Taxonomy of 3 Spiritual Christian groups:
Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki
books, fellowship, holidays, prophets and songs.

Классификация трёх духовных христианских групп: молокане, прыгуны и дух-и-жизники
книги, общение, праздники, пророки, и песни.

by Andrei Conovaloff — Draft In-Progress: (Started: 2012; last updated: 22 August 2018) 
Comments, corrections welcome — Administrator @ Molokane. org
— Link:

I have been researching the history of Spiritual Christians (folk protestants*), a religio-social movement in Imperial Russia, my heritage, since entering college in 1966. Since then, I found many inconsistencies, errors, myths and misunderstandings published, and in oral histories. I traveled to the Former Soviet Union 5 times (1992, 1997, 2007, 2011, 2015) for more than a year total time, to visit and document Spiritual Christian communities. In 1996, I began posting on the Internet. While visiting nearly 100 Spiritual Christian congregations around the world, differences between the often confused faiths became clear. My summary findings here and at are updated as time permits.
* The term "folk protestants"refers to the non-Orthodox protestant-like faiths indigenous to the Russian Empire; and, is similar to the terms "folk music" and "folklore" — traditions and culture created by many people over time, transmitted orally, from unknown authors.

The Russian term molokan(1) unfortunately has too often been
confusingly, falsely and vaguely misused when referring to diverse non-homogeneous religious Christian groups or sects, any dissident in Russia, any old faith, or any migrant from Russia to the Caucasus —
  • "Molokan" is the original correct term for the authentic Spiritual Christian Molokan faith since 1765,

  • "Molokan" is often confused with the similar sounding malakan, a label developed in the Caucasus which evolved into an umbrella term referring to any old-faith or dissident peoples from Russia in Transcaucasia, even after they leave the Caucasus.
The term Molokan should be used only for the registered Spiritual Christian Molokan faith.(2)

For clarity and historic accuracy, the umbrella terms for folk Protestants in Russia
dukhovnye khristiane, Spiritual Christians* — or sectarians** (in or from Russia) should be used when generally referring to an unknown or mixed religious group(s) of non-Orthodox, non-Jewish, non-Muslim and similar folk Protestant faiths and/or groups in, or from, Old Russia, and/ or their descendants. Their ancestry can be a mixture of Caucasian and Asiatic people; including Armenian, Chuvash, Finn, German, Russian, Tatar, Ukrainian, Mordvin, etc.
  * The term "Spiritual Christianity" (Russian: dukhovnoe khristianstvo) specifically refers to "folk Protestantism in Russia," a subset of  the 100+ types (named) of sectarians (Russian: sektanty). "Spiritual Christianity" was used by Molokane and other heretics to describe themselves, and was popularized in scientific literature by Moscow Professor Alexander Ilyich Klibanov (1910-1994), a historian, religious scholar, and pioneering researcher of religious and social movements in Russia.

** "Sect" and "sectarian" as derived from the Latin secta, "a way, road" ...  a discipline or school of thought as defined by a set of methods and doctrines. Context definitions vary over time, place, and user (when, where, what/who).

The purpose of this simple
Taxonomy (classification system) is to
  • explain (how, why, when, where, who) the many myths and misnomers of "Molokan" were created, transformed and misused; and

  • present an empirical classification system for these 3 Spiritual Christian groups —

    1. Molokane (dairy-eaters) — founded ~1765 in Central Russia (Tambov oblast)*. Before the Molokan label, their founding leader, M. Uklein, separated from a tribe labeled with the heresy Ikonobortsy with his family and 70 of the best singers to evangelize along the Volga, central Russia.

    2. Pryguny (jumpers) — loosely consolidated ~1833 in northeast Taurida governate, Novorossiya (New Russia, now South Ukraine, Zaporizhia oblast) from Pietist and charismatic movements transferred from Europe and Central Russia, and indigenous shamanism. The Prygun label first appeared in print about 1856 after most were resettled in Transcaucasia.

    3. Dukh-i-zhizniki (Spirit-and-lifers) — founded ~1928 in U.S.A. The documented faith was initiated 2 miles west of Glendale AZ from 1911 to 1915, in a village of recent immigrants from Russia at 75th Ave and Griffith Lane, then amalgamated with other faiths in Boyle Heights district, Los Angeles CA in the 1920s as various Spiritual Christian faiths from Russia in Los Angeles clashed while trying to compile and edit a common religious text, with guidance from a sociologist at the University of Southern California. Dukh-i-zhiznik is a neologism formed in 2007 to accurately label these old new religious movements (NRM) which must use their religious text Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life) in addition to the Russian Synodal Bible.

Please properly use these 3 transliterated Russian terms in honest respect, to set the record straight. Avoid confusing English labels, except to define the original labels in the Russian language. Avoid misinformation and disinformation published after 1900.

Though of these 3 groups use the Russian Synodal Bible ritually open on the table, only Dukh-i-zhizniki require it, without a cross embossed on the cover. Molokane and Pryguny freely use any Bible. Molokane have the least ritual, while Dukh-i-zhizniki impose the most ritual and rules. 

Other Spiritual Christian (non-Orthodox, folk Protestant, sectarian) groups with origins in Old Russia that resettled in North America (Adventisty, Baptisti, Dukhobortsy,** Evangeliki, Pyatidesyatniki, Shalaputi, Subbotniki, Svobodniki, Shtundisty, etc.) are not the focus of this taxonomy, though they were all often called malakan, or Molokan in error. Old Orthodox faiths (Old Ritualists, staroobryadtsy, Old Believers, staroverie) are raskolniki, not Spiritual Christians, and are often also confused as malakan.
* Etymology of Tambov is from tomba, a Mordovian Moksha term for "deep pool of water," referring to the vast wetlands to the east. A myth among American Dukh-i-zhizniki is the origin is tam Bog (там Бог : God is there), falsely implying their origins are from a place with a holy name.
** Dukhobor is a romanized spelling of the Russian духобор, most common Canadian spelling: "Doukhobor." The most accurate plural is is Dukhobortsy.

  1. Introduction
  2. Spiritual Christian Groups
  3. “Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians” in 1902, 1904, 1907
  4. Is Molokan one faith, many faiths, an ethnic group, or a non-Russian nationality?
  5. Three Faiths Today
  6. New Label : Dukh-i-zhizniki
  7. Analogies
  8. Diaspora "Molokan" label created by 2 people
  9. Name confusion
  10. Web sites by and about Spiritual Christians
  11. Classification
  12. Other classification systems

   Spelling and Pronunciation Guide, and Relative Distribution
Russian / English (Italic)

enPR mä-lō-kän'
IPA mɑ.loʊ.kɑn'

  * This is label best matches people who use the short name for their religious text. In the past I simplified the spelling to духижизник (dukhizhiznik) which in Russian can be interpreted as духи-жизник (dukhi-zhiznik) meaning spirit/perfume life/living, and is very misleading. Therefore 2 hyphens are needed in Russian and English —  дух-и-жизники, Dukh-i-zhizniki. In Russian the terms do not need to be capitalized, but I do it in English to indicate they are a name, label.
** For Spiritual Christians who retained their ancestral Ukrainian and/or Southern Russian dialects, Prygun/ Pryguny must be pronounced as Prihun/ Prihuny (Pree-hoon/ Pree-hoo-NEE).(6)

^ Contents ^

Summary Charts in 4 Languages — English, Русский, Español, Türkçe

These 3 Spiritual Christian groups are easily identified by their characteristic liturgies used during prayer-worship services.

Dukh i zhizn' Christ's God's Yes




Dukh-i-zhiznik1 X

1. Founded in America. All Maksimisty are Dukh-i-zhizniki, but not all Dukh-i-zhizniki are Maksimisty.
Most adapted from Russian folk songs and borrowed from German Protestants.
3. Not during service, but often during meals at weddings, funerals, child dedication, holidays
4. Open canon, a sacred text that can be modified by continuous revelation through their prophets.
Each congregation has 1 or more prophets. There have been at least 200 prophets since 1928 in all congregations around the world. Prophecies of only 4 prophets were published in their Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' (1928 religious text in Los Angeles). Over 100 prophesies are written in secret notebooks shown only to trusted believers.
6. Reorganized in Taurida Governorate, named in 1856 in the Caucasus.

Эти три
группы духовных христиан можно легко определить по их различним характеристикам.

Дух и жизнь Христа Бога Есть






1. Основанная в Америке. Все максимисты – дух-и-жизники, но не все дух-и-жизники максимисты.
2. Большинство взято из русских народных песен и заимствовано от немецких протестантов.
Поют во время обеда на свадьбах, похоронах, кстинах и праздниках..
Священный текст который может быть непрерывно изменен через откровения пророков.
5. Каждое собрание имеет по меньшей мере одного пророка. С 1928 года во всех общинах по всему миру было по меньшей мере 200 пророков. Пророчества только 4 пророков были опубликованы в их Книге солнца, дух и жизнь (священная книга от
1928 г.). Более чем 100 пророчеств были записаны в секретных тетрадях и только иногда эти пророчества показаны самым надежным верующим.

Estos 3 grupos cristianos espirituales son fácilmente identificados por sus liturgias característicos usados durante los servicios de oración de adoración.

La Biblia
Dukh i zhizn' de Cristo de Dios
Molokan X


Prigun X


Dukh-i-zhiznik1 X

1. Fundada en los Estados Unidos. Todos los Maksimisty son Dukh-i-zhizniki, pero no todos los Dukh-i-zhizniki son Maksimisty.
La mayoría fueron tomadas de canciones populares rusas y tomadas de los protestantes alemanes.
No durante el servicio, pero a menudo durante las comidas en las bodas, funerales, dedicación niño, días de fiesta.
Abra canon, un texto sagrado que puede ser modificado por la revelación continua, algo similar a cánones de los Santos de los Últimos Días.
5. Cada congregación tiene uno o más profetas. Ha habido por lo menos 200 profetas desde 1928 en todas las congregaciones de todo el mundo. Profecías de sólo 4 profetas fueron publicados en su Knig
a solnste, dukh i zhizn' (Libro del Sol, Espíritu y Vida, 1928 libro sagrado). Más de 100 profecías están escritas en cuadernos secretos, que se muestran sólo a los miembros que creen en el espíritu.

Bu 3 Manevi Hıristiyan gruplar kolayca dua-ibadet sırasında kullanılan karakteristik ayinlerinde tarafından tespit edilir.

Kutsal Kitap
Dukh i zhizn' Mesih'in Tanrı'nın Evet





Dukh-i-zhiznik1 X

1. Amerika Birleşik Devletleri'nde kurulmuştur. Her Maksimist bir Dukh-i-zhizniki olan; bazı Dukh-i-zhizniki Maksimisty olan.
En çok Rus halk şarkıları uyarlanan ve Alman Protestanlar ödünç.
Değil hizmeti sırasında, ama çoğu zaman düğün, cenaze, çocuk özveri ve dini yemekler sırasında..
4. Onların peygamberler aracılığıyla sürekli vahiy tarafından değiştirilebilir bir kutsal metin.
5. Her topluluk, bir ya da daha fazla peygamber vardır. Ddünyadaki tüm cemaatlerin içinde 1928'den beri en az 200 peygamberler olmuştur. Sadece 4 peygamberler kitapta yayınlandı, Kniga solnste  dukh i zhizn' (Güneşin Kitabı, Ruh ve Hayat, 1928 kutsal kitabı). 100'den fazla kehanetleri gizli dizüstü yazılır, sadece kendi kutsal ruhuna inanan üyelere gösterilen.

1. Introduction

This Taxonomy answers 3 questions :
  1. Why do thousands of people around the world, who are not Molokan by faith, many despising Molokane, confusingly and falsely claim to be Molokane?

  2. If not Molokane, what and who are they?

  3. Where are they now?
Neither question has been asked, nor answered, before this simple Taxonomy.

Short answer to question 1:  Why do so many falsely call themselves "Molokan"?
  • To hide a complicated, confusing and illegal history in Old Russia, which misled descendants' understanding of their origins.
  • They think it is the same as malakan.
  • It is an easy and safe, though incorrect term, to use in English, which many can easily pronounce, to avoid explaining their actual faiths.

Captain P. A. Demens
and Dr. P. V. Young, independently at different times intervened to help diverse groups of immigrants from Russia resettle in the United States and Mexico. They intentionally confusingly mislabeled all Spiritual Christians from Russia in Southern California as "Molokans" for their own different altruistic reasons.
  • From 1898 to 1910, Captain P. A. Demens advocated immigration, integration(19), employment and colonization. He knew and admitted that only a few were Molokane, but only used that one umbrella term when they arrived and in all his correspondence, until he died in 1919.

  • From 1925 to 1950, Professor P. V. Young did research, and advocated assimilation(19) and education to reduce juvenile delinquency, discrimination and avoid deportation. She knew her research subjects were mostly Pryguny (the Russian title of her book) with other faiths, but nearly exclusively used the false Molokan term in all her publications and discourse. Because she could not find any history of Pryguny, she substituted Molokan history and falsely claimed they were the same tribal faiths. She also apparently misguided Ivan G. Samarin to also falsely write in his Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' that the many non-Molokan spiritual Christian faiths in Los Angeles in the 1920s were "Molokane," while scrambling limited histories of the various faiths using secondary sources as if they were all facts about his people.
Short answer to question
  What and who are they?

Most are Dukh-i-zhizniki, some are Pryguny, and some are mixtures of other Spiritual Christian faiths, which were/are simply all called malakan in South Russia.

Short answer to question
  Where are they now?  The active congregations.
  • Molokane are mostly in Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldavia, and the United States (1 congregation in San Francisco).
  • Pryguny are most all in Russia (most in Stavropol province), 1 congregation in Adelaide, South Australia, and 1 "reformed" congregation in Woodburn, Oregon, USA.
  • Dukh-i-zhizniki are mostly in South Russia, central Armenia, and the Pacific Coast of the United States (only in southern and central California, and central Oregon).
  • There is no faith correctly called "Molokan-Jumper," nor an animal called a "dog-cat," or fruit called "banana-grape."
Why should I care about this simple Taxonomy?

To get woke. No FOMO. To get a little education, just a little, so your vocabulary will be clearer to you, and others will know what you are talking about. And, to understand how and why some of your fake history was created in Los Angeles to protect your ancestors.

If you are an educated person, you can skip this section. If you barely finished high school and believe education "robs the spirit" then you are probably not reading this. But, if you have read this far, I commend you for seeking knowledge. I don't expect you to accept my explanations here, but ask you to please continue with an open mind. Warning: this will be a lot of reading and thinking.

Selling Dukh-i-zhizniki or Pryguny as Molokane is false advertising. Doukhobors in Canada have a similar problem.(28)

Can you imagine working with someone who has very little vocabulary and refuses to learn any new words? For many people, education is such an uncomfortable burden that they avoid learning.

Can you imagine someone who calls everyone "dude," never learning peoples' real names? Wouldn't life be so much simpler if we just all call everyone "dude"? That's so much easier than remembering Vassili Ivanovich, Mikhail Kondratich, Parasha Petrovna, ... It's even easier than "dude dudovich".

Imagine a dude who doesn't know many words and always calls a #2 Phillips screwdriver "hammer," a shop broom "hammer," or a 15" pipe-wrench "hammer"? How can you work with him? Every tool with a handle he calls "hammer." Would you get the tools yourself, or teach him a few new words?

Imagine that your spiritual friends hear that "yellow-tail tuna are running at Long Beach." They chartered a boat and invited you. You take your gear, pay, ride out into the ocean. The boat captain stops at a school of barracuda claiming they are tuna. "They are all the same," he says. "They swim, have a head and tail." Would you complain? Call him stupid? Demand your money back? What?

Is borshch really cabbage soup, beet soup, tomato soup, potato soup, carrot soup, or something else? Broth, salt, pepper? Why call it borshch? If you did not know what borshch is, how can you ask for it?
  • If you ask for broth soup, what will people think you want?
  • If you ask for potato soup, what will people think you want?
  • If you say you want tomato soup, what do you think you will get?
  • What if you ask for beet soup?
If you know that borshch is a combination of all these, because you learned that word long ago, you would never think of calling borshch anything else. The same for dukhovnye khristiane, "Spiritual Christians." For example, consider this list (not in any order):

Spiritual Christians
  • cabbage
  • beets
  • tomatoes
  • broth
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • salt and pepper
  • etc.
  • ikonoborsty
  • subbotniki
  • khristoverie
  • molokane
  • dukhobortsy
  • pryguny
  • dukh-i-zhizniki
  • i.t.d.

The table shows an analogy between borshch and Spiritual Christians. Both terms comprise many items (ingredients), and neither is homogeneous. In borshch one can easily recognize most of the separate vegetables, and taste the salt and pepper. With practice one can easily discern the various branches of the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians, even if they live in the same or adjacent villages. Each tribe performs different though often similar rituals during their meetings. Unfortunately an outsider cannot easily determine who is of what faith by appearance from a distance. Except for authentic Molokane, most Spiritual Christians do not know, or care to name their faith. They cannot tell you which is their faith category. All the tribes may dress about the same, speak the same dialect, eat the same foods, etc. There is no way to categorize them until they conduct a religious service, or are quizzed about it, then they can be classified using this taxonomy.
  • Why would people who are not Molokane, and know they are not Molokane, continue to say they are?
  • Why do writers who do not know the differences among these faith tribes, and never meeting them, or meeting a few, continue to say they are all the same?
Many people habitually continue a mistake to be consistent with previous mistakes, intentionally to not confuse the listener-reader. "Don't rock the boat." What if Aristotle "for clarity" would continue to say the earth is flat, because that's what most people believed in his time, and he did not want to upset or confuse them. But, Aristotle knew they were wrong and told them the truth. And about 100 years later (240 B.C.), Eratosthenes estimated the circumference of the earth with perhaps less than 10% error. But, many refused to believe the facts. Even today, there are still a few flat earth societies.

Another common example is people who continue to say that Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples, Native North Americans and First Nations, and over 200 named tribes/bands in North America are from India — Indians or West Indians. Many journalists now avoid this mistake when possible.

Not knowing the right words is silly, like calling all animals with 4 feet and a tail "cats" because you don't know the other names (dog, horse, mouse, sheep, wolf, etc.); or, a dude not knowing the names of their tools, calling everything "hammer" that has a stick handle.

Not knowing alternatives is dangerous in professions where we expect expertise. Would you trust a pharmacist who only gave out aspirin no matter what your prescription said? Would you accept a pharmacist who explains that all pills look alike, so what's the difference? If not, then why trust the religious elders, journalists and professors who only know one term and definition for .... the reason I present this Taxonomy — to make sense out of non-sense.

A simple historical classification system (below) accurately defines confused sub-groups of non-dukhobor Spiritual Christians, who, a century ago were told by Demens and Young and I. G. Samarin in Los Angeles that they should all falsely claim to be "Molokans" in America no matter what or who they were in Russia, or became in America. Though many resisted name hijacking, the false identity transformation was gradually adopted until it passed a tipping-point by W.W.II, probably because:
  1. assimilated members were embarrassed and afraid to describe themselves as Pryguny, "Holy Jumpers", or with other terms;
  2. they did not know their history and believed whatever they were told;
  3. followers of prophets and their Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life) believed were ordered to keep their real faiths secret and only report to outsiders that they are peace-loving "dairy-eaters" (no matter what they do in private);
  4. confused and/or lazy American outsiders (ne nashi, journalists, professors) preferred one simple label, which they did not question; and
  5. real Molokane 400 miles away in San Francisco did not object enough.
Some may think I am wrong for challenging my own tribe with facts they never heard, therefore I am a bad person, or an agitator. I see myself as a researcher seeking truth, and a teacher of facts. I hope to help heal fear, lies, and shame. It's the right thing to do — factual reporting and media transparency. The false label(s) confuses histories of diverse faiths which are not Molokan.


Who are Spiritual Christian Dairy-eaters?

Dukhovnye khristiane-molokane (Духовные христиане-молокане : Spiritual Christian Dairy-eaters) is a registered religion with an international organization and headquarters in south Russia, North Caucasus. Members of this organization are officially internationally recognized as "Molokans." Descendants of real Molokane, especially those who have not joined another faith and remain close to practicing relatives, also use the term.

Contact — контакт
Websites — сайте
Союз общин Духовных Христиан молокан             
ул. Школьная, д. 75
с. Кочубеевское,
Кочубеевский р-н
Ставропольский кр.

Phone/ тел: 8-86550-22640
сдхм.рф (youth news, events, history) (archive, journals, songs) (news, history, blog)
молокане.рф (genealogy, congregations)

Newsletter: Весть (Vest' : News)

Video Channel: sodhmvr

Head-Presviter: Vasili T. Schetinkin
Union of Spiritual Christian Molokan Congregations
67 Shkol'naya street
Kochubeevskoe town
Kochubeevskii district
Stavropol'skii territory
Russian Federation
Click for MORE

Molokane (named about 1765 in Central Russia) are the oldest, largest and the most documented and organized today of these 3 confused Spiritual Christian groups. Before the term Molokane, many were often called ikonobortsyMolokane today have a central hierarchy (a bureaucracy, religious and temporal), published contacts and content on the Internet, meetings, conventions, buildings, interfaith representation, and a long a history of publications in Russia. They are Bible-centered folk Protestant Christians in Russia, not Orthodox.

A more accurate label from the perspective of the Old Orthodox Church for this faith is Ne-postniki (Non-Fasters), because they were folk-protestants in Russia who did not comply with the approximately 200 fasting days required by the Russian Orthodox Church. Their label originated from their heresy of not fasting (ne-postniki, нe-постники) especially during Lent (Great Fast), and were seen consuming their normal diet which included dairy (molochnye) products, like milk (moloko, молоко), cheese and yogurt/ kefir. Like most Spiritual Christian faiths, they retained about 10% of the Orthodox rituals (prayers, psalms, rug, holy water, etc.). The only people in the Russian Empire exempt from obeying the Russian Orthodox Church fasting laws were Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, indigenous tribes and foreigners.

Much misunderstanding results from erroneous history about migration to North America about 1900. Too often Molokane are confused with Dukhobortsy and many other sects (or "malakan") that pretended to be Molokane when they fled from Russia, and/or arrived in California. Only about 500 Molokane (100 families) migrated to California where most settled in San Francisco and Northern California. After February 1906, there was never an organized Molokan congregation in South California, Mexico or Canada, only in San Francisco and later in Sheridan (north of Sacramento). Numerous old reports of organized diaspora Molokane outside of Northern California are false.

