Kars Welcomes Spiritual Christian Heritage
cultural center, museum, villages, cemetery, Russian house
and more to see
2009 Updated 2013
A welcoming program is planned for western Spiritual
Christian heritage tourists visiting Kars, Turkey.
Descendants traveling to visit villages of their ancestors
will be escorted by local descendants striving to preserve
their history and historical remnants of all Spiritual
Christians from Russia who lived in the Kars area.
So far 3 Spiritual Christian heritage visitors have been
hosted 2 Doukhobor, 1 Dukh-i-zhiznik
- In 2009 Sept 29, the first guests were Florence
Chernoff-Lymburner, a Doukhobor artist from
Washington state, and her husband. They were welcomed by
Russian sectarian historian Vedat Akçayöz.
Flo visited several historical sites, and photographed
many Russian scenes and items to paint on canvas when
she gets home. Her first report, without photos,
appeared in Iskra
(March 1, 2010, pages 14,15). More is posted on the Doukhobor Genealogy
- In 2011, a group of Doukhobors led by Ken Ken
Harshenin Fred and Eileen
Kooznetsoff, siblings Walter Stoochnoff and Diane
Stoochnoff-White, and sisters Rose Ann Hadikin-Bartley
and Natalie Hadikin-Stewart. (Photo at bottom of Kars
Doukhobor History Project Granted)
- In 2013 May, Jerry Bogdanoff, a descend of Dukh-i-zhizniki
who moved to Australia arrived in Kars. Using this web
site, and relatives of Dukh-i-zhiznik immigrants
in Australia, he planned a tour of the Caucasus
(Georgia, Armenia, and Eastern Turkey). When he entered
Vedat's office, he was surprised to see books by George
Mohoff on the desk, and a video of me (Andrei
Conovaloff) lecturing about Spiritual Christian history
simultaneously translated in Turkish. Read more about
- In 2013 July, Verna Posnikoff from Vancouver BC hiked
up to the 1895 Burning of Arms site, visited several
villages and the museum collection, took photos, and
wrote her story: A
Visit to the Doukhobor Villages Near Kars, Turkey,
Iskra #070, Sept. 2014, pages 30-32.
The new Kars Malakans* World Friendship
Association with the Municipality of Kars is planning
to provide heritage guests with tours of local villages, a
Molokan home, a cemetery, old water-powered flour mills, the
Kars cultural center, books, films and a museum and photo
display. [* Malakan is the Turkish spelling of Molokan, and
is in error used as a general term for "all Spiritual
Christians from Russia." ]
Historian, photographer and film producer Vedat Akçayöz (right,
is directing the project. He is Chairman of the Old World
Friendship Association of [Spiritual Christians]
in Kars and President of the Kars Culture and Art
Vedat writes in 2009:
My grandmother is [Prygun]
Her name is Anna. She died in 1944. For approximately 20
years, I have researched [Spiritual Christian]
culture and art.
My purpose is to preserve and present how the ..
[Spiritual Christians from Russia] .. lived in Kars in the
past, their culture, their history, their homes, their
cemeteries and graves, their agriculture, and items of
daily living to save this before it disappears.
I want to open a small Russian sectarian museum in Kars,
and I am trying to restore .. [Spiritual Christian
I have proposed to the Ministry of Culture a restoration
of a Molokan house in the Çakmak [Chakmak] villlage
4 miles northwest of Kars city].
I am working to carry out this project. When a tourist
comes to Kars, we want to take them to the Çakmak village
and visit a Molokan home, visit the cemetery, then back to
the house. We will provide information about the history
and culture of [Spiritual Christians from Russia]
, then they can return to their
I hope we can carry out this project. I also would
very much like to visit Canada and the US to see Spiritual
Christians villages there, to collect memiors, photographs
and produce more documentray films and books.
Vedat reports an impressive list of accomplishments
regarding Spiritual Christians from Russia in Kars:
|Vedat and mother visit
relatives in Levo-
kumskoe, Stavropol' province, Russia, 2008
|Photo exhibit poster
|Documentary film won
|Deli Deli Olma
Next Vedat wants to visit Spiritual Christians from Russia
in the west He wrote:
- He founded the Old Malakans World Friendship
Association [The name changed from the
first announcement. The original term "Malakan" meant
"all Spiritual Christians from Russia."]
- He and his mother visited Spiritual Christian
relatives (Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki)
who resettled from Kars to Stavropol'skii krai, USSR, in
- He recorded memories and interviews in photos and
video of Spiritual Christians from Russia in Armenia,
Georgia and Russia.
