth acknowledge that such work will proceed well in the next century and they may be babushki and d'edushki before it is finished, but they need to start it now or forget about being Molokans.
Footnote: Late into the last evening in Tambov, I took a break from writing this report to accept an earlier invitation from the youth to visit cabin 31, where they were gathering. As I entered, I step back into old Russia. A young girl about 14, Galina, was beautifully singing a slow solo. Ten youth crowded into the sitting area of this small cabin (dacha). They read poems, shared thoughts and anecdotes, sang folk and religious songs, with and without guitar, ate sweets and melons, and drank tea with samovar hot water. Galina also sang in a girls' trio. The experience reminded me of the first time I stayed with the Doukhobors in British Columbia. Then and now, I felt a Russian soul that has been sterilized from the Los Angeles Molokans.

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Heritage Club Awards First Scholarship to Molokan in Russia
TAMBOV - A member of the Heritage Club Scholarship Committee, Mike Mendrin, selected their first recipient in Russia. After several students refused his offer, probably because he doesn't speak any Russian, Mike met a girl on the tour who just got admitted to the law school in St. Petersburg. With a translator Mike interviewed Alla Pushkarov and insisted that she accept a scholarship (stipend) of $100. Often Russians are reluctant to accept gifts.
After announcing this award during dinner, Mike collected several applications and recommendations for churches and students who need financial assistance. He'll deliver the scholarship applications to the scholarship committee and the other requests to the Heritage Club.

Who attended the Tambov Meeting
50+ from around the world
14 From AMERICA & Australia
Conovaloff, Andrew John Phoenix, Arizona
Kurnosoff, Timofei & Vera Kerman, California
Leontiff, John Paul Yuba City, California
Mendrin, Mike John Laguna Beach, California
Nozhen, _____ Sidney, Australia
Pivovaroff, James M. South Australia, Australia
Pivovaroff, Morris M. Kerman, California
Pivovaroff, Morris M. Jr. Kerman, California
Shubin, Steve Oregon
Pushkarow, Alex Nick San Bruno, California
Pushkarow, Antonina Michael San Francisco, California
Pushkarow, Paul Alex & Tanya Moisei Bogdanoff San Francisco, California
60+ From RUSSIA:
Alifon, Vitali Uriech - Syzran
Bogdanov, Vasilii Ivanovich - Iutsa, Stavropol'
Bolderov, Petr Vasil'evich - Voronezh
Bolvina, Nina Grigor'evna - Saratov
Chernishova, Maria Matveevna - Gulgevichi, Krasnodar (Novo-Ivanovka,
Dudin, Vasili Gregoriech - Moscow
Evdokimov, Iakov Vasil'evich - Moscow (Erevan, Armenia)
Evdokimov, Vasili Ivanovich - Moscow & Sloboda, Tula
Fedchenko (Bolotin), Nadezhda Petrovna - Moscow (Vorontzovka, Kars, Turkey)
Ignatova, Nadezhda Matveevna - Krasnosel'sk, Krasnodar (Baku, Azerbaijian)
Il'in, Stepan Efimevich & Matriona Ivanovna - Novopavlovsk, Stavropol'
Inikova, Svetlana - Moscow Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology
Kharitonov*, Nikolai Isaich - Melitopol', Ukraine
Kotov, Nikolai Nikolaevich - Volgadonsk, Rostov (Baku, Azerbaijain)
Kurnikov, Vasili Matveivich - Krasnodar (Samkhchali, Azerbaijain)
Larionova (Elfimova), Natalia Petrovna - Samara
Malashikin, Vasili Ivanovich - Slobodka, Tula (Rasdan, Armenia)
Minasuev, Pavel Timofeivich - _____,Tula
Nevarov, Ludmilla Viktorevna - Tambov (Baku, Azerbaijian)
Ochnev, Aleksandr Vladimirevich - Moscow
Radiontsev, Sergei Fedorovich - Omsk
Remizova, Evdokia Ivanova - Spartak, Tula (Krasnodar)
Saiapin, Maria Ivanova - Spartak, Tula (Tblisi, Georgia)
Saiapin, Vasili Feodrevich - Samara
Saiapin*, Boris Nikolaevich - Omsk
Samadurova, Nadezhda Matveevna - Slobodka, Tula
Samadurova, Maria Ivanovna - Spartak, Tula (Krasnodar)
Sedoekina, Maria Iakovena - Kishinev, Moldova
Semiletov, Gregori Ivanovich - Orlovka, Tula (Tblisi, Georgia)
Shishlinova (Kalesnikova) Irina Alekseevna - Samara
Sudakova, Tat'iana Nikolaevna - Moscow (Sumgait, Azerbaidjian)
Statostina, Emma Sergeevna - Tambov
Struchalina, Maria Mikhaelevna - Orlovka, Tula (Rustavi, Georgia)
Tarusev, Aleksei Iakovich - Volgadonsk, Rostov
Tarusev, Iakov Gregorich - Volgodonsk, Rostov (Baku, Azerbaijian)
Terekhova, Valentina Nikolaevna - Kishinev, Moldova
Tikhonov*, Victor Vasil'evich - Svoboda, Tula (Vorontsovka, Armenia)
Volkov, Vasili Andreivich - Novo-Malorossiskaia, Krasnodar (Baku, Azerbaijian)
Vologin*, Ivan Timofeivich & Maria Feodrevna - Tambov (Baku, Azerbaijain)
Bychkova Tat'iana Petrovna - Tambov
Makhneva Nadezhda Volodia - Moscow
Makhneva, Ania Volodia - Moscow
Neverov, Anton Anatolivich - Tambov
Neverov, Kornei Viktorovich - Tambov
Neverova Liudmila Viktorovna - Tambov
Petrov, Aleksandr Sergeevich - Tambov
Petrova, Nadezhda Sergeevna - Tambov
Pushkarova, Alla Mikhealevna - Moscow & St. Petersburg
Samokhvolov, Andrei Vladimirovich - Tambov
Tikhonov, Andrei Alexandrevich - Moscow (Hrasdan/Rasdan, Armenia)

Report on the tour of Molokan villages