In the 1930s to 1940s, a congregation of diaspora Molokane existed in the Russian section of Harbin, Manchuria. At least one family moved to San Francisco, several to Japan, and an organized congregation moved to Sidney, Australia, (presbyter: Nozhen) where they began to assimilate in the 1960s. They did not mix with incoming Dukh-i-zhizniki arriving in 1964 from California and Arizona. Paulina Baghdanov-Slivkoff mentions meeting one of the Molokane in Australia in her 2004 masters thesis.

Who are Dukh-i-zhizniki and Pryguny?

They are not Molokane, and most never were. Their histories, beliefs and rituals are different. Molokane have a singular origin in founder Semeon Uklein (monogamesis), while Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki have multiple origins (polygenesis). They are not new custodians of a New Molokan faith or identity, which is a false story, disinformation. They are conglomerated faiths created much later.

Dukh-i-zhizniki were officially founded about 1928 in the U.S.A. (not in Russia), as new religious movements which use the Russian language Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' (in short: Dukh i zhizn') as a religious text, in addition to the Old Russian Bible with Apocrypha. This book defines and separates them from all other faiths. Congregations that use the Dukh i zhizn' (short title) are mostly loosely networked and transformed Spiritual Christian faiths not in koinonia (unity, fellowship, brotherhood, partnership, full communion : единство, братство, товарищество, полное общение) with any other faiths, nor Molokane nor Pryguny, and many not with each other. They have no uniform liturgy, no central office, no hierarchy, no public phone number, no annual meetings nor general meetings, no official representatives or central organization,(7) no official website or centralized world-wide network, and no representative journal nor newsletter.(40) Though each Dukh-i-zhiznik congregation has one or more prophets, only the writings of 4 prophets (+1 added in an optional supplement) from Russia are published in their religious text: Kniga solnste, dukh i zhin' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life, 1928). Oral and notebook prophecies of perhaps 100 other prophets exist, and about 200 prophets have been active in the past century, since 1900. Since no inter-congregational congresses are held, leadership is often entrenched and authoritarian by geographic location and congregation. Separate congregations often have autonomous meeting halls near each other. Intermarriage, if allowed, among Dukh-i-zhizniki is scrutinized; brides typically must join the groom's congregation. To contact them, one must approach each congregation, organization and group separately and preferably verbally in person, because they typically will not respond in writing, even if they they personally know you, or are required by law. Few have easy-to-find agents or addresses. About the best contact an outsider can get is with one, or a few individuals, who may only speak unofficially and/ or in secret. Outsiders, even members of other Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations and organizations, may be immediately turned away, treated like an intruder at a private or secret meeting for members only. Dukh-i-zhizniki in the U.S.A. and Australia formally prohibit (scorn) inter-faith and public exchanges by members, while those in the Northern Caucasus typically welcome a guest and participate in events organized by regional government.(8) Some of the most zealous practicing Dukh-i-zhizniki today have preserved their oral history of oppression from the 1800s by the Russian Orthodox Church, and hatred of it. Many express group behavior similar to a selfish herd and an "introversionist sect."(9)  to maintain a spiritual presence "in the world, but not of the world," somewhat like "old order" Anabaptist faiths and .

Pryguny probably began in Central Russia (Skakuny in North Russia) due to the influence of visiting enthusiastic Protestants from Europe. By 1833, during a drought some were exiled, and/or voluntary migrated, to Taurida Governorate (south Ukraine) among other Spiritual Christian faiths. There some people from different faiths aggregated into new faiths during a period of "an outpouring of the Holy Spirit" reported in oral histories. About 1840 many were offered land in the newly acquired Transcaucasia, where the term Pryguny was first used in print about 1856 in the Caucasus. They are historically a somewhat intermediary weak evolutionary link between many sectarian groups and Dukh-i-zhizniki. The Prygun faiths were further influenced by preceptors of millennialism and pietism from a variety of foreign (mostly German) faiths in south Russia. The origin of this multi-hybrid amalgamated faith cluster is much less documented than other Spiritual Christians because groups and adherents were were isolated, migratory, fragmented, illegal and hid. Reports variously described congregants in Russian as beguny, pryguny, shalaputy, sionisty, skakuny, stranniki, stundisty, vedentsy, among other terms; and in English as jumpers, holy jumpers, leapers, noisy-nose-breathers, knowers, hoppers, bouncers and dancers. These terms attempt to describe their ecstatic religious enthusiasm. Many voluntarily migrated to the Southern Caucasus after 1840 with other Spiritual Christian faiths as colonizers, and/ or to live near Mt. Ararat, and/ or to get to Mt. Zion, Palestine (Israel). Those in the Caucasus grew in numbers and continued to fractionate while incorporating new beliefs, songs and rituals from other faiths, mostly from neighboring Anabaptists and descendants of Pietists who migrated from Europe to South Ukraine and the Caucasus, and from local Protestants and perhaps Krymchaks. From Liudi Bozhe (God's people), and German heupferde (hoppers) and tanzende brüder (brother dancers), some retained, or learned, variations of heavy rapid breathing while jumping and jerking in the spirit, and roaring and ranting, sometimes "half-naked" (without shirts?). Each congregation has one or more prophets. From German Protestants (Duchy of Württemburg) and missionaries, and Novie Israeli (New Israelites), they adapted and borrowed songs and millennialism. From Subbotniki (Saturday people) and Readers (Karaites) they added holidays and Old Testament customs. Later the Maksimist division discarded nearly all of the holidays retained from Orthodoxy (Christ's holidays) which transformed them into new faiths. In general today, they are somewhat similar to Pentecostals. Those who migrated to North America after 1900 were converted to Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths after 1928, or forced to abandoned their heritage faiths. Since 1900 the impact and roles of prophets and prophesy is less significant compared to evolving Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths.

Today, Prygun congregations only exist in the Northern Caucasus of the Russian Federation. Diaspora congregations persisted in the U.S.A. in Arizona and San Francisco, California, up to 1950; immigrants from Iran (Persia) in Los Angeles up to 1958; and in Mexico up to the early 1960s. The last active congregation in Los Angles migrated to Adelaide, South Australia, in the 1960s, where it persists today with no contact with any congregation currently in the Russian Federation. In the 1970-1980s in Woodburn, Oregon, a congregation of 5 Dukh-i-zhiznik families "reformed" to a Prygun faith and published a newsletter (Besednyik, discontinued). Congregations in the Republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan resettled to the Russian Federation due to the the Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988-1994) and ethnic cleansing.

Using the 1997 Johnstone definitions for sect and cult, Molokane and Pryguny are sects, and Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations are many cults. All 3 groups are heterodox, not-orthodox, and many Dukh-i-zhizniki venerate and/ or revere select prophets and historic relics. Analysis with other classifications systems of religious movements is in-progress.

None of these 3 religious groups have missionaries, or paid religious positions or staff, probably because they did not have these illegal positions in Old Russia and continued with traditions. All religious work is voluntarily. In the Former Soviet Union, congregations with a separate prayer house often have a resident security/property guard, often a pensioner who gets rent in exchange for guarding the prayer hall. In the U.S.A., coreligionists are hired for meeting hall janitorial services. In the U.S.A., only the Dukh-i-zhiznik elementary school, Hacienda Heights CA, has paid staff; and their cemeteries mostly hire non-white laborers because many believers obey a commandment in their Dukh i zhizn' to hire "Arabs" (people of color) to become wealthy, and to touch a dead body is considered "unclean." Therefore, zealous adherents refuse to volunteer to perform community service manual labor. Zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki forbid their members from aiding members of other faiths, whom they believe to be "non-believers", or  heretics of their particular Dukh-i-zhiznik faith.

Dukh-i-zhizniki were founded about 1928 in the U.S. by a variety of zealous Spiritual Christians who immigrated from Russia to Arizona and California, including all Maksimisty, Novie Israeli, Sionisty, Klubnikinisty, Pivovarovsty and some Pryguny and Molokane. Their new ritual sacred texts (which, with the aid of Dr. P. V. Young, transformed through about 7 draft versions, 1915-1928) and faiths were exported (the 1928 version) back to Eastern Europe beginning in the 1930s and converted all the Maksimisty and the most zealous Pryguny and a few similar faiths. Though these various zealot faiths adopted the new 1928 ritual book sent from Los Angeles (customized in 1934), they mostly remained separate faiths to this day because each faith has its own geographic territory, lead elders, prophets, singers, band societies and clans.

By 1960, all Prygun congregations in the U.S., except one in San Francisco which merged with local Molokane, were extinguished or converted to a Dukh-i-zhiznik faith, while the majority who did not conform to their rules and rituals were rejected, and/or harassed to extinction. Though a congregation may be coerced into placing these sacred texts on their alter table, not all congregants personally accepted the books as divine, yet many maintained paid Dukh-i-zhiznik membership for family tradition, cultural and social reasons.

In the 1970s, 5 heritage Dukh-i-zhiznik families in Oregon, who had no personal knowledge of Pryguny in the Soviet Union, united to "re-form" their own version of a Prygun faith by (1) rejecting the divinity of the book Kniga solnste dukh i zhizn'; (2) performing their service in English (Russian optional), using selected translated songs and prayers formerly learned while Dukh-i-zhizniki; and (3) somewhat recognizing the former abandoned Americanized Christ's holidays. Their self-reversion to Pryguny was severely scorned by zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki as heresy and apostasy which was inflamed when they mailed a free newsletter, Besednyik (sic), for more than a decade (1980-1990s) to over 4,500 households listed in the mislabeled 1980 Молокан Directory (better title: 1980 Spiritual Christian Directory), of mostly American Dukh-i-zhizniki. Intense verbal attacks and lack of leadership  deterred much wanted similar congregations from forming in Southern California.

Who are malakan?

In 1864, the term was used 4 times

In Old Russia, and continuing in the Former Soviet Union and now the Russian Federation, the term malakan had/ has 2 general meanings, depending on context.
  1. White settlers from Russia in the Caucasus, especially any Spiritual Christian faith group from Russia who cluster in villages.
  2. Any pacifist, dissident, military slacker, lazy person, vagrant ...
Today the general term malakan is widely used in Southern Russia and the Caucasus to refer to the non-indigenous, mostly heterodox Christians, who resettled from Russia beginning in the 1800s. These various malakan peoples are known for their outdoor farmers' markets residential districts called malakanka, and some who bred the malakan horse and malakan cow, and made malakan cheese, malakan potatoes and malakan pickled cabbage. Most all labels continue today, except for the nearly extinct cow and renamed streets.

Characters in several Russian novels and short stories were labeled "molokan" or "malakan" to infer pacifism, cowardness, etc. Research in-progress.

Malakan places, animals and foods

Many places and things in the Caucasus are named "malakan" (molokan, malokan, ...) for the malakan people who created them. 
  • places : farmers markets (bazaars), streets, a garden park, ...
  • animal breeds : horse, cow
  • food : cheese, potatoes (malakanskaya), pickled cabbage (solyonaya kapusta, sauerkraut)
Many types of malakane lived across Russia, but this term was mostly used when they entered the Pale of Settlement in Southern Russia, New Russia and the Caucasus. They lived concentrated in villages mostly, but not exclusively, with other tribes of malakane. These non-native villages did not have a special term, like shtetl (штетл) for Jewish villages.
  • All Spiritual Christians are malakane, but not all malakane are Spiritual Christians.
  • All Molokane are malakane, but not all malakane are Molokane.
Malakan markets (рынок : rinok ; базар : bazar) existed north of the Caucasus mountains in Vladikavkaz, and south of the mountains in what is now Tbilisi, Georgia; and Baku, Azerbaijan.
  • In North Ossetia–Alania, the Vladikavkaz malakanka market was active when I visited there in 1992, where it existed for more than a century.
  • In Georgia, east of the main Tbilisi the train depot, the "malakan square" (malakan ploshad) nickname remains in use, but the adjacent Molokan streets (#1, #2) are renamed respectively Pirosmani and Gogol streets to promote a national artist and writer to tourists, instead of Russian peasants. Niko Pirosmani painted several scenes of Molokane, and one in 1905 was labeled "Kytyozh molokan" (Molokan feast/ spree).
  • In Azerbaijan, the large malakan market on the east boundary of the Baku "Old City" was moved to a location north of the main train depot to convert the original 2-acre market area to an ornate city park which, despite 3 official name changes, is still most popularly known as Malakanka today.
  • In Eastern Turkey, Malakan horses, cows and cheese were created in Kars oblast. The horse is a registered protected breed. The dairy cow is rare and interbred now. The cheese is popular in Turkey, but under different trade names.
  • Also, in Central Russia in the old Samara city, there was a Molokan Orchard.

"The last Malakan people [Lapin brothers] in Turkey who are
originally from Russia and their pure Malakan Horse."(36)
One type of Malakan cheese,
made in Kars province, Turkey

After 1926, after Turkey regained Kars territory from Russia, Russia voluntarily repatriated thousands from abroad, including most Molokane from Turkey. But, more than a thousand of the most zealous Spiritual Christians remained in Turkey. Most of the repatriated Molokane moved to east Rostov oblast, Russia. For those who remained, Turkey offered the breeders of the outstanding horses and cows to live at and manage the state agricultural experimental farm just outside the capital of Ankara. The land is now the Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo. They refused, perhaps because the Maksimisty among them must live close to Mt. Ararat, perhaps the most expert breeders were among the majority of Molokane who moved to Russia, and/ or perhaps different sub-tribes would have to work together against their will. Most who remained in Turkey were Pryguny and Maksimisty, the majority of whom (not all) became Dukh-i-zhizniki in the 1930s after shipments of a revised Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' arrived from Los Angles, California, sent by the "Molodoi sobranie" (young people's congregation). Many Pryguny and all Molokane who remained in Turkey rejected the new book as a religious text, and after moving to Russia in the 1960s, they are continually insulted by the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki in Russia today, of whom some also condemn any whose ancestors moved to North America.

horses are descended from draft (work) horses, some brought from Ukraine, and local draft horses. They are one of the 14 major horse breeds indigenous to Turkey and now protected by law.

Malakan cheese is now labeled "Kars peynir" (Kars cheese) to promote the local cheese industry. In July 2015, I walked into one of many cheese and honey specialty shops in Kars, asked for malakan peynir (malakan cheese). The Turkish clerk immediately pointed to the refrigerated dairy case. There it was. Taste is mild, and texture firm when cold, soft at room temperature, somewhat similar to low-moisture mozzarella cheese. Some batches of malakan cheese have holes (photo above) due to dust contamination which does not occur with cheese made from pasteurized milk.

The clerk then brought me a large Turkish book about malakane in Kars. I recognized the book and pointed to my name and photo in the credits.(49) The clerk made a phone call, and the co-author soon walked in, introduced himself, and we took a photo together. xxxx  More about this man and book later.

The original Kars dairy and cheese factory was established next to what became the village of Novo-Vorontsovka (now Small Boğatepe), Kars Oblast, by Spiritual Christians resettled from Voronstovka, Tiflis guberniya (now Tashir, Armenia). In 1905 Voronstovka (Tiflis) hosted the the All-Russian Congress of Spiritual Christian Molokans, celebrating 100 years of religious freedom, which thousands attended and a group photo was made.(48)  At least one former Spiritual Christian house remains inhabited in Boğatepe, and is a monument to the builder.

In the late 1880s-1890s the Kars cheese factory, established by Swedish investors, was conscripted to teach cheese making to locals, including resettled Spiritual Chrstians. Those selected to be trained at the factory were to return to their respective villages and teach the skill to others. Probably because the communal immigrants from Russia, the malakane, could work as a village, they were the most successful at producing the most cheese. Hence, the legacy of malakan peynir.

In the 2010s, the cheese factory was conserved and converted to the Cheese Eco-Museum Factory for tourists and students, with a working dairy and cheese factory to train industry workers. 50 miles northeast of the Factory, across the border in Georgia, Spiritual Christian Dukhoborsty are still milking their own cows for 2 cheese factories (42) they have operated since Soviet times, a skill they also acquired 200+ years ago.  During Soviet times, after Kars was returned to Turkey, Dukhobor-made cheese was shipped to Moscow.(35) Among Spiritual Christians in North America today, more Dukhobortsy eat their own home-made cheese than Dukh-i-zhizniki and Molokane combined.

Only a few rural Spiritual Christian families who migrated to the USA established dairy and cheese operations using skills they may have learned in Kars. From the 1920s to 1960s there were at least 2 commercial dairies and one cheese factory. The largest was the Shakarians Dairy, Downey CA, (3,000 cows in 1943) then the Ivan Treguboff dairy west of Glendale AZ (on 75th Ave, between Camelback Road and Bethany Home Road). There were at least 3 smaller family dairies — Chernabaeffs near Shafter-Wasco CA; and near Tolleson AZ. In Arizona my grandfather Jake Dan Conovaloff had a small heard up to about 1950, but our neighbor Pete Ivan Treguboff, had more than 100 cows which he milked most of his life. In the 1920s a commercial cheese factory was established by Ivan Alek. Tolmachoff, west of Glendale AZ, who supplied Safeway markets; and his kids were nick-named "cheese"— John cheese, Bill cheese, etc. The Chenabaeff family dairy also made cheese, mainly for family and relatives, not sold commercially. After the 1960s there was a large dairy in Tulare County California owned by John Fred Valov (1926-2013); and in Arizona (1990s to 2000s) two dairies were started by Tolmachoffs but failed.(52)

In the Republic of Georgia, a variety of potato grown and sold by Spiritual Christians was called Malakanskaya and Vorontsovka. The village of Voronstovka (now Tashir, north Armenia) was founded in 1844 by settlers from the Molochna River district of Novorossiya who were given about 35 square miles by a Georgian prince. It may have been the largest Spiritual Christian village in the Caucasus and was centrally located between the cities of Erevan and Tiflis. The 100-year anniversary celebration of religious freedom for Molokane was held here in 1905. Some Spiritual Christians moved from Voronstovka to Novo-Voronstovka, which became the cheese center for Kars Oblast (described 2 paragraphs above).

Malakan pickled/ salted cabbage (solyonaya kapusta : солëная капуста) is the specialty product of Fioletovo village, Armenia, collective farm (kolkhoz), hometown of the Dukh-i-zhiznik saint-prophet-presviter M.G. Rudomyotkin. During Soviet times, the village (named Nikitino before 1936) branded their pickled cabbage in large (~500 liter) wood barrels. Vendors sold salted-cabbage fresh scooped from their orange barrels in many bazaars (markets). Barrels were painted orange for brand identity and to deter barrel theft. Truck caravans with barrels stacked 2-high formed a convoy that drove from Armenia, through Georgia, into Stavropol territory and the Northern Caucasus, where the orange barrels were widely distributed to bazaar vendors. The orange barrel brand of Malakan solonye kapusta is still widely known in South Russia. An Armenian diplomat working in the U.S. and visiting Arizona, told me that he savors for Malakan solonye kapusta every time he visits Armenia. He said: "It's so delicious. At the rinok (market), when you go down the line of babushki selling pickled cabbage and sample taste each one, then you get to the Malakan — ahh-hh — nothing compares."

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Georgia restricted commercial trade from Armenia to Russia, which devastated the cabbage business in Fioletovo. Today 2 Dukh-i-zhiznik families, who resettled in Stavropol, Russia, from Armenia, complete within 50 feet of each other in the huge "Ludmilla" bazaar complex in Pyatigorsk, Stavropol territory, each with an orange barrel; while other families from Fioletovo sell in Stavropol and Kislovodsk cities. The largest operation outside of Armenia is by a family from Fioletovo, resettled in Stavropol city, who told me the crispy type of cabbage grown in Armenia cannot be grown north of the mountains. Because their pickled cabbage is tougher and not sweet, they had to diversify to appeal to more customers.

Farmers in Fioletovo will appreciate the economic and brotherhood support if Dukh-i-zhizniki in the USA and Australia would import pickled cabbage (no export duty) to be served as a stable during communal meals and at home. But. Dukh-i-zhizniki outside of the Former Soviet Union believe only they are saved, and their congregations will probably attack or insult any congregation to tries to do business with those left behind, and will not financially support them due to differences among the various Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths.

These malakan places, animals and foods were named after the malakan peoples. All Spiritual Christians are malakane, but not all malakane are Spiritual Christians.

Malakan peoples

Today perhaps 13,000 malakan peoples and their descendants remain in the South Caucasus of the former Soviet Union.

    Estimated populations




Another estimated 100,000 resettled from the South Caucasus to the Northern Caucasus, most to Stavropol and Krasnodar territories, some to Rostov oblast and Central Russia. Many joined or revitalized indigenous congregations that never migrated to the Caucasus.

Who are they?

The ancestors of malakan people came from the Russian Empire after Russia began colonizing the Caucasus, after 1840, to get more economic benefits (more land, no taxes) and religious freedom. They are neither creeds, nor sub-creeds of one faith or religion. They are many faiths of mostly heterodox (non-Orthodox), mostly White people, many intermixed with other peoples (Asiatic, Northern Europe) from many places in the Russian Empire who migrated to the Caucasus. The exception to non-Orthodox are the old rite Orthodox, Old Ritualists, who are also considered heretics to the New Orthodox. Most malakane lived in groups or clans, often in their own villages, or sharing a village with other heterodox people from Russia who met for the first time in the Caucasus, often clashing. Some had Germanic ancestry.

Malakan is an etic term used by indigenous Caucasian peoples referring to the "new invasive settlers from Russia" —  a foreign group, "them" (chuzhikh grupp), "outsiders,"outgroup, ne nashi, aliens. In a similar xenophobic manner, before 1700 in the Russian Empire, all western foreigners in Russia were called Nemtsy (dumb, those who can't speak (like us)), no matter what their actual nationality; and this term meant both Germans and stupid, because few could understand them. It was more insulting than Americans today who say: "It's Greek to me" when they don't understand something. In a similar fashion, a single derogatory term is used in the American Southwest "... to refer to (any) foreign citizens living in the U.S. ..." — "wetback" (morjado).

Do not confuse the general category malakan with the Spiritual Christian Molokan faith. These 2 words sound alike, appear to be cognates, and are too often confused. The origin of Molokan is from the heresy of eating dairy (molochnye) products, probably morphed into a pun about nursing infants (molokane) who cannot understand religion. The origin of malakan is from a geographic river area in South Ukraine, northeast of Crimea.