- In 2007 he visited the village Markovit
labeled this a Molokan village, then a Doukhobor
village, but Doukhobors were not in Erevan Governate.
Vedat may have been looking for Fioletovo and got
misdirected to Margahovit
1 kilometer west, which neighboring Spiritual
Christians call Hamgachiman.]
- In 2008 he visited the Doukhobor village Karelofka [Gorelovka]
in the Republic of Georgia.
- He presented his Photo exhibit of [Spiritual
Christians from Russia]
Molokans and Doukhobors
- The same Photo exhibit of [Spiritual Christians from
Molokans and Doukhobors was
presented in Ankara [capital of Turkey] at the Joint
United Nations Program and MDG-F 1792, supported by the
Anotolia Alliances for Culture in Eastern Touriz. At the
time he was not aware that his term "Molokan" included
all Spiritual Christians from Russia.
- He has done many documentary
television programs about the culture of Spiritual
Christians from Russia.
- He was a technical consultant for the
movie Deli Deli Olma
about the last Molokan in Kars, and he played
in the film. His role was a teacher at the music
- He has a book in production about Spiritual Christians
from Russia who lived in Kars, Turkey.
- In 2013 he got a government grant: Kars
Doukhobor History Project Granted
I would be very glad to show
my photos, videos and books about Molokans and Doukhobors
in the U.S. and Canada. My next book will be about
Doukhobors in Canada. If I can go to Canada I will
be able to see the daily life of Doukhobors, their social
environment, and listen to them tell memories of their
fathers and grandmothers I am interested in their
memories from 1921 to 2008.
If I could show my exhibit in Canada and the U.S., then I
could collect information, recordings, photographs and
videos for another exhibit to show in Turkey, Canada and
We must cease this opportunity to work together intensely
and quickly before the memory and knowledge of the culture
of [Spiritual Christians from Russia]
and Molokan in the Kars region is lost. We
should enhance our dialogue.
Others have produced books about Spiritual Christians from
Russia in Kars. The first was Dr. Turkdoghan who documented
the remaining Spiritual Christians just before most moved to
Russia in 1962. His thesis was published in 1970, and in the
1980s translated into English, edited and enhanced by the
Highgate Road Social Science Research Station, but has not
yet been published due to lack of support. His book was
reissued in color in 2005. A few graduate students have
recently done papers on Spiritual Christians in Turkey.
Historian and attorney Erkan Karagöz has been very active in
Molokane in print and on the Internet. He
produced three books in three years (above) which either
feature or mention Molokane, and in 2009 translated
book, published in Russian in Armenia, to Turkish.
Many Spiritual Christians have been actively documenting and
researching their own history in Turukey:
This is a lot of activity regarding Spiritual Christians
from Russia in Turkey.
- Stepan Agapov
(Suat Boyar, Turkish name) in Kars, submitted many
photos and corresponds in Turkish among those in the
Keosababian-Bivin, in Israel, is gathering the
Armenian Jumper history.
- Dmitri Bruhin born and raised in Kars. His family
(mother, 2 sisters) moved to Fresno in the 1970s
sponsored by presbyter John Kochergen. His 2000 trip
back to Kars is documented in photos on Panoramia,
Flickr and here.
Denisenko, in west Turkey, published an article in
Social History Review,
July 2009; and a book about Russians in Turkey:
Denisenko in Istanbul, Ludmila's brother, posts
his photos on Facebook and really wants to publish a
directory to connect the 1000 descendants scattered
around Turkey. .
Inam in Istanbul, created a Facebook page which
serves as a communication center with about 50 messages
and 100 photos. Now offline.
- Facebook : Malakanlar,
2013 with current photos.
- Facebook : Malakanlar
- The Molokans, 2011 with photos from other
2009 with similar photos.
- Jonathan Kalmakoff
hosts the "Doukhobor Genealogy Website" with many
articles, reference lists, and maps of Kars province
Doukhobors, Jumpers and Molokans.
J.Tarasoff hosts the "The Spirit-Wrestlers"
website listing his publications which have Doukhobor
history in Kars, updated with online material.
- Florence Lymburner, reported her trip to Kars and
meeting with Vedat in 2009. Her first report, without
photos, appeared in Iskra
(March 1, 2010, pages 14-15). A different version will
be posted on the Doukhobor
- Verna Postnikoff reported her July 2013 trip: A
Visit to the Doukhobor Villages Near Kars, Turkey,
July 2013, Iskra #2070, Sept. 2014, pages