Malakan originally was a demonym (gentilic) for "people from the Molochnaya (river area)" who were moved to the Caucasus(30) by the thousands. Molochnaya (German: Molotschna) is the river delta and territory in south Ukraine northeast of Crimea. Molochnaya means "milky" in Russian, which referred to the abundant dairy grazing land. In the native language Cuman (Polovtsy), the area was called syutana, meaning "nurse, mother."(31) For most of a century, many descendants of Spiritual Christians, in the southern republics of the Soviet Union, and who migrated to the U.S.A. from the Caucasus, retained an oral history that their label (malakan) came from ancestors who lived in "Milky-waters."(32) I was told by Molokane who remained in Central Russia that they never heard this rumor until they met Molokan refugees from the Caucasus and South Ukraine who were repatriated to Central Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Most settlers in the Caucasus from Russia called malakan were illiterate and did not know much of their history, nor how to define their faiths. They probably accepted the default geographic label, emic, from within their groups, like I did when some people who did not know, or could not remember my name, nicknamed me "Arizona" (from my car's license plate), when I moved from Arizona to Los Angeles in 1966.

For years a few guys in Los Angeles would only call me Arizona to probably impress among their peers that I was an outsider in their Los Angeles territory, and that my name was not important. To them I represented a different tribe. Also, the Los Angeles presbyter George Samarin stated to me several times that, although I attend his congregation along with my grandparents (father's and mother's), he considered me a member of the Arizona congregation; and after my grandparents died, Samarin's assistant presviter Harry Shubin differed with Samarin and repeated invited me into his kitchen work brigade (parti). After Harry Shubin died, I lost my membership status. 30 years later, Samarin's congregation refused to bury my parents who were married by their original congregation, declaring simply they were not "dues-paying" members. See similar shunning behavior reported by Paul J. Orloff in the section below: Variety of Dukh-i-zhizniki.

In the late 1700s after Russia conquered the south Ukraine, called New Russia (Novorossiya), incentives were given to state serfs (controlled by the Tsar) to settle the area. In 1789, Anabaptists (mostly varieties of Mennonites and Lutherans) from Germany were given huge priority settlement sites, military and tax exemptions, their own German-language schools, and allowed to live as they wished. Much is documented about the Molotschna Mennonites and their neighbors from Germany. Similarly, incentives and invitations were then given to the state serfs across Russia (about half the rural population of peasants in Russia). Many state serfs were also Spiritual Christians, many in secret, and welcomed being removed from central Orthodox areas, and thousands voluntarily accepted the offer. The resettlement policy was somewhat similar in intention to the Homestead Act of 1862 in the U.S.A. and in Canada, The Free Grants and Homestead Act in 1868 to disperse colonizers into territory being taken from indigenous tribes.

In 1802, Dukhoborsty were given land on the west side of the Molochna River, then Molokane and other heretics were given land mostly on the east side, south of the Anabaptists from Germany. Part of the origins of what became Pryguny probably occurred south of the Molochna Colony, northeast of Crimea. In the area were Subbotniki, Shalaputy, Shtundisty, Novoskopsty, some newly arrived, and other non-Orthodox indigenous faiths (probably including Khlysty), descendants of Bogomils, Apocalyptic Anabaptists from Germany, and Jewish-like Krymchaks and Karaites; the most zealous of whom probably contributed to what would later become the Prygun faiths. Today only Molokane continue to maintain their heritage faith in Molochnaya area, Ukraine, were I visited 3 active (of 15 former) meeting halls in 1992.

By the mid-1900s, the easy to pronounce term — malakan — expanded into common usage in South Caucasus languages (Turkish, Azeri, Armenian, etc.) to refer to any peoples similar to malakan, any indigenous non-Orthodox faith (heresy, sekt) from Russia, and later into a general term for all Russian-speaking settlers from anywhere in Russia, including staroobryadsty (Old Ritualists), all Spiritual Christians and their descendants. Most of these malakan peoples were resettled by the Russian government, lived in their assigned villages, exhibited non-Caucasus cultures from Russia (dress, food, language, lifestyle, housing, etc.), practiced their own faiths and were prohibited from proselytizing, though some outsiders joined and intermarried. Like white European settlers in the American West, they were distinctly lighter-skinned, some with brown or blond straight hair; and grey, hazel and blue eyes, in contrast to the dark complected indigenous tribes who dressed and spoke different languages, had different faiths and ate different foods.

For more than 175 years in the Caucasus, the definition and use of the word malakan has evolved and broadened over time and place to a vague and fuzzy term meaning most any old Christian faith group from Russia in the Caucasus, not native to the Caucasus. Many malakan peoples in the Caucasus today falsely believe they are not Russian, rather a unique race, because they have their own label and heterodox (non-Orthodox, implying non-Russian) faiths.

Beginning in 1880, for 30 years, news articles and books in the U.S.A. began to report about persecution of indigenous protestant-like faiths in Russia which became well-known in the West, particularly the Stundisty — "... the Stundists regarded themselves as the Quakers of Russia, as men who truly believed that all violence, nay all assertion of power, is inherently evil." In March 1905 non-Dukhobor Spiritual Christians (Pryguny, Molokane, Subbotniki, ...) were called "Stundists" in Canadian press which announced that 200,000 were coming from Russia; but they were diverted to Los Angeles by Demens. In May 1905, Los Angeles Presbyterian church leaders assumed the arriving Spiritual Christians were Stundists, affiliated with Presbyterian missionaries in Molochna (sometimes called neo-molokane), and assigned their Russian-speaking Rev. Teichrieb to minister "to their spiritual need as far as possible." On Sundays at the Bethlehem Stimpson-Lafayette Industrial School, which served as the first main meeting house for Spiritual Christians from Russia, he conducted services in Russian for about 5 years, and may have converted some to the Russian-speaking Presbyterian church in Los Angeles. When the first group of real Molokane arrived in Los Angeles, their presbyter was Rev. Teichrieb, until January 1906 when 34 Molokane left Los Angeles with 86 other Spiritual Christians, mostly Pryguny, to Hawaii. By August 1906, all the Molokane returned to San Francisco, where they stayed. Up to about 1910, Rev. Teichrieb only referred to the Spiritual Christian faiths remaining in Los Angeles as Stundists. He was reassigned to another parish probably because the Spiritual Christian tribes from Russia (a) viewed Teichrieb as an outsider, and (b) each tribal faith cluster, mostly based on village of origin, insisted on conducting their own rituals with their own anointed or appointed leaders.

All of the general faiths terms shown in the chart below and more were probably called malakan at some time and place. Also many of these faiths in Central Russia were called Quakers and/or Mormon, because authorities suspected such "infectious" heresies were imported from foreign countries.

Malakan Definition Changes Over 3 Centuries.
1840s+ 1900s
People from Molochna
Similar to malakan, non-Orthodox faiths Any old faith group from Russia
Caucasus  Russia Caucasus
Russia, USSR North America Caucasus Former Soviet Union
North America
 - Large Party
 - Small Party
 - Undecided

 - Community
 - Independent
Dukhobortsy Dukhobortsy Dukhobortsy
 - Community
 - Independent

Svobodniki +
Sons of Freedom

Sons of Freedom,
Molokane Molokane
 - Obshchei
 - Donski
 - Shtundisty
 - Obshchei
 - Donski
 - Shtundisty
 - Shtundisty
Molokane Molokane Molokane



Noviy skopsty Skopsty Noviy skopsty* Skopsty

Khristovschina* Khlysty

Pryguny Pryguny*
 - Shtundisty


 - Shtundisty

Stary israil'
 - Noviy israil'
Stary israil'
 - Noviy israil'
Noviy israil'*
Noviy israil Noviy israil'*
 - Shtundisty


 - Shtundisty

Dukh-i-zhiniki *
Dukh-i-zhiniki Dukh-i-zhiniki Dukh-i-zhiniki
Subbotniki Subbotniki Subbotniki
 - Shtundist

Yegovisty Yegovisty

Baptisty Baptisty Baptisty Baptisty Baptisty Baptisty
 - Nekrasovskie
 - Nekrasovskie
Staroobryadtsy Staroobryadtsy
 - Nekrasovskie
 - Nekrasovskie
 - Nekrasovskie
 - Nekrasovskie

Kwaker Kwaker Kwaker
Russian Quaker

Mennoniti Mennoniti



* After 1928 in the United States and Caucasus, many Pryguny, Sionisty, Noviy israili, Maksimisty, and other immigrant faiths from Russia transformed or converted to new Dukh-i-zhinik faiths, or abandoned their heritage faiths.
** In ecclesiastical denunciatory literature, Khristovoverie (Christ-faith) was called Khristovshchina (Christs) or Khlystovshchina (Whips), then shortened to Khlysty.

Each general faith group in the chart above has a different history by time and place, some with many factions. Many interacted with each other forming hybrids and new faiths; even with Russian Orthodox. Some moved back and forth between faiths several times, mostly to get privileges.  They all changed over time, mostly synchronous with their surrounding cultures and government policies. Today, most are extinct, and their descendants assimilated, so few vestiges of practicing members remain. Compare to American Shakers, 2 remained in January 15, 2017.

Below is a Venn diagram (not to scale) showing how Molokan is a subset of malakan.
All Molokane are malakane, but not all malakane are Molokane.
Because the term malakan is phonetically similar to Molokan, the 2 terms are too often confused, thousands of times. See Wikipedia examples in Turkish, Azeri, Armenian (Մոլոկան), ...

For one example, in 2011, English-language journalists began to falsely report that the ancestors of celebrity personality Kim Kardashian were "Molokans" or "Molokan Jumpers," implying the same for her. Actually her Protestant Armenian grandparents joined the Spiritual Christian Pryguny faiths (not Molokane) while in Kars oblast, Russia (now in Turkey) and some of her relatives who migrated to Los Angeles converted, after 1928, to their own Dukh-i-zhiznik faith, but were shunned by more zealous non-Armenian Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths. Some are buried in the Old Cemetery, East Los Angeles. Kim Kardashian was raised in Catholic Schools (Orthodox). Her erroneous false history stories are copied, recopied, blogged and edited many times with mis-information, partially fake news to sell pay-per-click advertising. While it was somewhat correct in Turkey to report her ancestors were malakan from Kars, it was not correct to report the same in English without carefully defining the terms (sloppy journalism). It is correct to say that her great-grand-parents joined the Spiritual Christian Prygun faith in Kars and her grand-parents continued their version of the Prygun faith, migrating to Los Angeles with other non-Orthodox Spiritual Christians from Russia, where they continued their separate congregation in the Armenian and Russian languages, which divided into perhaps 3 congregations, and one congregation used the Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn'. Her father did not continue the Prygun faith for his family, he "married out." Kim Kardashian professes no single faith.

Characteristics of Indigenous Faith Groups in Russia Confused as malakan, 1700-1900.

Faith Group
Named Use Bible
Spiritual Christians
Water Baptism
1867 yes yes

Dukh-i-zhizniki2   1928 yes yes

Dukhobortsy3 1787 4

Khristovoverie5 1680s
yes yes
yes yes
Maksimisty 1850s

Molokane 1765 yes

Noviy israil' 1840s yes

1856 yes

Shalaputy 1840s

yes yes

1757 ?
yes yes
yes yes

Staroobryadtsy 1660s yes

1858 yes yes yes

Subbotniki 1650s
yes yes



  1. Ecstatic movements, spiritual dance, hop, skip; and holy/spiritual visions, prophesy, voices, revelations, ... — Christian mystisim
  2. Many faiths and creeds
  3. Five major divisions — 3 in Russia, 2 in Canada, plus offshoots and sub-groups
  4. Bible not used during services, though most psalms memorized and sung are from New Testament, and Community Doukhobors declare they are members of the Church of Christ..
  5. In ecclesiastical denunciatory literature, Khristovoverie (Christ-faith) was called Khristovshchina (Christs) or Khlystovshchina (Whip swingers), then shortened to the simple Khlysty (Whips).
  6. Pronounced Yehovisty. Also called Ilyintsy, Jehovists, Sect of the Right-hand Brotherhood, The Message of Zion.

Spiritual Christians speak a variety of Slavic Tongues (dialects) and their own dialects, and sing in a variety of styles, depending on the origin of their ancestors and the path of their migrations. Most studied and documented are branches of Dukhoborsty in Canada.

Diagram from: Dillingham, William Paul. "Immigrant Races or Peoples: Slav (Slave), Slavic, or Slavonic ," Reports of the Immigration Commission, United States Immigration Commission (1907-1910), page 274.

Nearly all of the Spiritual Christians who migrated to North America came from the Caucasus and brought with them the Southern Russian dialects, like Don Kossack Balachka. Some, including all Dukhoborstsy and many Pryguny came to the Caucasus via the South Ukraine, carried Ukrainian dialects, and their descendants brought those dialects to North america.(34)

Not shown in the diagram above are the Old Church Slavonic dialects often preserved as special religious terms among some Spiritual Christians, and especially among Staroobryadtsy. The language and dialect preservation is more prevalent in diaspora populations who were removed from Russia about 1900. Use of Old Slavonic has caused divisions among some Molokan and several Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations.

Spoken Languages

Spiritual Christians who immigrated to North America around 1900 mainly spoke Southern Russian dialects of limited vocabulary, sometimes mixed with Old Slavonic and Ukrainian words and phrases. Some were also fluent in Armenian, Moravian, Georgian, Azeri, Turkish, Farsi and other languages common in South Russia in 1900. Baja Californian Spanish is spoken by all raised in Mexico since 1905, and some raised in Arizona since 1911. Farsi is also spoken by those raised in Persia (Iran) after the 1917 Revolution, and immigrated to the USA around 1950. A few individuals learned other languages in school, the military, and while working in foreign countries.

Many born in Russia subscribed to and bought Russian language literature. When it opened in the 1920s, about 25% the new Boyle Heights Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library were Russian-language books and periodicals, and the library hired Russian-speaking staff. Parental support for Russian language literacy nearly vanished during the Cold War (1940+) when it was considered unpatriotic, especially during the 2nd Red Scare and McCarthyism (1947-1956). Spoken Russian was primarily limited to people raised by Russian-born parents, and not passed on to the grandchildren to facilitate their prosperity and assimilation. In contrast, the most zealous Dukh-i-zhiznik families indoctrinated their children by rote memorizing songs, prayers and verses, with no formal grammar instruction. The Russian-literate immigrant society had by the 1960s transformed into a few who recited Russian to perform religious rituals.

In Canada, retention of Russian literacy has been a goal mostly achieved by Community Dukhobortsy in British Columbia, Canada. For decades "Russian School" was held after elementary classes, and in secondary schools where Dukhobortsy were teachers or on the school board. A few school districts in the Kootenay area of British Columbia offer immersion K-12 Russian classes to serve children of U.S.C.C. Doukhobors, Sons of Freedom, and recent immigrants. Also groups of about a dozen college students every year were given stipends by Obshistvo Rodina, Moscow, to attend university in Russia. See: Legacy of Language Spans 100 Years: Our Russian Language, a Personal Perspective, by Vera Kanigan, from the Grand Forks Gazette and Castlegar Sun Supplement – "Doukhobor Centenary", May 19, 1999.

In the U.S.A., it was common for descendants of integrated Spiritual Christians in college to enroll in at least beginning Russian, and several managed to complete advanced Russian, while a few were Russian majors. I know of only 3 descendants of Dukh-i-zhizniki, all girls, who attended Soviet universities. All were on stipend, the same program offered to Canadian Dukhobortsy.(50) After 1980, the Hacienda Heights U.M.C.A. incorporated a non-profit Dukh-i-zhiznik "Molokan Elementary School" (M.E.S.) that still teaches their Dukh-i-zhiznik ritual songs, prayers and some Russian grammar.

In the 1990s, since perestroika, about 50 Spiritual Christians, mostly Dukh-i-zhizniki, have been sponsored from the Former Soviet Union, most from Armenia, and divided between the US and Australia. The goal seemed to be more to import Russian-speakers than pure humanitarian altruism. Several came as families, many as brides, only 1 became a Molokan husband. Due to their modern Russian language lacking of Old Slavonic terms, and moderate religious stances, they have not moved into many "front row" positions. Most in Australia have split into their own congregation, due to religious and language differences. Those in the USA are not fully accepted in all congregations. Some are insulted by native zealots, like my wife, probably because she is of educated and integrated Molokan origin. In late 2017, the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki were purging their newly conquered U.M.C.A. territory of ne nash literature, including Russian language books, and items, following a decade of reckless attacking and shunning perceived ne nash and "unclean" people.


About 1% of all Spiritual Christians in Old Russia migrated to North America from 1899 to 1930. Most came from the west side of the Southern Caucasus, location of perhaps one-tenth of their total populations in 1900. See: Reasons for migration, Dukh-i-zhizniki in America, Chapter 1.

The first migration wave was large and quick due to the intervention of Lev. N. Tolstoy and The Society of Friends, London UK. In 1899-1900 about 7,400 (1/3) of the most zealous and persecuted Dukhobortsy (spirit-wrestlers, Doukhobors), mainly followers of P. V. Verigin, migrated to central Canada from the Southern Caucasus, and by 1930 a total of 8,800 had arrived in Canada. The majority 2/3 of all Dukhobortsy remained in Russia.

The second slower wave began in 1904 among non-dukhobor Spiritual Christians, to Los Angeles, California, where a third as many (perhaps less than 2,500) mostly arrived in groups over a 7+-year period. (See: Dukh-i-zhizniki in America, Chapter I: The Migration.) P. A. Demens diverted them from following Dukhobortsy to Canada, and personally led them to Los Angeles, financing some.

During these migrations to North America, all Spiritual Christians were called "Russian Quakers" in the press, and often "Mennonites." Sometimes Spiritual Christian Dukhobortsy were called Molokans, and sometimes Spiritual Christian Pryguny and other faiths were called Doukhobors. At first the terms did not seem to matter, as long as the readers generally understood they were dissident immigrants from Russia, sort of like Protestants (folk protestants). In Canada the collective term for Spiritual Christian was simplified by outsiders to various spellings of "Doukhobor" (45+). In the U.S.A. the term for "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians" was falsely simplified to "Molokan," causing international confusion for more than a century, which this Taxonomy corrects. Note that the term "Molokan" has been misspelled more than 60 ways in English print.

Click to ENLARGE During the second wave of immigration of the "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians" to the U.S.A., all were mistakenly announced and promoted simply as Molokane, though most were varieties of Pryguny and other non-Molokan faiths, including Dukhobortsy. Reasons for fewer Molokane emigrating are listed in Dukh-i-zhizniki in America, Introduction. Though some resisted this false identity and tried to correct the mistake, they were repeatedly conditioned by advisers and agents to only use the short false collective name of "Molokan," probably to simplify their complicated identities and hide their actual faiths, to counter discrimination and avoid deportation during decades of nationalism, religious bias and bigotry, and later anti-communist sentiment in North America.

In the 1950s, when I was in grammar school in Arizona, our parents told us to report that our "religion" was "protestant" on government forms. They were ashamed of the connotation of the words "Russian" and "Molokan," and more so if they had to explain "Jumper."

The false Molokan label became ingrained into the collective memory of Dukh-i-zhizniki who forgot and/or censored their embarrassing oral histories and identities to their descendants and surrounding public. The cover-up was exposed after the breakup of the Soviet Union and reorganization of the Molokane faith internationally. The minority Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths began to realize they could no longer falsely claim the Molokan faith label forever in public, though the false term persists among themselves and on recorded documents, deeds, signs, etc, and they continue to fool naive journalists and scholars, including themselves with deceptive advertising.

In North America, the single label "Molokan" was first naively internationally popularized by journalists in St. Petersburg, Russia, to report they will all migrate to North America, due to petitions received, following Dukhoborsty. Then Russian agents in Los Angeles (Demens and Cherbak, 1905-1910), and professors (Young, U.S.C. 1926-1932+) primarily used the single simple term to promote, document and shelter immigrating mixed tribes of immigrants from Russia as a valuable breed of safe White Protestant Christian immigrants — tall, healthy, strong, honest, intelligent, literate, sane, sober; but not criminals, not anarchists, not Bolsheviks, not communists, not socialists, not traitors, not Jews (Hebrews), not Pentecostal Holy Jumpers/Rollers, nor fanatic pagan religious cults — a false history.

The false single simple label probably allowed the advisers and agents:
  • to falsely claim all the immigrants are The Molokane who were given religious freedom by the Tsar in 1805 and in 1904;
  • to falsely claim all the immigrants are The Molokane named by Lev N. Tolstoy in his internationally published letters to the Tsar in 1899-1900, to either give religious dissenters religious freedom and lower taxes/rents, or allow them to emigrate;
  • to falsely claim all the immigrants are NOT the "Dancers" (Pryguny), who were denied religious freedom in Russia.(15);
  • to falsely claim ALL were the tens of thousands of Molokane incorrectly announced in the international news (1904-1905) to be migrating to Los Angeles, when U.S. business wanted more White Christian Protestant literate skilled laborers and farming colonists;
  • to promote all the immigrants as wholesome White Protestant Christians (not pagans, not Catholic or Orthodox), experienced farmers, hardworking cheap White labor, ideal permanent colonists and potential good citizens; not the stereotypical illiterate unskilled South-eastern Europeans;
  • to present them as a useful, healthy, quality breed (not like lower class Jews, Hebrews; Asians or colored people) with good genes, and protect them from sterilization threats by eugenicists;
  • to hide their various secret illegal strange faiths and rituals, some of which were similar to controversial emerging charismatic Pentecostals (Holy Jumpers/ Rollers) in California, and Orthodox Russians and Hebrews-Jews;
  • to differentiate them from all other aliens and unpatriotic immigrants from Russia on the U.S. west coast being investigated, arrested and deported as anarchists, Bolsheviks, communists, Wobblies, reds, etc.;
  • to differentiate them from the zealous nude protesting Spiritual Christian Svobodniki (free men, Freedomites) emerging in Canada (1902-1906) who were denied mass entry into the U.S.;
  • to differentiate them from ~8600 Ukrainians (Galatians) interned (jailed) from 1914 to 1920 by Anglo-Canadians who feared all immigrant Germans and Ukrainians were enemy aliens;
  • to differentiate them from Dukhoborsty who were disfranchised in Canada in 1919;
  • to differentiate them from Mennonites, Hutterites and Doukhobors from Russia who were banned from immigrating to Canada from June 1919 to June 1922;
  • to differentiate those in Southern California from the related 34 Spiritual Christian zealots jailed in Arizona in 1917-1918, and the 6 absolutists imprisoned in Kansas 1918-1919;
  • etc.
The above list is a brief simple outline of a complex history of hiding from discrimination, which somewhat attenuated with the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, yet persists in the minds of the most zealous and afraid today. Though the public relations ploy of Dukh-i-zhizniki hiding behind the "Molokan" label worked, in that none were deported or interned, and most all integrated,(19) the false label persists today due to a vast number of incorrect publications since 1900, and generations of inbred fear, shame, misinformation and disinformation about their histories, scrambled faiths and identities. Because so much of this history is unclear and confused, the certainty of information in this Taxonomy will be rated as fact, a correlation, or inference; and what data may be missing, as time permits.

Similarly in Russia, being classified as Molokan qualified a non-Orthodox sect for privileges under the new evolving 1905 ukaz for religious and civil freedom, which was denied to "perverse" zealot groups similar to khlysty, like the Pryguny and Maksimisty. Therefore on both continents, non-Molokane simultaneously hijacked a false Molokan identity to get privileges, hide and continue the camouflage today.

Unfortunately today, many of the most zealous and vocally aggressive Dukh-i-zhizniki stubbornly falsely retain a belief that they actually ARE Molokane, even boasting they are the "true" authentic version of Molokane. How did this happen? First marketing, then generations of inbred fear and shame to reveal the truth. If  you are one of those people, you better quit reading this now, because you are probably afraid of the facts. Caution: Continued reading will upset you, and/or upset zealots with whom you discuss this new information. So if you continue reading, don't tell any one who might insult you for knowing more than what you are supposed to know.

Naming Old Russian sects

In the Russian Empire since the 1400s, many ethnic Russians (those not Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist) who refused the mandatory Orthodox faith for ethnic Russians called themselves and/or were called dukhovnye khristiane (Spiritual Christians)(12) or other terms. The Russian Orthodox Church, government, historians and journalists called them sektanti (sectarians) and described them by various alleged characteristic heresies (eresi) and traits —
  • dukhobortsy : духоборцы (spirit/ spirits/ soul-wrestlers/ strugglers/ fighters/ champions/ warriors),
  • Ilin'sty : Иллиньцы (followers of Ilin'),
  • khlysty : хлысты (whips, flagellants, God's People),
  • kvarkeri : куакеры (Society of Friends, Quakers),
  • Maksimisty : Максимисты (followers of Maksim Garasimovich Rudomyotkin),
  • Malyovansty : малёванцы (followers of Kondratiy Alekseyevich Malyovany)
  • molokane : молокане (dairy-eaters; milk-drinking infants in religion),
  • mormoni : мормоне (Mormons),
  • Popovtsy : Поповцы (followers of Popov),
  • pryguny : пригуны (jumpers),
  • shalaputy : шалапуты (lost their way, took wrong turn in life)
  • skakuny : скакуны (skippers, leapers, hoppers),
  • skoptsy : скопцы (castrates),
  • strigol'niki : стригольники (shearers, cutters),
  • stundist : штундист (hour worshipers)
  • subbotniki : субботники (Saturday people),
  • zhidovstvuiushchei : жидовствующие (Judaizers),
  • etc.
Government, journalists and historians sometimes confused these different faith movements with each other and the international Tolstoyan movement, or naively just use a few names of sects to refer to all of them. The overall published documentation of the secret, illegal and charismatic sectarians is a tangled mess of overlapping and inconsistent labels with too many generalizations, and very little science. Compared to research of Protestantism published in Western countries, very few people have researched archives in Russia to untangle the sparse history of the Orthodox heresies and published in English.

More than a 100 descriptive labels were used for these non-Orthodox faiths, which should not be confused with the Old Orthodox faiths of staroobryadtsy (Old Ritualists) which refused to modernize, or reform to new Orthodox rituals ordered in the 1600s, yet remained Orthodox. They are unfortunately commonly called Old Believers, a term sometimes mistakenly applied to dukhovnye khristiane, which is also an old belief (100s of years old).

Some dukhovnye khristiane adapted their exonym by combining terms, like dukhovnye khristiane-molokane, dukhovnye khristiane-dukhobortsy, dukhovnye khristiane-pryguny. Some of the alleged labels were not correct, rather referred to Western sects, like kvarkeri (Quakers) and mormoni (Mormons), and many were misclassified or had no label. Many changed labels to get privileges. Many did not know what to call their illegal faith(s). Combining labels is like saying: "fruit-apple-Red Delicious", "fruit-apple-Granny Smith", "fruit-apple-Gala", etc.

By 1900 there may have been as many as a million followers of such non-Orthodox protestant-like faiths in the Russian Empire, about 1% of the population. A major problem for the census managers was how to label them, if and when they were identified in a location. They were a huge administrative problem. Official committees were assigned to investigate, report and propose remedies to save their souls, resulting in guidebooks for converting them to Orthodoxy, and conflicting changing regional policies for governing heretics which varied by time and place.

The sectarian problem in Old Russia is legally somewhat similar to the drug problem in the U.S.A. today. About 10% of the population in Old Russia resisted the Orthodox reformation (raskol), and about 1% were sectarians (sektanty). About 10% of the U.S.A. population had a drug use disorder, and about 1% used crack cocaine in 2016. All of these are illegal offenses subject to arrest and jail, but too big for government to solve, or cure; and policies differ over time and place. If people hid in Old Russia they could worship in non-Orthodox ways, but if caught they were punished with a misdemeanor (like possessing a small amount of marijuana for personal use). If they openly proselytized, recruited new members, they were charged with a felony (like a drug dealer). If people hide in the U.S.A., they can use drugs. This analogy may help the reader understand why some Dukh-i-zhizniki are so aggressive to uninvited outsiders attending a service, or anyone taking photos, because they retain oral histories of government abuse minus the context of why their ancestors were arrested in Old Russia. If one zealot convinces his congregation to be secretive, he can excite others to attack other congregations to obey his new zealous standards, allegedly attributing his fears to the Holy Spirit..

Adding to the confusion in Old Russia, many terms like molokan, kwaker (Quaker), Stundist were often generally interchangeably used to describe any religious dissident, as synonyms. The term zamolokanil (замолоканил : molokanized) was ".. a common reference to a group that was getting disenchanted with the Greek Orthodox church, and in a manner similar to that of the Dukhobortsy was waging a struggle against the Church and therefore called 'Molokans' for lack of another term."(10) The most famous writers in Old Russia popularized the word "molokan" in their works when generally referring to pacifists, wimps, heretics, law-biding citizens (do-gooders), dissidents, etc.; and different readers and translators would interpret the usage of the blanket term "molokan" in Russian prose context differently. [Examples in-progress.]

In 1805 the original Spiritual Christian Molokane were given religious freedom in a decree (order, Russian: ukaz) — Petition to the Tsar Aleksander Pavlovich, July 12, 1805. Other smaller Spiritual Christian faiths were not named in this decree. Pryguny were not named because they did not aggregate until after 1833 (28 years later) and were not consistently named until the mid-1850s (~50 years later). Freedoms for Subbotniki were given in a separate decree, and Dukhobortsy and Molokane each got separate degrees for settlement territories. A comprehensive ordered list of all decrees regarding sectarians in Old Russia does not yet appear in Russian or English. [Research in-progress.]

The Spiritual Christian Pryguny-Skakuny (Jumpers-Leapers), a new heresy faith movement, allegedly founded about 1833 (perhaps also called shalaputy) was variously labeled about 1856, about 90 years after the Molokan label appeared (~1765). Members often lived near and recruited other Spiritual Christians and faiths, and probably also wanted the 1805 freedom of religion for themselves. Some falsely claimed the label "Molokan." Many may not have realized they changed faiths. Pryguny evolved from a zealous union of several faiths, tribes and nationalities in Central Russia, later concentrated in New Russia in the Jewish Pale of Settlement, now the South Ukraine, Zaporizhia oblast, during the famine of 1833, with a focus on the Apocalypse in the "South," Palestine.(13), while neighboring Pietists from Germany choose an Apocalypse location in the East.(23)

It was common for exiled Orthodox sectarians and Jews in the Russian Empire to change faiths to get a privilege, often declaring conversion to the Orthodox faith to get a work or travel permit. Some sectarians changed faiths several times before arrest, which recorded their identity-changing practice.(14) The 1897 Russian census counted Pryguny as a separate group. Many times Pryguny testified to the government and reporters that they were not Molokane. [Examples in-progress.] Some Dukh-i-zhizniki today hate Molokane for whistle-blowing, reporting that their Prygun ancestors impersonated Molokane.

Molokan misnomer in America, by Demens and Young


The generic non-specific Molokan misnomer was most popularized in the United States beginning in January 1905 apparently solely due to Captain Peter A. Demens (1850-1919). As a respected authority on Russia, and organizer of the informal committee in Los Angeles for immigrants from Russia, he affirmed the unverified rumor they were all Molokane and described them in positive terms. He was anxious to bring them all to Southern California, invested years of effort and a lot of money, so he whitewashed them, apparently for their own protection. Within 2 years of their mass arrival, by the end of 1906, they failed as a group to deliver as Demens bragged they would. The Molokane moved to San Francisco. Some Pryguny went to Mexico and most of the other faiths stayed in Los Angles. By 1910 Demens apparently gave up on them to spent more time with his family and business.

Demens was probably most impressed with the real Molokane who probably came in early 1905 from Harbin, China, after the Russo-Japanese War. They were much more educated and better dressed than the other faiths. Real Molokane did not look like peasants; the men did not have beards, and dressed in suit and tie. Their leader John Kurbatoff had a camera. Molokan women did not wear peasant clothes, nor did they cover their heads with a scarf unless needed. They appeared to be Europeans, very different than the peasant Pryguny and others from the Caucasus.

[Photo of first 34 Molokane, probably from Manchuria.]

Demens was probably afraid the most zealous non-Molokan Spiritual Christian faiths could be discriminated against or attacked by racist Americans, as the Svobodniki (Freedomites) were in Canada who marched in protest, sometimes naked. He knew first-hand that many American whites hated colored people and foreigners, and many people hated Catholics and emerging Pentecostals (Holy Jumpers/ Rollers).

For simplicity, he promoted them using the single, easy to pronounce, unique word "Molokan", rather than their 1904 official label: "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) Americans would be confused to hear the complicated truth, that they were mixed dukhovnye khristiane from Russia, mostly Pryguny, Klubnikinisty, Maksimisty, with minor groups of Molokane, Subbotniki, Stundisti, Sionisty and Noviy israili, and others, from about 2 dozen villages in 5 districts in Transcaucasia, Russia, and most never met until they arrived to Los Angeles.

Demens marketed them with a simple one-word, easy to pronounce brand identity; and he told W.A.S.P. American business men and politicians exactly what they wanted to hear. These immigrants from Russia were all one homogenous group of "Molokans," Russian for "milk-drinkers" not alcohol-drinkers, new law-abiding citizens, cheap White labor and ideal Bible-believing Protestant colonists, to deter objections and attract charity. It worked. Everyone believed his story, at first.

Demens devoted most of a decade inviting fellow countrymen to California and personally trying to help them get settled. He traveled across the U.S.A. several times, inspected Dukhobor settlements in Canada, scouted and negotiated land in Hawaii, wrote letters, published articles, hosting groups at his houses, contacted the President who appointed him an agent, traveled with them, negotiated with fellow railroad tycoon H.E. Huntington who offered 30,000 acres north of Los Angeles, volunteered 1000s of hours. No matter what he did, many immigrants were not satisfied and fought among themselves. After about 15 years Demens and his colleagues gave up trying to further help these diverse dukhovnye khristiane (Spiritual Christians) from Russia who eventually erased Demens and his friends from their oral history, which is now being restored here.


In the mid-1920s, sociology student Pauline V. Young (1886-1977) an immigrant Jew from Russian Poland who graduated from the University of Chicago and had worked for several social service agencies, moved to Los Angeles with her American Jewish husband, sociologist Dr. Erle F. Young, also from the University Chicago. He got a teaching job in the Sociology Department at the University of Southern California (U.S.C.), where she enrolled in the graduate program. At the time U.S.C. had the most robust sociology program on the west coast. Pauline spoke Russian, had experience working with immigrant Slavic populations, and chose to continue the research begun by Lillian Sokoloff a decade earlier, and Wycliffe a year before, on the fragmented population of folk-Protestants from Russia in East Los Angeles (today called Boyle Heights). Her refugee Russian-Jewish background probably appealed to those Spiritual Christians who favored Old Testament laws, and her husband needed data on this cohort of juvenile delinquents. Though she was not hated or feared by zealots as a "pork-eater," and understood many of their holidays, facts published in her book angered many.

Though Young correctly defines her subjects as immigrants from Russia who call themselves Spiritual Christian Pryguny and use a new ritual book called Dukh i zhizn' (in short), she strangely overwhelmingly mistakenly calls them "Molokans" in all her publications and lectures. She never met Molokane. Her mislabeling extensively spread the misnomer initiated by Demens 2 decades earlier, and continues today as a false history.

Careful study of her text reveals that she found no history of Pryguny to fill her thesis with background information. Her thesis committee would have critically commented about a huge gap in her research. Probably in despertion, she added the history of Molokane to the Pryguny, Maksimisty, Klubnikinisty, Sionisty, etc.who had no written history, and falsely claimed they were all the same people, the same faith, the same tribe. The gaduate committee naively assumed she was honest. This deception greatly simplified her work with many citations of Molokane, not Pryguny. Ivan G. Samarin apparently trusted her scholarship and copied much of her false history into the 1928 Kniga solntse, dukhi i zhizn', with some protests at the time. xxxxx 

Today we know much more about the fragmented and little documented zealous tribes of Spiritual Christians in Russia, like Pryguny, and that they are definitely not the same as Molokane.

The history deception that Pauline Young committed in her thesis, book and papers is like one claiming that membrs of the Church of Jesus Christs of Later Day Saints "won" the label Baptist because they perform total imersion in a tub of water, therefore we should from now on only call them Baptists, not Mormon, not L.D.S; and their history is the same as all Baptists, except they have a few extra religous texts and their own prophets.  "... and if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you,"

Upon learning English, many immigrants who lived in their ethnic enclave in Los Angeles probably became afraid and ashamed to be known by their actual Russian faiths — such as Pryguny or “Jumpers” in English, Sionisty and Noviy israili about which local Jews protested in court, or by any other term except “Molokan,” though their religions were not Molokan and the most zealous despised Molokane. Unfortunately their originally preferred correct general term "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians" faded from popular usage by WWII, perhaps sounding too common or American for those who chose to live in America, and/or to vague, and/or to long to say. In contrast, the most zealous Russian-born Maksimisty who believed they will return to Mt. Ararat before the Apocalypse, and planned to leave soon, falsely called themselves Pryguny, and were not concerned with establishing themselves in America nor hiding their faiths and ritual books. Most of the assimilating youth were occupied with school, sports and socializing in a metropolis, were not taught Russian, were excluded from sobranie politics because they were not married, and most were not interested in memorizing and performing mystical rituals in a foreign language.

Young predicted the immigrant cultures from Russia would fully assimilate by 1960, 25 years after publishing her book in 1932. By 1960, more than half were fully assimilated, and by 1980 more than 90% were not easily distinguishable from middle-America. By 2000, the relatively few who continued to learn and perform Dukh-i-zhiznik rituals closed their congregations and societies from outsiders (ne nashi) and non-dues-paying members whom they often scrutinize, sometimes with harrasment. 

Read much more about Pauline Young below.

Resurrection of Molokane in Russia

In 1991 during perestroika, Molokane in the Former Soviet Union (F.S.U.) resurrected as a legally registered faith. Some Prygun congregations in the F.S.U. registered with the Molokane to gain official status, but Dukh-i-zhizniki did not. Diaspora Molokane in San Francisco and Sheridan, California, joined the international organization. Though all Dukh-i-zhizniki were curious about news from the F.S.U., none joined the international Molokan organization because they knew they were not Molokane, and the most zealous obeyed a Maksimist creed which opposed the Molokan faith.

By 2000, about 90% of the descendants of Spiritual Christians around the world had abandoned practicing their heritage faiths, many joining local Protestant denominations and megachurches, which offered trained clergy, free literature, broadcast lessons, child care, youth groups, comfortable seating and educational services in English.

In 2005, not one Dukh-i-zhiznik attended the 200th Anniversary of Religious Freedom communal meeting in Stavropol' province, Russian Federation, hosted by the Molokane, though many Pryguny attended and also attended the previous celebration in 1905.

In 2007, most Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations in Russia agreed that the easiest way to differentiate themselves from the organized Molokane is to honestly identify their faiths with their common ritual book (short name: Dukh i zhizn') despite the many differences among themselves. The meaning of this new label was clear to them when shown a list of all congregations in the world being compiled. If they wanted to be published in a world directory of Spiritual Christian congregations, they did not want to be shown as Molokan, Prygun, Dukhovniye, Subbotnik, or Dukhoborets, rather as Dukh-i-zhiznik. No other identity label was suggested, nor has been submitted (as of October 2016).

In America, extensive repetition of the "Molokan" misnomer for a century has unfortunately semantically changed, or brand-jacked, the original meaning into a broad erroneous generic term, which if used, will always need an awkward and confusing explanation, presented as a compound term: Original Molokan, Jumper-Molokan, Russian-Molokan-Jumper, Charismatic Molokan, Molokan-Prygun, Constant-Molokan, Maksimist-Molokan, … Molokan-Molokan. It is ridiculous to use false variable compound terminology when one exact word will do.

Imagine you only know the word "cat" for a 4-legged mammal, because you don't know the other names (dog, horse, mouse, sheep, wolf, etc.).  To label different animals you might say: "cat-cat", "cat that barks", "big cat, run fast", "small cat, hide in holes", "fuzzy cat, say baah", "cat cry at night". This is similar to pidgin English, and Native American expressions like "iron horse" for a steam locomotive.

The "Molokan" term is so widely abused that some scholars, and many reporters and government officials, falsely think Molokans are a type of Orthodox or Old Believer faith (misnomer for Old Ritualists : staroobryadsty). Occasionally the term is mistaken as a non-Russian nationality. No wonder many authentic Molokane feel they are misrepresented in the press, by historians and zealous impersonators. Their confused identity has hindered the Molokane from getting recognized for their actual faith, and from getting land in the F.S.U. to build meeting halls.

Use correct labels

It's much simpler, honest, informed and Christian, to use one correct term for each faith group, rather than hiding behind a false label popularized by those who assimilated(19) in metropolitan Southern California and are afraid to reveal their heritage faiths, or define them.

Use of the very broad Americanized "ethnic Molokan" term for any Russian immigrant (Orthodox or not) should be avoided, and substituted preferably with the original term (transliterated Russian: dukhovnye khristiane, English: Spiritual Christians) or the historic Russian Orthodox pejorative term (Russian sectarians). Though many Russian-literate readers will recognize these correct terms, writers (journalists, students, scholars) should always define them.

Use of the pejorative adjective postoyannie (постоянние : constant, steadfast, unchanged, original) for Molokane should be avoided, because it is a relative condescending descriptor, not a title or label. Some Pryguny were misled to believe that it means "no jumping allowed."(Bushnoff, Fedor. "Hill memories: Letters to the VIEW," The Potrero View, December 1971, page 2, column 2.)

Some Dukh-i-zhizniki use postoyannie in an accusatory sense to infer, or state, that Molokane have committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit because they do not jump.(Rudomyotkin, M.G. Verse 16, Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life, Book 4, Article [Story] 6, page 279.)

Of all the faiths who call themselves Molokane, only the official international Molokan organization youth host a Molokan website — сдхм.рф. To date, only 3 other web sites in Russia are hosted by Molokane, while this one ( is the only website in English with extensive content about Molokane around the world. Many temporary web sites were started by Dukh-i-zhizniki who falsely identified themselves as Molokane, and the few which persist are commercial or somewhat clandestine, requiring registration, as does an e-mailing list. Internet searches for the term "molokan" in any language return a mixture of web pages, articles and photos, most about Dukh-i-zhizniki who claim to be or are mislabeled as Molokane. Readers beware!

Again, the purpose of this Taxonomy is to explain in detail how the misnomer was created, why it should not be used, because it is offensive and inaccurate, and to present a simple classification system of 3 unique terms for these 3 different faith groups of Spiritual ChristiansMolokan(e), Prygun(y) and Dukh-i-zhiznik(i). In respect, and for honesty in journalism and scholarship, please use these 3 simple terms as a standard.

  1. Proper transliteration from Russian (молокан - молокане) into English : Molokan (singular) - Molokane (plural). Many spelling variations and typographical errors occur in English print (62 counted): Holokano, Malacan, Malakan, Malakane, Malakani, Malakany, Malakanys, Malakon, Mallakus, Malikoffs, Malokan, Mokan, Mokans, Molachen, Molakani, Molakanes, Molakanis, Molecans, Molicans, Molikans, Moliken, Molkanes, Molkani, Molkans, Mollakane, Mollakin, Mollican, Mollicans, Mollikan, Molliken, Molloccan, Molocan, Molochan,* Molochani,* Molocons, Molokai (Hawai'ian island), Molokaian, Molokam, Molokana, Molokanas, Molokanen, Molokaner, Molokanes, Molokani, Molokanies, Molokanis, Molokanist, Molokano, Molokany, Molokanye, Moloken, Molokhan, Molokhans, Molokian, Molokone, Molokons, Moloknes, Molowakan, Moluccans, Mullican, Mullikens, Molluccan, ...   Other languages have variant spellings Turkish : Malakan, Malakanlar (plural); Spanish (Mexico) Molakanos (plural), French : Les Moloque, Molochan; German : Der Molokanen,
    * The variant "Moloch(s)" was used to accuse Dukh-i-zhizniki southeast of Los Angeles of Satanic Child Abuse in 1985.

    • Молокан(e) has been variously translated from Russian into English at least 6 ways:
      • milk-drinker(s) (not best but most common),
      • milk-eater(s),
      • milker(s),
      • milk people,
      • milk-consumers (Haxthausen, 1856), and
      • "Eaters of milk in the time of Fasts" (footnote Pinkerton, 1833).
      • The best translation is "dairy-eater."

    The insulting term "milk-drinker" may have been chosen for this heresy by Orthodox clergy as a pun to both (a) describe their non-fasting heresy, and (b) state that they had as little an understanding of Christianity as nursing infants.  

    Non-sectarian mythical meanings for the Russian root word molokan (молокан) include:
    • Milky-waters (Молочная) river in South Ukraine which often has a chalky color due to high mineral content, and is named from translating it's original Cuman-language name (Syutten : nurse, mother) which describes the rich alluvial soil in terms of productive dairy land the watered pastures provide abundant milk from cows/ sheep/ goats/ horses;*
    • malo kanulo, "few have disappeared" (literally: "little has sunk [in water]"), a phrase segment attributed to Tsarina Elizabeth describing the Molochnaya district in the 1800s;*
    • nursing baby animal;
    • white mushroom, a poisonous variety;
    • milk-weed or thistle, which oozes white sap; and
    • nickname for a very light, almost white-skinned, person, like "Whitey" in English.

    * The first 2 myths have bee widely spread within Spiritual Christian oral history. The first myth is somewhat common in the United States, and the second in the Former Soviet Union.

  2. "Confusion as to the nature of ethnicity often results from the lack of an adequate typology of ethnic groups and identities." — Definitions And Dimensions Of Ethnicity, The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples, by Wsevolod W. Isajiw, on Multicultural Canada. This essay goes further to examine the origin of the confusion and untangle it, providing a comprehensive explanation of the typological definitions.

  3. Historically, all ethnic Russians should be Orthodox by faith because Orthodox Russians believe that salvation for Russians (those not Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist) is impossible outside of their official State Church. In Old Russia, abandoning the Orthodox faith was viewed as abandoning one's Russian nationality and citizenship, hence the myth in Armenia that dukhovnye khristiane are not real Russians because they have their own religions. (Grigorian, Mark. "A Handful of Russia in the Armenian Highlands," Hayatsk Yerevanits (A View from Yerevan) 2/23, Feb 2000, pages 20-23.) The ancestry of many Spiritual Christians is from a mixture of indigenous races and tribes, not all "Russian", and even Russians are not a homogeneous pure breed. Similarly, all "Americans" (those who live in America) are not a homogeneous pure breed, nor are Australians.

^ Contents ^

2. Spiritual Christian Groups

Over 250 ethno-religious congregations of Spiritual Christians around the world today that are too often mis-labeled as "Molokan" are actually of 3 different religious groups — 2 denominations of Molokane and Pryguny; and diverse new religious movements of Dukh-i-zhizniki. The mistaken label is sometimes applied to other Russian sectarian faiths, Russian Jews and Russian Orthodox. How to identify which faith is which is simple.

These 3 Spiritual Christian faiths is are easily distinguished by their liturgysongs, holidays, books and rituals.
In the Americas, they are also easily identified by location.

Dukh i zhizn' Christ's God's Yes





Dukh-i-zhiznik1 X


1. All Maksimisty are Dukh-i-zhizniki, but not all Dukh-i-zhizniki are Maksimisty.
Most adapted from Russian folk songs and borrowed from German Protestants.
3. Not during service, but often during meals at weddings, funerals, child dedication, holidays
4. Open canon, a sacred text that can be modified by continuous revelation, somewhat similar to Latter Day Saint canons.
About 200 prophets since 1900, but only 4 major prophets in their Dukh i zhizn' (religious text). Each congregation has 1 or more prophets. Over 100 prophesies are recorded in secret notebooks shared with the most trusted members.
This taxonomy uses the transliterated original labels from Russian (shown in italics) because the historic Russian terms have long-established definitions. I deviate from Russian by capitalizing the labels, common in English but not capitalized in Russian. Lax translation to English, sometimes intentional, has altered original Russian meanings. For example, Spiritual Christians in Tsarist Russia never called their meeting location a tserkva (church), a term only applied to Orthodox Church buildings. In English the word "church" is used by Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants, but not in Russia where only the Orthodox faith was legal. Because non-Orthodox faiths were illegal before 1903, most were not allowed to have prayer buildings. The major exception was in Blagoveschensk (Far East) where Molokane dominated the economy and politics, and built a large molitvenyi dom (молитвеный дом / дом молитвы : prayer house, prayer hall, assembly hall, gospel hall) or obschii dom (общий дом : community hall, assembly) for a sobranie (собрание : meeting, gathering, assembly); similar to Gospel Hall. Currently in Ivanovka, Azerbaijan, the term tserkva (церква : church) is used during interviews with young reporters who do not know their Russian historical terminology.

The most significant semantic translation shift in the U.S. is that the Russian term Molokan is never translated in a title or legal document as “Dairy-eater,” but Prygun is translated as “Jumper” on many legal documents while never using the Russian term. Since these faiths originated in Russia, the transliterated Russian terms should be used exclusively to preserve their original Russian meanings. The English should only be used to help define the Russian term, not replace it.

In Old Russia (before 1900) these three faith groups, and the Dukhobortsy* and others, historically called themselves Dukhhovnye khristiane (Духовные христиане : Spiritual Christians). Similar to European Protestants, these groups opposed about 90% of Russian Orthodox Church (ROC, Pravoslanoi, Православной — “right worship”) doctrine. For being Russian and not Orthodox, these dissenting faiths, when identified by authorities, were ruled by the ROC to be heresies (eresei : ересей), sektanty (cектанты : sectarians), sekty (cекты : sects) [from Latin secare : to cut or cut off], and given many labels which described their deviation. Over 100 labels have been used to describe dissenting sects and schismatics,** which comprised at least 10% of the Russian population by 1900.

In 1900, sectarians (non-Orthodox) totaled about 1 million, or 1% of the total population of the Russian Empire. In some areas about 80% of the local population opposed the Church and/or State, particularly on the periphery — new territory, borders heavily populated by German immigrants, sectarians and schismatics. In Russia no Germans were Orthodox, except by rare intermarriage or conversion.

Often several labels are applied to the same people or different peoples, which adds to historic confusion, especially when the subjects use different labels or interpretations than authorities — for example: Luidi Bozhe (God's People, People of God, Christ-faith) versus Khristovovery, Khristy, Khlysty (Whips, Flagellants, self-castigators). No one in Old Russia ever self-identified by saying: "I am a khlyst," according to Dr. Clay who did his Ph.D. thesis about this religious movement.(11)

People often migrated and intermarried, changing their religious affiliation. Some Spiritual Christians adopted the ROC labels self-redefined, like Dukhhovnye khristiane-molokane. These 3-word labels were often shortened to the latter term used by the ROC, like molokane.

* Spiritual Christian Dukhobortsy in Russia divided into 3 groups named by size and leader. The most zealous third who moved to Canada further divided into 3 different groups by leader and obeying new laws. See Taxonomy of Spiritual Christian Doukhobors (In-Progress).

** Note that raskol'niki (schismatics, раско́лники) — Starovery (Old Believers), better called Staroobriadtsy (Old Ritualists) — are also often called “sects” in English but rarely in Russian. In 1900, about 10% of the Russian population were raskol'niki. In the late 1800s, Western journalists often used “sect” in a broad manner to refer to a particular religion, like "Russian Orthodox sect" or "Mormon sect." Some reporters today confuse Molokane with Old Believers, probably thinking the term means “old faith.” For a comprehensive overview of Russian sectarian history see: A.I. Klibanov, History of Religious Sectarianism in Russia (1860s-1917).

In 1906, after the failure of the Molokan Settlement Association in Hawaii, "Molokans" were ridiculed as "Adullamites," a "primitive Christianity," "vagrants," and "worthless."

Unlike those who document them, practicing Molokane and Pryguny in Russia and San Francisco, California, never confused their own faiths. Historic records indicate that confusion about who or what is Molokan began in the U.S. immediately upon immigration in mid-1904 to Los Angeles, California, of relatively small numbers (less than 1%) of total Spiritual Christians whose leaders from Russia declared they were a united brotherhood of various Spiritual Christians. The first such label in print was "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians," which was modified after 6 months, in January 1905, variously adding and/or deleting: "Jumper," "Pryguny," "Molokan," "Russian," "Sectarian," and "Brotherhood." (Research in-progress.)

The mixture of various non-Orthodox Spiritual Christian immigrants from Russia in Los Angeles could have described themselves by many terms used in Russia in 1900, and upon immigration when they first met other faiths (tribes, bands), such as:

  1. Akhtinsky (from Akhta village, Erevan guberniya)
  2. Baptisty (Baptists)
  3. Buchanatskiy (from Buchanak village, Erevan guberniya)
  4. Darachatskiy (from Darachak village, Erevan guberniya)
  5. Davidisty (followers of David Evseich Bulgakov)
  6. Dukhoborsty (Spirit-wrestlers)
  7. Evangelisty (Evangelicals, Evangelic Christians)
  8. Iconobortsy (Iconoclasts)
  9. Ierusalim (Jerusalem)
  10. Klistovstchina, Khlysty (Whips, Flagellates)
  11. Klubnikinisty (followers of E.G. Klubnikin)
  12. Lyudi bozhii (People of God)
  13. Maksimisty (followers of M.G. Rudomyotkin)
  14. Molokane (Dairy-eaters during Lent, the Great Fast)
  15. Nazarei, Nazareny (Nazarene)
  16. Novomolokane (New Molokans, Presbyterians, Evangelicals)
  17. Obshchei (Communal)
  1. Pivovarovsty (followers of M.P. Pivovaroff)
  2. Pryguny (Jumpers)
  3. Rudomyokinisty (Rudomyokinites)
  4. Salemskiy (from Salem village, Kars Oblast)
  5. Sion, Sionisty (Zion, Zionists)
  6. Skakuny (Leapers, Hoppers)
  7. Staroobradsty (Old Ritualists)
  8. Staroverie (Old Believers) same as previous
  9. Stundisty (Stundists-Presbyterians)
  10. Svobodniki (Freedomites)
  11. Svobodnye Khristiane (Free Christians)
  12. Subbotniki (Sabbatarians, Saturday People)
  13. Tolstoyan (followers of Lev N. Tolstoy)
  14. Veriginisty (followers of Peter Vas. Verigin,
    "large party" of #6 Dukhoborsty )
  15. Vodiyanie (water baptizers)
  16. Zhidovstvuyushchiye (Judaizers)
  17. etc.

To report or imply that all these different immigrating groups (bands or tribes) from Russia are collectively one huge homogenous group of "Molokans" is non-sense, obviously not correct, but has unfortunately happened too many times and continues as a convenience for writers who are either uninformed, misinformed, non attentive (lazy), or intentionally misleading the reader.

The term Iconobortsy pre-dated the term Molokane which preceded the term Dukhoborsty. Lyudi bozhii (People of God) was the self-named term mostly ignored by R.O.C. scholars who favored their heretic labels: Klistovstchina, Khlysty (Whips, Flagellates).

Several of these terms were specific varieties of Pryguny (Jumpers) who came to America — Akhtinsky, Buchanatskiy, Darachatskiy, Davidisty, Klubnikinisty, Maksimisty, Pivovarovsty, Rudomyokinisty, Salemskiy (half Molokane), Skakuny, and others not listed.

Some of the labels (above) have specific meanings when used only among the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki, while the meaning and use of other terms has been forgotten or obscured in their oral tradition. For one example, Ierusalem and Sion are opposites in American Prygun and Dukh-i-zhizniki oral history. Some Klubnikinisty Dukh-i-zhizniki in Los Angeles define Sion as those "saved" by the prophesy of E.G. Klubnikin because they migrated to California from 1904 to 1912 (before the Revolution); and, in contrast, their definition of Ierusalem, is the 99% of Spiritual Christians who stayed in Russia, and are not saved. This is somewhat similar to the definition of "Zion" as used by many Latter Day Saints: "...  to connote a utopian association of the righteous." In contrast, many Maksimisty in Russia believe that those who left for America abandoned "their" Holy Land near Mount Ararat. In short, each conflicting Dukh-i-zhiznik faith (band, tribe ) believes they are "saved" and/or "chosen" in their own way, in their own place and time, and often defined with their own religious terms unknown to other tribes with whom they do no associate. The only obvious commonality is their religious text, which is variously interpreted, as is the Holy Bible.

Individuals could claim or be assigned multiple labels. Except for the term Molokane, many of these labels in America could easily suggest they were a mystical Russian sect, or confused with strange minority faiths often in the national press, like: Quakers*, Shakers*, Mormons*, Jews*, nudes**, the holiness movement (Zion City, House of David, Burning Bush, God's Elect, Bridal Church of the First Born of God, etc.), Spiritualists, or queer (abnormal) radical Pentecostal apostolic religions in North America, nick-named: Angel Dancers, Barking Baptists, Dancers***, Dancing Mania, Flying Rollers, Happy-clappy, High Jumpers, Holy Ghosters, Holy Jumpers, Holy Kickers, Holy Rollers, Hoppers, Jerkers, Pentecostal Dancers, Ranters, Rollerism, Rollerites, Rollers, Tangled Tonguers, Tongue Baptizers, etc.
* Similarly, each of these terms are simple misnomers used by outsiders as short, easy to pronounce, one-word labels for a general collection of somewhat similar or affiliated faiths, which few outsiders understand.
** Nudes — zealot faction that split from immigrant Dukhobortsy in Canada, who maintained an absolute belief in independence from government. Active for a century, they were popularized in international news for nude protests, burnings and bombings, resulting in sensational press and photos of "nude Douks" and "dirty Douks." As early as 1902 these protesters called themselves svobodniki (свободники, free men) which was Anglicized as "Freedomites." By 1918 the Community Dukhobortsy called them goli (nudes). By 1924 the press called them "Sons of Freedom." And they had several divisions.
*** In 1907, the New York Times translated Pryguny as "Dancers": "... the Czar ... in 1904, issued his ukase insuring religious freedom to all, with the exception of the 'Dancers', ... "  Demens could have read this article.
In 1912, a 20-year study was published attempting to list and summarize all religions in the U.S.: The Religious Forces of the United States: Enumerated, Classified, and Described, by H.K. Carroll, Superintendent of the U.S. Census of the Churches, who used census and denomination supplied data. [in-progress]

Russian-speaking immigrants living in urban clusters on the east side of downtown Los Angeles were fractionated by faith, territory, dialect, ancestry, nationality, intermarriage, education, wealth, etc. By broad faith or ethno-confessional group, they were Jews from Russia, Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Protestant, Russian Orthodox, or non-Orthodox-non-Jewish from Russia (includes : Spiritual Christians, Evangelical Christians, Baptist, Sabattarians, Shtundist, Presbyterian, ...). By nationality many were not ethnic Russians, rather people who immigrated from Russia, of mixed ancestry.

Los Angeles newspapers rarely specified which religious group(s) or nationality or territory they were reporting about as "the Russians," "the Russian colony," "the Russian community," "Russian Village," "Russian-town," "little Russia," "Russian Flats," "Slav colony," or the "foreign quarter." In the early 1900s, only two researchers tried to document the differences among the various immigrants from Russia — Sokoloff (1918) and Speek (1921); and this taxonomy continues where they left off, 90 years later.

So who was really Russian? A useful explanation appears in an English introduction "About the Book" for Kurto, O.I. Russian World In China: The Experience Of The Historical And Ethnocultural Coexistence Of The Russian And Chinese People. Moscow: Nauka – Vost. Lit., 2013.
The author uses the phrase “Russian people” to name people who speak Russian language and follow Russian traditions, regardless of whether they are of Russian nationality or not and what country their motherland is. The Chinese citizens often call “the Russian” someone who is actually the Ukrainian, the Belarusian, the Caucasian, the Kazakh, etc. So in China every person from the country which belongs to the Commonwealth of Independent States can become “the Russian”.

O. Kurto avoids using the word “diaspora”. She made a conclusion that all so called Russians living in China now are rather dissociated and don’t like to communicate with each other. All of them have different reasons for leaving their motherlands. And usually they prefer to contact with someone who immigrates to China for the same reason. As a result there is no one single diaspora. On the contrary, there are plenty of different Russian communities. What is more, several independent Russian societies can exist even in one particular city.
We found "Russians" in Los Angeles County reported in print from 1880 to 1950 meant
  1. Jews from Russia in Bethlehem district and Boyle Heights who laer moved to the far west side,
  2. Orthodox Russians in West Los Angeles,
  3. members of the Saint Slava Orthodox Church, East Los Angeles,
  4. people from Russia who lived on neighboring farms in Alta Loma,
  5. Orthodox Russians who lived in 2 areas of San Pedro
    1. on 3rd street between Center street and Pacific blvd, and
    2. on Terminal Island
  6. any of about a dozen tribal faiths of Spiritual Christians from Russia on the east side or south of downtown; and/or
  7. 2 faiths of Spiritual Christian Armenians from Russia in Boyle Heights, Montebello and Downey.

Some of the Orthodox Russians associated as Bolsheviks. Some were called White Russians, which can mean any of 5 different people or groups. In short, the use of the term "Russian" in Los Angeles county was too often very ambiguous, even when referring to the Russian language, of which immigrants spoke several dialects, and old and new forms.

Widespread confusion also results from publicity of Pauline V. Young's theses (1926, 1928), articles (1928, 1929), and book (1932) in which she specifically described and mapped people who use the ritual book Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn', believe in a prophet Maksim G. Rudomyotkin, were Pryguny, yet she called them "Molokans" 890 times in her book and nearly exclusively used that term in articles, lectures in class and public, and in testimony to government agencies. Her use of the the word Molokan in print is about 1500 count. Multiply that many times for her verbal usage and citations of her work. She never visited real Molokane in San Francisco, did not understand, or ignored, the contextual meaning of Postoyannie which she translated as "Steady", yet she cited both Sokoloff and Speek who documented different groups of people from Russia. It appears that Young may have intentionally camouflaged her Dukh-i-zhiznik subjects to protect them.

Another U.S.C. graduate student documented the Orthodox Russians in Los Angeles, then became a professor at Occidental College (Day, George Martin. The Russians in Hollywood: A Study in Culture Conflict. University of Southern California Press, 1934, 101 pages). Though Day copied the Molokan misnomer from his professor Dr. Young, he differentiated among "Molokans" and non-Molokans ("Russian Jews" and "anti-bolshevik political exiles") in his Ph.D. thesis (page 1).

In Los Angeles, all Russian-born groups were represented in the Flats and Boyle Heights districts. Elsewhere in Southern California there were clusters of Jews from Russia, Russian Orthodox, and non-Orthodox non-Jewish peoples from Russians. To date, no comprehensive census study has attempted to segregate or map all these various Russian-born clusters in Los Angeles as was done in San Francisco (Tripp, Michael William. "Russian Routes: Origins and Development of an Ethnic Community in San Francisco," master's thesis, San Francisco State University, 1980, 472 pages.), and a lack of specificity has allowed sloppy historians to lump them together with false labels. In 1918, a Russian-speaking Home Teacher, Lillian Sokoloff, published the only general population survey of immigrants from Russian in her school district (The Russians in Los Angeles). No comparable follow-up study has been done.

A further complication is that descendants of these immigrants from Russia soon divided among various faiths and by assimilation(19) path — brother marries Russian Baptist, sister marries zealous Dukh-i-zhiznik, son graduates college marries "outsider", daughter marries Prygun but attends "American" Christian church, parents divorce and one remarries "in" the other marries "out." To label all these people "Molokans" in faith is obviously not correct. They are descendants of Spiritual Christians from Russia, who were misled to believe they were something else.

Discrimination of American "Holy Jumpers"
  • In April 1904, months before a migration wave of Spiritual Christian settlers from Russia (mostly Pryguny) arrived in Los Angeles (end of May, early June), American “Holy Jumpers” at the Gospel Mission, 739 Kohler street, were persecuted by residents and by Los Angeles police. After many neighbors complained about disturbing the peace at night, a policeman threatened to dynamite their meeting. Though the policeman was reprimanded, the American “Holy Jumpers” were evicted from the building and denied (freedom of speech) city permits to preach on the street. Their location was 1 mile southwest of the Bethlehem Institutions that aided many immigrants, including Spiritual Christians from Russia.
  • During May-June 1904, 8 families of about 40 Pryguny led by Vasili Gav. Pivovaroff arrived in Los Angeles. In a published translated interview by de Blumenthal, Pivovaroff presented his people only as a "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." (Los Angeles Herald, July 17, 1904, page III-6) Pivovaroff did not use any other terms.
  • In August 1904, American "Holy Jumpers" groups were bullied out of San Bernadino and Redlands, California, which was reported several times in California newspapers.
  • In January 1905, Los Angeles newspapers' false reports of a mass immigration from Russia varied by decreasing numbers, while news about American "Holy Jumpers" intensified:
    • Jan 6 — Police rescued a 16-year old Italian girl from the leader of the "Holy Jumpers" sect at 315 South Olive street, 1 mile east of the Bethlehem Institutions.
    • Jan 13 — 300,000 Russian Quakers coming to Los Angeles county (equal to the county population)
    • Jan 19 — 200,000 Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians, Molokane and "Priguni, jumpers" coming to Los Angeles (equal to the city population)
    • Jan 23 — At (Orthodox) Russian headquarters on Western Ave, a secret Russian army of 200 prepared to return to Russia to protect the Tsar.
    • Jan 25 — The Police Chief is investigating complaints about noisy American "Holy Jumpers" disturbing the peace during frequent gatherings at the new Apostolic Faith Mission, 312 Azusa Street (1/2 block southeast of San Pedro and 1st streets), about 1/2 mile southwest of the Bethlehem Institutes.
    • Jan 27 — "Advance Guard of 15,000 ... 'Molokane' ... Colonize Here"... 200,000 total (equal to the city population) ...
  • In February-March 1905, for 6 weeks, 2000 American evangelicals held revival meetings and marched through the slums to save the sinners and wayward Christians. As many as 400+ Spiritual Christian immigrants from Russia could have witnessed the American Christian revival march as more Spiritual Christians arrived from Russia. Bethlehem Institutes hosted the passing revival marchers.
  • In July 1906 the Los Angeles Express reported: ".. “Holy Rollers” contemplate making sacrifices of children, to appease the wrath of God, .. timid women are keeping close watch over their little ones ..."
  • Hostility against charismatic spiritual jumping religions was reported in major California newspapers for decades, re-surging several times, causing the urban Spiritual Christian zealots from Russia to further retrench, hiding their faiths in fear of outsiders.
In 1905 in Los Angeles, those who volunteered to host the announced hundreds of thousands of Spiritual Christian immigrants from Russia must have been aware that many Americans hated "Holy Jumpers," and advised them not to use that term in English. Yet, the most zealous members of the various arriving Spiritual Christian faiths from Russia insisted on calling themselves Pryguny and "Holy Jumpers" in the news for more than 50 years, while the assimilating(19) majority preferred to hide behind the safer false "Molokan" label.

Despite religious discrimination against fanaticism, and prejudice against illegal and unwanted immigrants, the variety of developing and evolving Pentecostal churches in California provided a somewhat welcoming environment for the most zealous Spiritual Christians. Due to Demens' promotion, in their first years they were temporarily compared to the “founding fathers” of America, the “Pilgrims,” for fleeing oppressive Russian Orthodoxy to form religious colonies in the new country and in Hawai'i. In Los Angeles, many Spiritual Christians attended American evangelical Christian services in local churches and tent revivals, praying, raising hands and jumping (even with Negroes), often with translation from English to Russian. Interfaith visits occurred. The most zealous Spiritual Christian immigrants learned that others in this new world also shared their beliefs about manifestations of the Holy Spirit (spiritual baptism, visions, trances, jumping, raising hands, speaking in tongues, healing, casting out demons), Zion, millennium, and plainness (spartan prayer house architecture, worship, and dress). But the rural peasant heritage traditions of the most zealous in Los Angeles clashed with government and urban life, as it did among the zealous svobodniki (Freedomites) in central Canada.

Many wanted to return home where they had freedom from mandatory education, freedom to arrange marriages, freedom not to register (marriages, births or deaths), freedom to sing and jump all night, and clusters of rural villages of relatives with whom they lived simple lives for generations near Mt. Ararat praying for their Apocalypse. Most important for Maksimisty was their prophesy to join both their leader M.G. Rudomyotkin (Рудомёткин) and Jesus Christ on Mt. Ararat or to be buried nearby. What was to be a temporary journey for some, to seek fortune and return home, became exile.

In the Summer of 1906, their most zealous prophet in Los Angeles, Afonasy T. Bezayeff, became alarmed about news of the San Francisco earthquake (April 1906) and 3-day fire. After seeing many drunks and destitute people in the Los Angeles courthouse during his son's court hearing, Bezayeff prophesied an earthquake in Los Angeles, because God was going to punish the wicked. He ordered all Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles to flee to the mountains, similar to what M.G. Rudomyotkin did several times before he was jailed in Erevan Governate (now Armenia). Public health authorities intervened preventing a mass panic. Later Bezayeff was alarmed about the mixing of cultures in Los Angeles and, while standing on a woodpile at a lumberyard where he worked (possibly in the San Pedro area), he declared (prophesied) that all Spiritual Christians must close their services to non-believers and stop contact with the false faiths of the world, yet he never moved from Los Angeles and drilled his followers to conduct spiritual marches to City Hall. He also initiated (via the Holy Spirit) placing the new ritual book: Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' on the alter tables of all congregations in Los Angeles after 1928 as a Third Testament to their Old Russian Bible, while some believed their new religious text replaced the New Testament.

Was it Bezayeff who prophesied to burn all photographs? My grandmother Sasha Shubin reported watching people in The Flat(s) dump boxes of family photos into incinerators, in many backyards. She disobeyed the prophesy and kept her photos hidden for decades. A frenzy burning of histories and diaries also occurred among the zealous German Pietist Jumpers (Heufers) in Tavria. (Citation) Many of the behaviors of Bezayeff, as reported by Berokoff and the press, occurred in Russia and appear similar to symptoms of brain disorders.

In Los Angeles, the Americanizing Spiritual Christian youth needed a neutral unique simple identity for several critical reasons, if they were to stay in the city:
  • to facilitate their assimilation and integration(19);
  • to mediate hostility against them as strange religions and foreigners, not to appear as"whiskers," "enemy aliens" or pagans;
  • to prevent deportation back to Russia, as was done to 100s of "undesirable immigrants" from Russia, mainly Jews and Bolsheviks;
  • to prevent repatriation back to Russia, as was done to over 400,000 Mexicans and their American-born children, 1929-1937, launched in Los Angeles (53);
  • to prevent internment, as was done from 1914 to 1920 to 8,600 Ukrainians in Canada; and
  • to prevent disfranchisement, as was done in 1917 to Dukhobortsy in Canada, and others.
The term “Molokan” was undoubtedly selected for its simple-to-pronounce neutrality and uniqueness by those who chose to maintain their various ancestral religious dogma even though they were not Molokan by faith. The word has no difficult consonants or diphthongs, and is easy to pronounce in most any language.

They did not use the English translation, “Dairy-eater,” which is confusing if used for a group identity; rather, they kept the Russian term which Demens repeatedly used. Explaining that Molokan means "dairy-eater" could enhance association with whiteness, goodness and health. By habit and wide misuse, the "fake news" propagandist definition broadened to include nearly all non-Orthodox immigrants from Russia in America — hijacking the word for a century from the real Molokane.

During their 100+ years in America, self-use of the terms “Jumper(s)” and Prygun(y), and New Israel(ites), diminished rapidly, falsely replaced by "Molokan" and variant combinations phrases that always included the "Molokan" term.. Hopefully, use of the descriptive internationally recognized term Dukh-i-zhizniki will increase in this century, the 2000s, with education. It is expected that most Dukh-i-zhizniki will initially be reluctant, even refuse, to officially accept a label that accurately describes their secret faith. The faith will no longer be a secret. They will have to define it by publicly explaining their secret book, as was done in Arizona in 1915 (cite), again in Young's 1932 book, and again during WWII CO hearings, but since forgotten.

After nearly a century of imposing upon and being offensive to Molokane and Pryguny, users of the book Dukh i zhizhn' should take ownership of this international label, a Russian loan-word which uniquely defines only them. Dukh-i-zhizniki have no need to hide any longer, except those who remain indoctrinated with fear and believe they must obey an old order, from Rudomyotkin in prison to his followers in Erevan guberniya, to hide from the world, while ignoring the fact that they now live in a free country and Rudomyotkin's order for secrecy was made in a different time (about 150 years ago) and place (Old Russia) to people who died long ago.

3. “Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians” in 1902, 1904, 1907

In 1898, the name Christians of the Universal Brotherhood was used by the minority of Dukhobortsy who left the Russian Empire in 1899. The leader of the one-third who left Russia, P. V. Verigin, later incorporated the name Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (CCUB). In 1900, another breakaway group in Canada called themselves the Society of Universal Brotherhood to protest Canadian laws, and to petition to move to the U.S. in 1901.

In 1902, the Rev. Dr. Dana Bartlett met a traveling member of the "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians" which he described in his first book, The Better City (September 1907) on pages 79-81. On page 229 he reported "the Bethlehem building .. for a year .. was the meeting place for the Russian Church, known as the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." On page 76A see photo: "Our Russian Neighbors From the Transcaucasus." In this book, Bartlett only used these 2 terms — "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians" and "Russians" to describe the immigrants.

Upon arrival in mid 1904, the Prygun leader Vasili G. Pivovaroff introduced his first group in Los Angeles as the "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." No other terms were used to identify his faith other than saying that they were from Russia. In December 1904, when V.G. Pivovaroff performed his first wedding in Los Angeles, the press only identified the "little band of Russian exiles" as "brotherhood" (3 times), while using the term "Russian(s)" 17 times. The first Marriage License shows their faith as "the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians".

By mid January 1905, international news from Europe via New York reported that 300,000 Russian Quakers, "Molokanys", were coming to Los Angeles. The county government was facing a tsunami herd of peasants, which would double their county population. The educated, wealthy aristocrat Russian immigrants already established in Los Angeles (Demens, de Blumenthals, Cherbak, and associates), probably by invitation from government, began to advocate for their fellow country men and branded all factions of immigrant Spiritual Christians in California collectively as “Molokane / Molokans” when speaking to the press and governments. These advisers must have known that American “Holy Jumpers” were hated in Los Angeles, evicted from Southern California, and a policeman threatened to dynamite them. Also, they may not have been openly befriended by the more secretive zealous faiths that planned to return to Mt. Ararat. The press was confused about what to call them — Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians? Jumpers? Pryguny? Quakers? Molokane? Russians? All 6 terms were used with various spellings, and occasionally other terms like Dukhobor and Mennonite.

Companies which invested in large agricultural colonies for these immigrants from Russia were confounded as to why they did not behave like organized Germans from Russia (many were Mennonites), and immediately divided into groups and quarreled, causing a farm colony to fail before it could start.
  • Oral history by J.K. Berokoff, reports that in 1904 a mystery woman was insulted while trying to give them land and withdrew her offer.
  • In 1906 in Hawai'i, after journalists reported that the “Molokans” were actually 3 opposing groups, Demens telegraphed that “Molokans” in Los Angeles came from "... 5 distinct provinces, perhaps 15 different localities, and 20 to 25 villages .. strangers thrown together .." The first combined Spiritual Christian farm colony experiment in Hawai'i never started and returned within 6 months.
  • After August 1906 most Molokane, led by those returning from Hawai'i, resettled in and near San Francisco.
  • In 1910 Cherbak organized a meeting of all Spiritual Christians on the Pacific Coast, excedpt Molokane, to help them jointly purchase a ~50 square mile tract, probably in the Santa Ynez Valley (Solvang) for all to settle, as many elders had requested. Though they had the money, Cherbak reported 12 leaders confronting him in Los Angeles resulting in the well-funded huge colony of Spiritual Christians never starting.
  • H.E. Huntington tried to help Spiritual Christians colonize in California, offering up to 30,000 acres, but gave up. Research in-progress.
  • In Arizona there were 4 congregations up to 1920, on more than 8 square miles, and 2 congregations until about 1950.
  • In the 1930s there was a failed effort to unite all in Los Angeles into a bolshaya sobraniya (big assembly, English slang: "Big Church"); only half of the 6 immigrant congregations joined, including none of the Subbotniki or Armenian Pryguny.
  • By the 1940s in Los Angeles, 2 of the congregations that did not join "Big Church" divided, and similar adjacent faith divisions reoccur today in central Oregon and in rural Central California near Kerman and Porterville among the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki.
The trend among Dukh-i-zhizniki is to divide, not unite, wherever they congregate (U.S.A., Australia, Russia, Armenia). Clearly these are many somewhat similar faiths that use the Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn'  and must be described with precise labels and attributes (location, lead elder, origin, etc.) to distinguish their different faiths.
In September 1915 in Los Angeles, Shanin and Kobziv published their first songbook: Пѣсенникъ (Pesennik), По соглосiю Прыгунской Духовной Братстим (Po soglasiyu Prygunskoi Dukhovnoi Bratstim : By agreement with the Jumper Spiritual Brotherhood).

In 1917, V. I. Holopoff, one of the pioneer migration scouts since 1900, entered his religion on a government form as "Brotherhood" with no room to write more; while the Pryguny identified themselves in a petition and letters to the US government as "Spiritual Christians-Jumpers." In 1917 an Arizona newspaper editorial stated:
"Russian religious zealots, called Molokans, or Molokani, .. may be properly termed the Protestants of Russia. They call themselves Spiritual Christians." (Bold added) ("The Molokans," Bisbee Daily Review, June 14, 1917, page 4.)
In 1918, American John Valov reported his religion as "Russian Spiritual Christian" to the Red Cross. This “Brotherhood,” in various forms, published the Dukh i zhizhn' in 1928, and is shown on government letters from 1940 through 1945 (Berokoff, Addenda XVII). After the 1940s the term "Brotherhood" was not used in print. Why? What changed? Fear and/or shame?

After most Molokane relocated to San Francisco in 1906, a tug-a-war over the use of Pryguny occurred in Los Angeles as the younger Americanized generation adopted “Molokan” and/or abandoned their Russian faiths to be American, while a zealous minority trying to publish a religious text transformed into what became opposing and competing Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths, which lacked a label for over 75 years.

The least zealous Spiritual Christians (Molokane, Subbotniki, Armenian Pryguny, etc.), who were marginalized by the more zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki, integrated(19) faster. The term Pryguny was apparently applied publicly to the most zealous, then nearly vanishes in favor of the terms Molokan and/or Russian Spiritual Christian, for all factions, or "Molokan Christian", and eventually to just the single term “Molokan,” with a broad general meaning specific to Southern California.

The "Molokan" label was desired because is was unique, simple, and translated as “dairy-eaters,” probably to project harmless wholesome White Christian Protestant people for the "White Spot of America," Los Angeles, "the best advertised city in the United States." It is strange that this is the only label that these Spiritual Christians insisted must be preserved in Russian transliteration, rather than the English "Dairy-Eater," or more common translation of "milk-drinker," while all other labels are translated, or transformed into more socially acceptable English forms — like "church" for meeting / prayer hall / assembly.

Public signs

The false Molokan label probably began to appear in public view on a main street in 1933 when "Big Church" was moved from the Flat(s) to Lorena Street. Signs at cemeteries also mixed the labels, but did not show Prygun or Jumper in English, only Prygun in Cyrillic. In the past 2 decades Dukh-i-zhiznik elders have been intentionally mis-reading the Russian term Prygun as Molokan in English to alter and/or fabricate a false history for non-Russian literates.

"Big Church"
Click to
Sign facing Lorena street at "Big Church," 1946: "First United
Christian Molokan Church of Spiritual Jumpers"
Photo: Samarin, P.I.
(ed.) The Molokan Review, v1.7, Los Angeles CA, August 1946, page 17.

Click to ENLARGE
The words "of Spiritual Jumpers" are absent in this
1951 photo of the sign on the "Big Church" assembly.

Los Angeles Examiner, September 24, 1951,

After 1933, the label “Spiritual Jumpers” in English only remained in public view on the front sign (above) of "Big Church" (Bol'shaya sobraniya) facing Lorena Street. The building was demolished about 2000 because it was not earthquake safe, and the congregation did not preserve their sign or label probably because they did not feel comfortable/safe with it in public view, and to gain favor with more zealous Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations in Southern California. But the sign on the larger meeting hall farther from Lorena Street lacked the term "Jumper," as if it was a different faith.

Into the 1980s, the Russian term Прыгун (Prygun) remained on the first old cemetery sign (below, left), on 2nd Street near Eastern Ave, East Los Angeles. The "Old Cemetery" did not refurbish or replace their sign which misspelled dukhovnykh khristiyan prygunov (Spiritual Christian Jumpers) on top in Russian. The young zealot generation is afraid to be known, "on display" as some explain. The format of the sign suggests that 2 different faiths, labeled in 2 languages, are combined in 1 display Pryguny in Russian, and Molokan in English — though neither is correct. Since 1928, this had been only a Dukh-i-zhiznik cemetery reserved for the most zealous and honored members.

^ Contents ^
Click to ENLARGE
Sign at "Old Cemetery," 1980, removed soon after this photo.
Photo: Conovaloff, A.J., The 1980 Молокан Directory, Clovis CA, page 252.
                            to ENLARGE
Sign on "New Cemetery" office, 2011.
Photo: Conovaloff, Andrei.

At the newer Slauson Ave cemetery, the Prygun label only appears in public view in Russian on one metal (cast brass) sign (above right), but omitted in the English translation, again showing 2 wrong faiths displayed in 2 languages on 1 sign. The Russian says: Kladbische russkikh khristianskikh molokan-dukhovnykh prygunov = Cemetery of Russian Christian Molokan-Spiritual Jumpers. Contrary to the sign, this cemetery is recorded with the State of California as “Russian Molokan Christian Spiritual Jumpers Cemetery Association, Inc.” Using the words Molokan and Prygun together is like saying dog-cat or banana-apple. Which do you really mean, or do yo mean both? In reality neither faith controls this cemetery. It was purchased about 1939 and controlled only by Dukh-i-zhizniki. There are no congregations of Molokane or Pryguny in Southern California, and if there were, they would not be allowed to buy a plot at this cemetery today because only dues-paying members of the official "mother churches" of Dukh-i-zhizniki can buy a lot.

Sign in Suzdal, Russia

In 1997 and 1999, two American Dukh-i-zhiznik preceptors independently published photos of a monastery jail dormitory museum sign in Suzdal Russia, showing where Maksim Rudmyotkin stayed from 1860 to 1877. Morrie M. Pivovaroff (Kerman CA) made a video of his July 1997 heritage tour to retrace Rudomyotkin's life. In 1999 Daniel H. Shubin (Shafter CA) published a photo of a similar sign he took during his similar heritage tour to Russia in September 1997. Both deceptively presented and/or claimed the Russian word Prygun is read/ pronounced as Molokan in English, as if they intended to fool non-Russian readers. It's as silly as teaching the pronunciation of the word "dog" is to say "cat."

While videotaping the room in a Suzdal monastery where Rudometkin slept, Pivovaroff pointed his camera to a small sign on the outside wall next to the door which clearly read:
Начальник сектов молокан (molokan) Семён Шветов (Shvetsov) 1835-1844 гг.
Начальник сектов кавказский пригунов (prygunov) Максим Рудомёткин (Rudomyotkin) 1860-1877 гг.

Head of the molokan sect Semyon Shvetsov 1835-1844.
Head of the Caucasion sect of pryguny (jumpers) Maksim Rudomyotkin 1860-1877.
He falsely narrated that his "Molokan" martyr Maksim Rudomyotkin stayed in this room, then commented that he could not believe was so nice.

The sign says: пригунов, genitive plural for пригун : prygun. Russian literate viewers could see in the video image that he misread the sign and ignored the man also listed on the sign identified as Molokan, Semyon Shvetsov. I corrected this error among many mistakes when I proofed his video, but don't know if my suggestions and data were edited into the final version of the video intended for his family.

Click to ENLARGE

Later the same year, D.H. Shubin got a photo of a similar sign (above) at the same monastery, which he published in 1999 on page 2 of his Guide to the [Book of the Sun,] Spirit and life with Supplements (253 pages). The image above shows most of page 2 (facing the title page 3), with the sign enlarged to clearly show that the caption in English misrepresents the Russian text in the photo.

The Russian text translated to English:
Chief elder of the skoptsy sects, Kondratii Selivanov, 1820-1833.
Chief of the molokan sects, Semyon Shvetsov, 1835-1844.
Chief of the Caucasian prygun sects, Maksim Rudomyotkin, 1860-1877.
In the caption, as published above, the label prygun for Rudomyotkin is obviously omitted. In his Guide Shubin presents no data about Molokan leader Shvetsov or skoptsy, rather focuses primarily on Rudomyotkin, whom he intentionally falsely claims is of a different faith than what is posted on the museum sign or shown on official archival documents which Shubin reproduced and translated 13 times in his chapter 7. Throughout his Guide Shubin repetitively mis-guides the reader by extensively using a false label in his first 6 chapters (pages 1-87), and last 3 chapters 8-10 (footnotes on pages 159-253).

Among the 68 pages of Shubin's translated archival documents from Russia regarding Rudomyotkin (chapter 7, pages 88-155), the term Prygun(y) (пригун(ы)) appears 13 times; and the term Molokan appears only once as an error, added in small script on the last document (pages 154-155), a death notice.* All these Russian records report Rudomyotkin was a Prygun, and the "chief spreader(24) of the 'Spirituals' (o dukh) or 'Jumpers' (prygun) sect in the Caucasus" (pages 90-91).
* If one foolishly reads the death notice literally, that upon death Rudomyotkin abandoned his Prygun faith and converted to the Molokan faith, as edited, then all his writings must be edited to show that at the end of his life he accepted the Molokan faith as better than his Maksimist faith, and abandoned his "new rituals"  to accept the Molokan rituals and holidays. Therefore his published writings in the 1928 Kniga solnste, dukh i hzizn' and his prayers are void, and his followers must do the same. Or, you can accept that the word Molokan added (written) in small script was a mistake; the added word should have been prygun, based on all the previous documents shown in chapter 7.
In contrast, the term Molokan(s) appears 108 times in Shubin's Guide, including 18 times joined in phrase (Molokan Jumpers), compared to Jumper(s) appearing separately only 3 times (pages 5, 34, and 51), ignoring the archival documents. In the discussion text and footnotes, the authors of the Spirit and Life are falsely presented 36 times more often (108/3 = 36) with the wrong faiths than their actual faiths — 97% of occurrences (108/111 = 0.973). Also, the Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life is mentioned 76 times, and Rudomyotkin 487 times (333 by name, 154 by "MGR" citation) nearly twice per page (487/253=1.93) on average.

If a comprehensive index is added with corrections for labeling bias, translation, and irregular and missing citations, this book can become a good study guide for and about English-speaking Dukh-i-zhizniki.

Readers beware! Are these 2 Dukh-i-zhiznik teachers (preceptors, front-row speakers, bearded elders) — Pivovaroff and Shubin — intentionally misleading their students, confused about their religious history and identity, both, or something else? Their own evidence shows they are blind to the real identity of their spiritual leader.

4. Is Molokan one faith, many faiths, an ethnic group, white people from Russia, or a non-Russian nationality?

Answer: historically all of the above, depending on who is using or misusing the term, when and where. The context of the term should help readers to interpret which meaning is implied. After a century of misuse in North America the Russian term “molokan” has unfortunately lost it's original meaning in most contexts, which must be restored to make sense of the history of Spiritual Christians and to intelligently discuss them. It's like saying only in Southern California and Oregon dogs are cats, but in Northern California dogs are dogs. Or, in Southern California and Oregon the word bananas means apples, but in Northern California bananas are bananas. Why is that? Because in Southern California and Oregon the descendants of the Spiritual Christian Dukh-i-zhizniki do not know enough of their history to know the difference, or don't want to know the difference, or don't want to discuss the issue, or are emotionally incapable of dealing with facts, or something else.

In Old Russia, Molokan was a single, non-Orthodox religion the original faith (Definition 1, below). The word was sometimes used to describe any sectarian (Definition 2) or anyone suspected of having sectarian characteristics (Definition 6). After 1900 in Southern California American English, it was falsely broadly used to label all immigrating non-Orthodox (sectarian) faiths from Old Russia and their descendants, an ethnic group and a different family of religions that opposed the Molokan faith (Definition 4). After 1930 these mistakes were transferred from the U.S. to the Soviet Union and Turkey where the most zealous expanded it to label themselves a non-Russian nationality (Definition 5). After about 1980, the most popular definition in Southern California and Oregon was falsely narrowed to mean only the Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths (Definition 3).

The misuses and abuses of the term are very confusing and should be corrected to correspond with the original meanings properly used in the 1800s and earlier, before the label and original identities were corrupted in North America and exported. And the term Dukh-i-zhizniki should be used when referring to the faiths with used the book: Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life).

6 Definitions used for the term "Molokan"
  1. Original Faith (CORRECT) — Molokan is the original Russian religion led and/or founded by Simyon Uklein, and labeled about 1765 as a "dairy-eater" heresy by the Russian Orthodox Church. Nearly all congregations reunited since 1991 are members of one worldwide organization headquartered in Stavropol province, Russian Federation, with one main U.S. congregation in San Fransisco, California and an affiliated congregation in Sheridan CA. No other Molokan congregations exist in Norh America. People who are members of congregations affiliated with the Souiz dukhovnykh khristiane — molokan (S.D.K.M.), Russian: “Union of Spiritual Christian Molokans” (U.S.C.M.), Союз духовных христиан — молокан (СДКМ), are real Molokane.

  2. Many Faiths (WRONG) — The "Molokan" term became an easy-to-pronounce "catch-all" category used to refer to all Spiritual Christian immigrants from Russia in North America. In Russia catch-all terms are sekt, molokan and kwaker; but in Canada the catch-all term is Doukhobor. In Russia, Spiritual Christians coveted the Molokan reputation and claimed the name, while the Orthodox decreased creating a new name for each sect and reused familiar names. Upon emigration to North America, many faiths were incorrectly called "Molokan," "Russian Quaker," and "Russian Mennonite" among other terms, in the press, and most of the assimilating(19) members either did not know their own identity, or preferred that name and history instead of their own embarrassing history and translated Russian labels. In Los Angeles, the most literate assimilated(19) youth, who filed incorporation papers for congregations and organizations, had more control to choose legal names in English devised to deter investigation and deportation, and protect their careers, while appeasing the lesser assimilated(19) uneducated elders. In Canada, Doukhobors were extensively tainted by a breakaway minor group of protestors who had been shown in press photos in the nude, and tried to migrate to the U.S. to join with other Spiritual Christan faiths. Though in the 1920s the breakaway protesting faction in Canada identified themselves as svobodiki (свободники : "free men" later called Freedomites), the most sensationalistic press persistently mislabeled them "Doukhobors," except for those who moved to Los Angeles who were then mistakenly called "Molokans." To avoid confusion, use the original Russian faith name, if known, or the original general terms "Spiritual Christian" and/or dukhovnye khristiane.

  3. Dukh-i-zhiznik Faiths (WRONG) — In 1928 in Los Angeles, an amalgamated cluster of faiths was formed which all use a common religious text titled: Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn'. These faiths did not have a proper label until 2007. Before 2007 they falsely used, and continue to falsely use, the term Molokan to define only themselves, while dissing real Molokane with an epithet, often pejorative, Russian nickname: Postoyannie (literally: constants, steadfast, unchanged) (17)

  4. Ethnic Group (WRONG) — People who descended from the many faiths, who were falsely told, or assumed by lineage, that their heritage was "Molokan" instead of "Spiritual Christian," repeated the mistake by telling their descendants that they too were "Molokan" by heritage. They did not teach their descendants a Molokan religion because they were not Molokan by faith and knew very little, if anything, about the actual Molokan faith. This unique ethnonym spread to thousands who assimilated,(19) intermarried, and joined other faiths in America. They shared the simple one-word false label and fragments of oral history about a few Russian cultural objects (songs, chay, loshka, rubashka, kosinka, ...), foods (borsch, lapsha, kheb, nachinki, chai, ...), familiar terms (babuniya, dyeda, sobaka, voda, zdarova), etc, as a diverse pretend ethnic group with many conflicting faiths. Descendants of Spiritual Christians should merely state the original Russian name of the faith or group of their ancestors (if they know it), who were collectively all dukhovnye khristiane, Spiritual Christians. When they do not know the exact faith, or village of their ancestors, it is most accurate for these descendants to state something like:
    1. "my ancestors who immigrated from Russia were of a Spiritual Christian faith, not Orthodox," or
    2. "my ancestors came from Russia, but were not of the Orthodox faith, more like folk Protestants" or
    3. "my ancestors were non-Orthodox people in Russian who called themselves Spiritual Christians," or
    4. "my ancestors were non-dukhobor Spiritual Christians from Russia," or
    5. "my ancestors were indigenous folk Protestants in Russia who immigrated before the Revolution, and some were not ethnic Russians."
    6. If you say, "I'm a Russian-American", most will assume you are Orthodox.

  5. Non-Russian Nationality (WRONG) — Internal passports were issued in Europe and Russia since the early 1700s to control people and land ownership. Different from western ID's, the Russian papers also included home ownership, children under 14, military status, nationality and/or religion. This data was used primarily to issue land privileges and collect taxes and rents. Spiritual Christians raised for generations in the homeland, where internal passports are essential, are very aware of the legality of their social status, class, ethno-national identity and it's restrictions. In Russia the nationality label to control undesirables was lifted in stages, in 1974 and 2000; but in Turkey the religion identity remained on passports.(16, page 5) Those isolated in the Caucasus and Turkey declared their own non-Russian "nationality" of non-Orthodox non-dukhobortsy from Russia, with their "own religion," and this label was incorrectly assigned by the surrounding nationalities and faiths. Their self-identity was probably boosted for out-spoken zealots by disinformation published the new (1928) Kniga solnstse, dukh i zhizn'. In these isolated areas, localized, non-official identities were created, which were transported into Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union. It is a way to put a positive spin on the fact that they historically were undesirable or suspicious non-Orthodox, officially sektanti or heretics. There was no Russian passport nationality category of "Molokan" among the 120-150 official nationalities in use.(16, page 14.)

  6. Molokan-like (WRONG) — Anyone with imagined characteristics of a "Molokan" — any sectarian, Russian Quakers, Russian Mennonites, Stundists, Russian Baptists, Russian Presbyterians, heretics, vagrants, lazy workers, undesirable immigrants, wimps, pacifists, cowards, slackers, noisy jumpers, etc. These and similar definitions were used by writers and journalists using their artistic license to redefine or distort terms to suit their story. It is up to the reader to figure out what the author implied.

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Ty chey? Ты чей? Who are you? (and your parents, and uncles, and grandparents ... ?)

The wide and long-term misuse of the words "malakan/ Molokan" produced broad-spectrum religious and political arguments about "who is a malakan or Molokan."

A liberal(18) use allows anyone, whether of descent from the Former Soviet Union or not, to mistakenly declare they are “malakan or Molokan” though they may be descended from a mixture of nationalities, intermarried, joined another faith, water baptized, atheist, served in the military, eat pork/or and oppose the faith of their ancestors. It's almost like saying: "On St. Patrick's day, everyone is Irish," or: "At the malakan/ Molokan Picnic, everyone is malakan/ Molokan." In other senses, the word is as confusing as American Indian, who are not from India, may be on 2 continents (North America, Asia), and comprise any of over 500 tribes (bands), each with their own dialect, land and customs. People from all walks of life and faiths dress up in refined Russian peasant clothes standardized in America, and parade as "Molokans" at a gathering, then go home, take off the clothes and transform back to their American, or Australian, national identity. The show is over. Similarly in Australia, many Dukh-i-zhizniki speak the English language with an American accent at home, and Australian accent among Aussies.

On the most zealous conservative(18) extreme, users of the Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' only consider “their” (наши : nashi) people, or selected members of “their” congregation and closely affiliated congregations, who profess their own group-accepted beliefs, behaviors, and appearance, to be their mistaken version of "Molokan." Outsiders are forbidden, or bullied, no matter how they dress or talk, who their father is, even other Dukh-i-zhizniki.

Between these extreme population definitions, about 5000 households in the U.S.A. and Australia (~20,000 descendants, assuming 4 per household) were willing to be listed in an English language unpublished 1985 Молокан Directory, though more than half were neither practicing Dukh-i-zhizniki nor Molokane by faith. People falsely affiliated with the "malakan / Molokan" label should be several times larger than that estimate, in the year 2000, perhaps 60,000+. For the current relative populations in the Former Soviet Union, multiply by at least 10 up to 100 times (1-2 orders of magnitude).

Because zealots protested that ne nashi (outsiders) were listed in the mis-titled 1980 Молокан Directory, in the mid-1980s, an unreported census tally of American congregants was attempted by William Alex Federoff, editor of the U.M.C.A. newsletter for 30 years with his sons. He was the only person who sent me a letter stating he did not want his name or family listed in the 1980 Directory. He gave no reason, but when the book was first distributed at the grand opening of the Resident Center in Los Angeles, Federoff briefly confided in person that he wanted to be listed in the next edition. To satisfy zealots and himself, Federoff proposed that the next directory should only list nashi, Dukh-i-zhiznik congregation members in good standing, not anyone who wanted to be listed, especially those unclean (nichistye : нечистые) people who married out, eat pork, joined other faiths, served in the military, etc. He requested membership lists from all congregations, probably to print his own directory, was rejected by many and the project dropped.

When I asked my father, the presbyter in Arizona, for his list of paid members, I learned that only a few of the many adherents (attenders) ever paid annual dues, because the most zealous majority officially claimed that they, by their tradition, did not believe in "membership" or worldly lists. Maybe they just did not want to donate, as many did not pay their CPS fees during WWII; while they invoked their family tradition by stating that the Book of Life is a spiritual list known only to God. Due to competing temporal and spiritual fears that government will intervene among the variety of Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths, it is probably impossible to ever systematically collect a census list, hence all population counts are somewhat educated guesses.

Molokane and Pryguny in the Former Soviet Union have no trouble listing members, keeping log books, and some post a membership roster on their assembly wall. Many Dukh-i-zhzinik congregations now keep a private (secret) membership roster to contact members, and a donation ledger to maintain their non-profit legal status to avoid taxes.

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"Can you be malakan/ Molokan and Christian at the same time?"

This seemingly silly and ironic question was discovered in the early 1970s by Mike M. Podsakoff, Fresno, while attending the U.M.C.A. summer camp at Hume Lake, Fresno County, in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. Podsakoff grew up in Fresno, and moved to Los Angeles when he got an athletic scholarship to play basketball. He was hired to be Athletic Director of the L.A.-U.M.C.A. (Gage Ave.) where I first met him in the late 1960s.

In the early 1970s, the L.A.-U.M.C.A. added more classrooms and the very popular club attendance nearly stopped during construction. To boost attendance for eligible singles, about 1974 Podsakoff founded what became the "Our Gang" singles club, for which I did the promotion. The club was such a success, that I was hired to be U.M.C.A. Athletic Director, and Podsakoff was appointed to the Recreation Committee with Willie Steve Evseff (Alhambra CA) as chairman, and Jay Kalpakoff (Huntington Beach). We worked well together.

During that time, Podsakoff told me about what appeared to be a paradox. He recently discovered a question that always immediately divided U.M.C.A. people, Kerman or Los Angeles, young or old, into 2 opposing groups. Half answer yes, half opposed, and they debate. He said it was hilarious to watch because each time he got the same results — divide and debate — which did not make sense. Podsakoff's instructions:

  1. Walk up to any U.M.C.A group already in a conversation (standing in a parking lot, sitting at a picnic table or at summer camp; at a wedding meal; at someone's house; anywhere) and interrupt them with this question:
  2. "Can you be Molokan and Christian at the same time?" — then walk away, or be quiet, but always watch them react.
  3. The group will immediately divide into pro and con sides, and debate, even continuing after you left.They never ask what you mean by the question, or your opinion. Each immediately had their own opinion and voiced it.

It proved to be a fascinating repeatable experiment revealing social polarization. We performed the experiment several times in Los Angeles. Each test confirmed his previous results. Whatever the group was talking about stops, they divided into "for" and "against" Molokans being Christians, and discussed their differences, often passionately, as we backed away grinning.

How could they always disagree about being Christian, and why? 45 years ago Podsakoff proved the phenomenon existed, but could not explain it. I basically understood the division, had no vocabulary to explain it, and did not further investigate. Today, I can explain this paradox. 

Podsakoff found a litmus-test in which the Dukh-i-zhiznik population immediately self-classified into 2 groups — (1) practicing (religious), and (2) social-cultural (secular). Which group was correct? They both were. Each had different polar points of view on many dimensions. For dimension examples, see Variety of Dukh-i-zhizniki.

Today the "Podsakoff paradox" can easily be explained using this Taxonomy.

  • Practicing (religious) Dukh-i-zhizniki are more ethnocentric and indoctrinated, typically believed that they are a chosen few true Christians among "666 false faiths." Most demand that their kids marry in (nashi).
  • Social-cultural (secular) Dukh-i-zhizniki, who have a broad exposure to Protestantism (from media, education, assimilated(19) relatives, ne nash friends, etc), have experienced that Dukh-i-zhizniki are not typical American Protestant Christians, and are probably non-Christian sects or cults. They occasionally enjoy the culture and fellowship of old like-minded friends, food, and cultural reminders of their roots in Old Russia. Many do not demand that their kids marry nashi, more often preferring they abandon their confusing ancestral faiths and assimilate.

Both polar kinds mixed at the L.A.-U.M.C.A. in the 1970s in approximately equal numbers.

The 2 groups (social and practicing) did not clash much because before the 1980s the U.M.C.A.s in Los Angeles and Kerman were self-forbidden ground for the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki. The social-secular Christian faction, many of them Y.R.C.A.-ers ("Jack Greeners"), dominated as teachers in Los Angeles since 1938. There were some who could straddled both realms, like the late "Little Al" Shubin, but in limited scope.

During the 1970s, Mike Podsakoff, like many, was bothered by the lack of Christian behavior at the U.M.C.A.s and among most of their "Mother churches." Many who grew up among Dukh-i-zhizniki and gave years of service at the U.M.C.A.s were attacked for being "too American Christian." At least one was ostracized, many were verbally attacked, and many voluntarily left to join "American" churches which have credentialed pastors and professionally managed service organizations. P

Podsakoff also summarized the amateurish management of our Dukh-i-zhiznik communities with honest humor.

"Oh, you say you have a toothache? Let's go see dyad' Ivan in Montebello. He is a really qualified smart elder with the longest and biggest beard. He sings and jumps a lot. He is a head front row elder on Sundays, and drives a rubbish truck on weekdays. But, on Saturday afternoons he does dentistry on his back porch. He'll fix your teeth real good and cheap. Let's go see him this week to get your teeth fixed, and drink chai."    

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Zealots feared the Gage Ave L.A.-U.M.C.A.

Before 1980, the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki never entered the L.A.-U.M.C.A. grounds (Gage Ave, East Los Angeles) because of their prophecy that the "devil danced on the roof." Children of the zealots would gather on Eastern Avenue, across from the west U.M.C.A. parking lot entrance, to socialize among themselves while not disobeying their parents' orders to not step inside the fence. Drinking vegetarian* beer and wine was common, evidenced by the many bottles left on the curbs and thrown in the parking lot. I helped Paul Zolnekoff fill a trash can with bottles and cans one summer after Wednesday Chai Night.** Less often, yet common, a car radio/stereo was stolen, car antennae broken, marijuana and/or cigarettes smoked, used condoms discarded, etc. I few guys with hot-rods would peel out or burn rubber on the street, rather than go inside, and once I witnessed tire smoke fill the assembly hall from Jack "Yashka" Kalpakoff's car.

 * Yes, hee-hee, a joke. A few of the most zealous elders were vegetarians, which is why meatless (postni) dishes are served at large meals (holidays, weddings, funerals, christenings).
** To promote attendance for the youth "Wednesday Night" meeting, tea and pastries were served, and lead elders were invited to speak. These Chai nights typically attracted huge crowds, hundreds of youth.  

Whenever a Dukh-i-zhiznik zealot would accuse the L.A.-U.M.C.A. of indoctrination (being a "church" or teaching American Christianity), it was denied; and the timing of L.A.-U.M.C.A. services did not dare overlap with Dukh-i-zhiznik congregational services, to be sure they ended Sunday School with plenty of time for families to attend their "Mother churches."* Actually, about half the families that frequented the L.A.-U.M.C.A. only attended the L.A.-U.M.C.A. and went home afterward, while the "practicing" half of Dukh-i-zhizniki took their kids to their "mother" sobrania. A few also attended American churches on many Sundays to hear sermons in English. Though the most zealous branches of Dukh-i-zhizniki historically objected to the U.M.C.A. komitet, they were politically placated by offers to join the Religious Committee, which was said to remotely control the organization via participation of recognized elders, some seated at the altar table (prestol).

* "Mother church" may have been retained from the Bethlehem Institutes' use of that term for it's main building on Vignes street.

The religious political balance shifted when the L.A.-U.M.C.A. (Gage Ave) was sold (mainly due to fear of Mexicans) to purchase the current H.H.-U.M.C.A. (Stimson Ave, Hacienda Heights) in a White area in their axial eastern sector, radiating closer to the new neighborhoods of the 3rd and 4th generation in East Los Angeles County. Families who moved south of Los Angeles were confronted in the 1970s with neighborhood integration facilitated by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (sections 8 and 109) by which people of color began moving into their white suburbs, resulting in a White-flight within Los Angeles County, and to Orange County.

In the 1980s, the more zealous practicing Dukh-i-zhizniki who wanted an exclusive private school for their assimilating grandchildren, began forcing their more civil social (secular) brethren away (as many joined the new Heritage Club) from the H.H.-U.M.C.A to dominate the property, and eventually purged their newly acquired territory and grammar school of perceived heretics. A series of intense purge attacks occurred to assure that the "Jack Greeners" (Heritage Club) and anyone who supported the new "Re-Formed" (Prygun) movement in Oregon, would stay away, or be secondary guests, to their new social order within the property. The new H.H.-U.M.C.A. became nearly a totally "spiritually clean" place, void of a "devil on the roof," and Dukh-i-zhiznik zealots could appear with little or no stigma. Sunday School attendance dropped by 90% from its peak in the 1960s. Clubs and Hume Lake camps were banned. Youth were now required to wear kosovorotki (boys) and kosinki (girls) as as Dukh-i-zhiznik Molokan Elementary School (D.M.E.S.) and chulok molodoi sobranie ("Young Church", youth assembly, young peoples meeting) continued, mostly replacing the former activities of the traditional Sunday School and "Wednesday Night Church."

If tried in San Francisco, the Podsakoff Paradox could not be duplicated. Real Molokane would not divide and debate. Those asked would probably all stare at the person asking the silly non-sense question, and/or say: "Of course we are all Christians;" and, probably give the questioner a lesson in Christianity.

Here's testimony from a fellow who grew up in a mixed marriage, and was persecuted by American Dukh-i-zhizniki for being ne nash and at school for being Russian. He questions the hypocrisy of his father's heritage faith, and abusive Christians anywhere. Between two worlds and outside both, by Rasputin's love child, (7/22/2009), 42 comments. (Backup copy.) Such abuses are more common than he knows.


The mistaken use of the term "Molokan" for an ethnic group or nationality must stop and be restored to the original term (dukhovnye khristiane, Spiritual Christian), or the pejorative category term used by the Russian Orthodox Church (sektanti, sectarian). The Russian word Molokan should only refer to members of the registered faith. Since 1980 real Molokane are not allowed to join the H.H.-U.M.C.A.

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5. Three Faiths Today

This is a summary and review to facilitate identifying major factors of 3 of the Spiritual Christians faiths — Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki. For more detail, see 11. Classification below.
  1. Molokane is Russian for the heresy “dairy-eaters,” named by Russian Orthodox Church (R.O.C.). These dissenters actually refused to fast, and could have been called "non fasters." The   Russian word molokane (молокане) derives from the root word moloko (milk, dairy). The heresy was first named in the 1760s in central Russia. The word has a secondary meaning of sucker, a nursing infant completely dependent on its mother, immature; and this double meaning (pun) could explain why the term was chosen, to insult the people as nursing (immature) babies in their faith. Today their main international organization is a registered religion, the Souiz dukhovnykh khristiane — molokan (S.D.K.M.), Russian: “Union of Spiritual Christian Molokans” (U.S.C.M.), Союз духовных христиан — молокан (С.Д.К.М.), website:, The current organization was founded in Moscow in 1990, and transferred about 1994 to Kochubeevskoe, Stavropol' territory, Russian Federation. The only Molokan congregation in the U.S. is in San Francisco, and a semi-active congregation is near Sheridan, north of Sacramento CA; and both are members of the Russian S.D.K.M. After the 1917 Russian Revolution, a Molokan congregation of refugees existed in Harbin, China; and some of those migrated to Australia, where from about 1940 to 1960 there was a Molokan congregation in Sydney, Australia.

  2. Pryguny is Russian for the R.O.C. heresy “leapers, jumpers” (from Russian: prygat', прыгать = “to jump”). Some groups in north Russia were called skakuny (скакуны, leapers) and by other labels. The Prygun faiths in Russia perhaps partially organized in Central Russia due to  contact with religious enthusiasm of German faiths along the Volga River, then further coalesced in the 1830s in south Ukraine with many mixed immigrant sectarians who were further influenced by neighboring German Protestants, particularly Heufers (Russian: Gyupfers ; Springers, Jumpers). The heresy label of Pryguny was not recorded before about 1856 (per Breyfogle oral statement), though similar beliefs and charismatic jumping existed for centuries in many cultures around the world. In 1865 artist Vereschagin visited "Leapers" in the Caucasus and was among the first to personally document them, and sketch a prophet-presviter. Since no centralized Prygun organization exists, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union some congregations in Russia joined the S.D.K.M. to gain registered status. In North America, at least 4 Prygun congregations remained active into the 1950s (Arizona Selimski to 1947, San Francisco "Holy Jumpers," Mexico, and immigrants from Persia/Iran 1950-60). The U.M.C.A. youth organization in Los Angeles followed the Prygun holidays, including holding Rozhestvo (Birth of Christ on January 7, and/or Christmas on Decembr 25) services, until stopped by Dukh-i-zhizniki. Concurrently a new (4th) congregation of Prygun immigrants from Iran (called "Persians") who established in 1950 in East Los Angeles were forced to transform to a Dukh-i-zhiznik faith by the end of the decade. In Los Angeles in 1932, 3 Prygun congregations combined to form Big Church, which was opposed for decades by zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki; officially because the new united congregation had an elected board of directors (komitet, комитет); unofficially, because many Big Church founders and members, though they allowed the Dukh-i-zhiznik religious texts to be placed on their altar table, remained Molokane, Pryguny or were of various other faiths and affiliations (like Y.R.C.A.) for which they were shunned, bullied and/or hated by the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki.

  3. Dukh-i-zhizniki is Russian for “people who use the book Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn', in short: Dukh i zhizn'. Dukh-i-zhizniki are much more diverse than the previous two faiths, hence are new religious movements that retain traits from many former faiths transferred to new versions of a faith dependent on new religious texts. In the later 1800s, precursors of this cluster of faiths emerged among Pryguny and attracted membership from other sects and nationalities beginning in Erevan guberniia (now Armenia). One leader/presbyter (presviter) of a congregation of Pryguny was Maksim Gavarilovich Rudomyotkin (M.G.R.), who became a mystical martyr while imprisoned from 1858 to his (alledged) death in 1877. He rejected all other Prygun and Spiritual Christian faiths, creating his own rituals and theology. His notes and liturgy, written while he worked as a scribe in exile, provided the main body of text for ritual books assembled in America. While in seminary jail, Rudomyotkin knew co-prisoner Nikolai Ilyin, founder-leader of Yehowists who published his own religious texts which replace the Bible for Ilyin's followers.

    In the early 1900s, immigrants to America, who revered M.G.R. like a Saint, formalized his “new ritual” by publishing a variety of edited censored documents through 4 to 7 revisions (per oral history) until a final version was published in 1928, undoubtedly with the guidance of Professor Young. The first published version titled Dukh i zhizn' had a soft leather cover, and was similar in appearance to a Bible. The Final 1928 version was titled Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life), for worship as a sacred 3rd Testament, placed next to their Old Russian Bible on their altar tables along with new song and prayer books. Some believed this book replaced the New Testament, and some wanted it to replace the entire Bible. In the 1930s, edited copies of this book were exported to coreligionists in the Former Soviet Union and Turkey, where it was accepted by Maksimist Sionist, and Noviy israil' congregations, but did not unify them. Conflicting interpretation of the new ritual book caused divisions among users around the world. These are the only new religious movements in the world which exclusively use these ritual books. Most Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations and organizations misuse Molokan (malakan?) in their title, and often state their membership is limited to Pryguny or Jumpers, while rejecting these precursor faiths along with all other Spiritual christian faiths, and instruct their members to not attend services of the Molokane, Pryguny, Subbotniki or any another other "false faith." Some ban attending other Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations for a variety of reasons (below). Rules for acceptance of guests and members vary widely by congregation, elders within a congregation, location and time.

Less than 1% of Molokane have ever witnessed charismatic religious jumping, and fewer have seen or even read any part of the book:Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn'. If allowed to attend a Dukh-i-zhiznik service, Molokane are often intimidated, sometimes disgusted, by zealous Dukh-i-zhiznik spiritual jumping, raising hands, shouting, forced jumping, prophesy, verbal bullying, using non-Biblical ritual books, and singing songs from other faiths, and non-Biblical songs with Russian and American folk-melodies. In contrast, those accustomed to the fast shout-singing, jumping, prophesies, and mystical theatrics of Dukh-i-zhizniki, are typically bored among reserved Molokane limited to the Bible and slow singing with no physical aerobics or spiritual and mystical outbursts. These are very different faiths and cultures. Unfortunately one pretends to be the other, fooling themselves and outsiders.

In Summer 1992, a 30-year anniversary of the 1962 resettlement of Old Ritualists and Spiritual Christians from Kars Turkey to Stavropol territory, was celebrated in the town of Novokumskoe. Local government funded the event which was covered on local TV news. Two simultaneous separate outdoor meetings were held for the old-Orthodox and non-Orthodox. The old-Orthodox (Nekrasov) held open services, a parade, and performed religious and folk songs and dances in colorful dress. Spiritual Christian Dukh-i-zhizniki from Turkey dominated the non-Orthodox meeting and meal. No parade or performances. All Molokane in Russia were invited. When the newly elected senior Molokan presbyter, T.V. Shchetinkin, arrived from Kochubeevskoe, he was not recognized any more important than a common "guest" and seated in the third row. Years later, after studying the Dukh i zhizn', and meeting others who opposed Molokane while insisting that they were the true Molokane, Shchetinkin declared that they are not Molokane, but he had no label for their faiths. Now you have an accurate label: Dukh-i-zhizniki.

6. New Label : Dukh-i-zhizniki

In 2007, a new and unique label, incorporating the book's short name Dukh i zhizn', was unanimously accepted by 50 congregations of all 3 of these faiths in Stavropol'skii krai, Russia, as a fair descriptor for use in a world directory of Spiritual Christians, in-progress. These labels were accepted not at a huge meeting, or conference, but during personal visits with individual congregants alone or in small groups, over a period of 3 months that Summer. Due to the antagonistic social nature of most Dukh-i-zhizniki, they rarely all assemble in one meeting nor unanimously agree in a large group. Occasionally members of 2 different congregations met together with me. The 3 most zealous Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations in Stavropol'skii krai avoided contact with me, as is their policy with all non-members of their congregations. The Dukh-i-zhiznik label appears to be the best fit for their lexicon. (Send comments to <Adminstrator @>) When congregations that use the Dukh i zhizn' were presented a choice of the 3 labels, they chose the Dukh i zhizn' identity despite the many differences and splits between congregations of Dukh-i-zhizniki.

Dukh-i-zhizniki are less united and more diverse in liturgy than Molokane, and fragment more. Only Dukh-i-zhizniki exclusively use the book Dukh i zhizn' for religious rituals and faith guidance. Before 2007, Dukh-i-zhizniki had no distinct label and often referred to other Dukh-i-zhizniki as “our people” (Russian: nashi : наши) or “believers [in the Dukh i zhizn']” (veruschy : верушы) when Molokane or Pryguny were nearby.

The inside-outside (us-them) distinction is typical among many peoples around the world. For one example, members of a native North American tribe used the autonym Nēhilawē (those who speak our language) to identify themselves, but among outsiders they used the white man's label: "Cree." In Arizona, what outsiders call Navajo Indians, members call themselves diné "people of the earth" and "man."

When no Molokane are nearby, Dukh-i-zhizniki tell outsiders they are Molokane. Other terms used by journalists include “extremist” and “maximalist.” Some call themselves Maksimisty (Russian for “followers of Maksim (Rudomyotkin)"), but not all Dukh-i-zhizniki are Maksimisty, and many despise that term. Some call themselves Davidisty, Noviy israil', or Sionisty. All alternate labels were rejected in 2007 in Stavropol province, Russia, in favor of their common identity with their book Dukh i zhizn', hence: Dukh-i-zhizniki.

In the U.S. the term Dukh-i-zhizniki is new, strange and too exact for those who were indoctrinated to hide from the worldly pork-eating non-believers. For these and other reasons, which they are afraid to reveal or cannot explain, Dukh-i-zhizniki will probably continue to falsely mislabel their faith and institutions as “Molokan,” or “True Molokan,” though they are not and never were Molokane by faith. Most will continue to say my/our “Molokan faith/religion" unless probed to reveal their actual secret faith. It may take a generation or more to establish the accurate term : Dukh-i-zhiznik. The irony is they claim they want religious freedom, but only to be freely dishonest with their identity, and/or to deny or insult the freedom of others. No elder of a congregation is brave enough yet to openly discuss this error, or change their congregation and organization titles or descriptions. Most in the West are blocked with fear and shame, which causes some to be angry that they have been involuntarily outed with an accurate label because they lack confidence of being accepted as a normal Protestant faith, given all the facts.

These three religions (Molokan, Prygun, Dukh-i-zhiznik) have a common origin with other Anabaptists, Russian sectarians, Spiritual Christians; iconobortsy (iconoclasts); they all use the Russian Bible with Apocrypha; and pray, sing, and read in Russian; dress or appear similar; but their holidays, rituals, liturgy, services, songs, and openness vary significantly and separate them into distinctly different faiths. Members within and between congregations today may be relatives, neighbors, friendly or unfriendly, intermarried, yet differ in behavior and belief, sometimes hostile and/or secretive. If a marriage is allowed between members of these denominations (or an outsider), one usually must convert to the faith of the congregation performing the wedding, then tolerate scrutiny, or abandon their heritage faiths. During the past century, most chose to entirely or partially abandon their heritage faith(s), mostly due to the confusions explained here.

7. Analogies

This section is for Dukh-i-zhiznik readers indoctrinated with the wrong terms, or convinced that whatever their grandfather or elders said, must be correct, without question. Scholars and journalists also take heed. A comparison of several classification systems below illustrates how honestly choosing a simple descriptive method and words greatly aids understanding which group is which. As Christians you must decide for yourself how deceptive you want to be with the identity of your faith(s). In other words, as a Christian you must decide how much you want to lie. The same goes for scholars, journalists, and all other faiths.

1. Cars — To argue ownership of the brand-hijacked label "Molokan," some Dukh-i-zhizniki boast that they are the newest model of Molokane, like a modern car compared to an antique. Some say they are the "True Molokans." They omit, or forget, that their religious predecessors were from many different faiths, tribes and nationalities, and should claim to be improved newer versions of non-Molokan faiths. Anyway, they say the Molokane are like the Ford Model-T, but never modernized — steadfast, unchanged, original. But what happened to the Model-T? Competitor Chevrolet emerged as a separate company (faith) with faster cars (like Pryguny) which used Buick parts (borrowing from other faiths), produced many newer models with automatic transmissions (Malibu, Impala, Camaro, Corvette, Tahoe, Suburban, ... like Maksimisty, Sionisty, etc.) which are like the many divided faiths among the new religious movements of Dukh-i-zhizniki. We recognize these as “cars” (Spiritual Christians) but each model is different in parts, shape, performance, and attracts different buyers (members). Why don't people who own Corvettes call them Model-T's because they are the newest most modern version? Why aren't all cars called Model-T's? Why can't you just get one car part to fit all cars? This sounds silly, but Dukh-i-zhizniki still call themselves the antique term Molokane, which they never were, nor were most of their ancestors, while hiding their actual original terms (Davidisty, Noviy israil', Pryguny, Sionisty, Khlysty, ...) Why don't they call themselves by earlier labels before Molokan : Iconobors, Orthodox, Bogomils, etc? Why didn't they choose their own new and improved name?

2. Fruit What if all "fruit" was locally called apples, and each tribe in the world only had one kind of fruit which they called "apple" because it was the only word they had, or knew, for fruit? They did not know the word "fruit." In the tropics a tribe had long curved yellow apples (bananas). In Hawaii their apples were huge grown on spiny bushes (pineapples). In the Republic of Georgia their apples are thin skinned and orange (tangerines). In central Russia their apples are green (simirenko). Each tribe did not know about the others and only one word was needed as long as they remained isolated in their regional village, and did not travel or see imported fruit. But in the large import market in Europe, where fruit is sold from around the world, each fruit needed a different name to tell them apart. If the tribes refused to learn the international terms, they had problems communicating. If they wanted a banana or grape, they would have to describe which kind the long yellow curved apple, or the small round juicy apples in a bunch. When describing fruit, this seems silly, but it is the way most Dukh-i-zhizniki want to be. 

3. Middle Asia — "Middle Asia should not be confused with the Central Asia or Inner Asia." The maps show that different definitions include or exclude vasts areas of Asia. Depending on who is writing and when (Russian Empire, Soviet Union, United Nations, Islamic tribe, professor, etc.) and topic (ethnicity, geography, religion, language, history, climate, politics). The various terms from different languages describing this territory have vastly different overlapping meanings. Which name is correct? All are correct to the writers, but the readers can easily be misled if they do not know what area was actually intended by each writer, expecially when no map is provided. When Maksim G. Rudomyotkin wrote about Tika (his "land of refuge"), he most likely referred to the area which was originally generally called "place of the Turkic people's" or "Land of the Turks" («Туркестан», Turkestan). The Persian name is Turan: "the land of the Tur." In general it meant land East of the Volga. As more knowledge was documented and dispersed in maps and books, and people educated, it should be easier to specify this area. Yet, many mistakes are easily made unless one provides a map.

4. Jews — 100s of books and articles have been published debating "Who is a Jew?" Dukh-i-zhizniki consider themselves somewhat Jewish, eating kosher-like, sharing somewhat similar holidays. Changing the word "Jew" in the introductory text of Who is a Jew? (edited in, see archived text) to "(ethnic) Molokan" produces a broad awkward statement no more definitive of "ethnic Molokans" than for ethnic Jews:

Who is an ethnic Molokan Jew is a basic question about Molokan Jewish identity and considerations of ethnic Molokan Jewish self-identification. The question is based in ideas about ethnic Molokan Jewish person-hood which themselves have cultural, religious, genealogical, and personal dimensions. … The definition of who is an ethnic Molokan Jew varies according to whether it is being considered by Molokans Jews based on normative religious statutes, self-identification, or by non-ethnic-Molokans-Jews for other reasons. Because ethnic Molokan Jewish identity can include characteristics of an ethnicity, a religion, … the definition of who is an ethnic Molokan Jew has varied, depending on whether a religious, sociological, or ethnic aspect was being considered. … The issue has given rise to legal controversy, … There have been court cases … which have had to address the question.

Similarly by substituting a few words in the description of ultra-Orthodox Haredi, a fair description for Dukh-i-zhizniki is generated:
Dukh-i-zhizniki are Haredi Judaism is not an institutionally cohesive or homogeneous group, but comprises a diversity of spiritual and cultural orientations, generally divided into a broad range of Dukh-i-zhiznik Hasidic sects, ... These groups often differ significantly from one another in their specific ideologies and lifestyles, as well as the degree of stringency in religious practice, rigidity of religious philosophy and isolation from the general culture that they maintain.

Haredim are currently primarily located in Southern and Central California; Australia; Stavropolskii krai, Russian Federation; and Armenia Israel, North America and Western Europe.

Dukh-i-zhizniki differ from Haredi in that owning a prosperous business is a socio-religious status being blessed with wealth. (Israel Prods Ultra-Orthodox to ‘Share Burden’, New York Times, June 6, 2013)

5. Mennonites — "Mennonite" is also misused, and almost a useless term because there are more than 60 varieties. Let's pretend we know which variety is meant. By changing the word "Mennonite" to "ethnic Molokan," changing "church" to "assembly," adding "informal affiliation" and decreasing the numbers in the summary text of Mennonite, Organization Worldwide (, another awkward definition results which gives the reader no better resolution than the original term: "Spiritual Christian."

The most basic unit of organization among ethnic Molokans Mennonites is the assembly. There are hundreds of ethnic Molokan assemblies Mennonite churches, many of which are separate from all others. Some assemblies churches are members of a conference, others are formally and informally affiliated. Some, but far from all, regional or area affiliations are associated with larger national or world affiliations. Thus, there is no single authorized organization that includes all ethnic Molokan assemblies Mennonite churches worldwide.

Instead, there is a host of separate assemblies churches along with a myriad of separate affiliations with no particular responsibility to any other group. Independent assemblies churches can contain as few as part of 1 family or more than a 1000 members. Similar size differences occur among separate affiliations. Worship, assembly discipline and lifestyles vary widely between progressive, moderate, conservative, Old Order and orthodox ethnic Molokans Mennonites in a vast panoply of distinct, independent, and widely dispersed classifications. For these reasons, no single group of ethnic Molokans Mennonites anywhere can credibly claim to represent, speak for, or lead all ethnic Molokans Mennonites worldwide.

An Anabaptist historian advises: “... it is meaningless to use the same term ‘Mennonite’ to describe differing spiritual traditions whose fundamental values were often in direct conflict with each other” (C.F. Plett, The Story of the Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church, 1985, page 6). This Newspeak process (social control by language reduction) was coined by George Orwell in 1949 to describe a repressive society, characteristic of Dukh-i-zhizniki.

6. The Church of Jesus Christs of Latter-Day Saints
— Most outsiders call them "Mormon" not L.D.S. because they use the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Let's change Book of Mormon to Dukh i zhizn' and see if that analogous definition makes sense:

The Word of God

Missionaries are not handing out copies of the Dukh i zhizn' Book of Mormon all over the world, even as you read this. So what is this secret book? If it’s given out for free, why do so many
Dukh-i-zhizniki members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints count their Dukh i zhizn' Book of Mormon as one of their most valuable possessions? What kind of book can cause so many readers to change their lives, their minds and their hearts? What kind of book can answer life's seemingly unanswerable questions?

Dukh i zhizn' Book of Mormon is the word of God, like the Bible. It is Holy Scripture, with form and content similar to that of the Bible. Both books contain God's guidance as revealed to prophets as well as religious histories of different civilizations. While the Bible is written by and about the people in the land of Israel and surrounding areas, and takes place from the creation of the world until shortly after the death of Jesus Christ, the Dukh i zhizn' Book of Mormon contains the history and God’s dealings with the chosen people who lived in Erivan governate the Americas between approximately 1850 and 1877 600 BC and 400 AD, and their descendants [who faithfully wait for Rudomyotkin's return.] ...

Most Dukh-i-zhizniki would probably agree, though many disobeyed Maksim Rudomyotkin by leaving Armenia (Erivan governate), with the above text while insisting they have nothing to do with the false faith of L.D.S., or any of the 666 false faiths that Rudomyotkin warns them to avoid. In contrast with L.D.S., Spiritual Christians in/from Russia had no missionary program for the past 100 years, though their oral histories report that many converted up to that time. In America, there are several families of Dukh-i-zhizniki who joined the L.D.S. church and today call still themselves Molokans. In the mid-1970s, a widowed Mormon woman joined the L.A.-U.M.C.A. Ladies Auxiliary, was elected president and honored as "Mother of the Year" — Jean M. Popoff-Batchkoff (1922-1990).

7. Pancakes
— How can one explain and describe pancakes (olad'i), waffles (vafli), and crepes (bliny)? Are they three different things, three kinds of pancakes, or are they all the same single thing? Or, in secret, are they 3 types of bliny? The first is a breakfast dish, the others were designed to be desserts. Do they really need different words? Pancakes, olad'i, are the original version of a thin fried batter bread, flap-jacks. But original Russian olad'i are small and thick, and in America they are a different huge thinner pan-cake. The same batter ingredients can be modified, the form enhanced in a mold, cooked on both sides with impressions, and made thicker and more intricate, but it no longer looks or feels like a pancake even though the batter is nearly the same. Why are those called waffles, vafli, and not pancakes? Add a little milk, kefir, and butter and the same batter can be cooked into very thin versions. Those are called crepes, bliny, with many varieties. Are these also pancakes, waffles or something else? Should bliny claim the title of pancake because they are the most varied — rolled, folded, stuffed with many fillings — and so sacred and fancy that they should not have a name? If they are all basically the same material, why not one name for all? If you called bliny waffles, or waffles pancakes, would you be telling the truth? In this sense, olad'i, vafli, and bliny, are as different as Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki.

pancakes, olad'i
waffles, vafli
crepes, bliny

What if you asked for blintsy with tvorog (dry cottage cheese), varenia (jam) and smetana (sour cream), but got oladiki instead? You'd probably get a similar reaction telling a Dukh-i-zhiznik that Pryguny and Molokane in America celebrate Christmas, or most American Jews do not eat kosher (koshur).

8. Pizza — To be fair to debaters, here's another classification example. Though similar to pancakes (round, flat food), pizza is named differently, as a class with sub-classes. If you ask for pizza, you need to specify schema and subschema — size (small, medium, large, ...), thickness (thin, thick, ...), shape (round, pan), ingredients (many toppings) and style (deep pan, cheese in crust, pretzel crust, ...) — 1000s of possible combinations. Such a multi-variant classification system is useful among neighboring diverse Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations, each distinct from the others.

9. Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations — Because Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations tend to be clustered but separate and fragmented, members identify them (somewhat like pizza above) with a combination description of location (state/province, city, district, street), original village, presbyter and/or nickname.

In contrast, there are no cities/villages in the world with divided Molokan congregations (except Novokumskoe, Stavropol territory, R.F., after 2005), so they are simply identified by current location (state/province, city/village). The 3 remaining Molokan congregations in Tbilisi cover different regions of the metropolis and often co-meet.

To simplify the naming of Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations in Southern California in the 1970s, the persistent (postoyannie) editor of the U.M.C.A. newsletter, W.A. Federoff, announced his own naming system — by street only. Federoff argued against what he considered vanity surnames (Buchnoff, Nazaroff, Mendrin, Samarin, Shubin, etc.), archaic village labels (Akhta, Melikoy, Romanovka, Prokhladnoye, etc.), all modifiers (Big, Old, New, Persian, 605, Blue Top), and would only use what he considered to be "neutral" street names. He enforced his new rule by only publishing his new labels in "his" newsletter. So what my babuniya (grandmother) Shubin called her Akhtinskii sobranie, and most called Samarin sobranie, Federoff re-nick-named "Percy street church," which is now called "Pioneer street church" after moving to Whittier from Boyle Heights. Bolshoe sobranie and "Big Church" became "Lorena street church." Now a generation later, most all Dukh-i-zhiznik youth are trained to use the current street nicknames for their "churches" and never learned they were actually meeting or prayer halls (assemblies) with historic village roots. The American street labels erased part of their semantic Spiritual Christian heritage from Russia, hence reducing identity with the Russian Empire and language, replacing Russian terms with local American geographic markers. Eric Arthur Blair would be proud.

I sincerely hope this Taxonomy will encourage historically misguided youth to restore Russian identity back to these mislabeled Spiritual Christian faiths in their generation.

10. Indigenous peoples — In America the native peoples were mislabeled Indians because early explorers thought they arrived in India. In Australia the natives are called aborigines (Latin: from the original). Outsiders (ne nashi to natives) use these 2 simple words to refer to 100s of distinct cultures with different languages. The people among themselves have 100s of words to accurately identify their tribal/band members and other tribes/bands. With a little education anyone should learn to identify the fewer faiths of Spiritual Christians in North America and Australia.

11. Defining "cancer"— In March 2012, the National Cancer Institute met to evaluate the problem of “overdiagnosis.” Problems were identified and recommendations made to the National Cancer Institute for consideration and dissemination. On 29 July 2013 the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released 5 recommendations. The second suggestion was widely broadcast in the news:
Change cancer terminology based on companion diagnostics. Use of the term “cancer” should be reserved for describing lesions with a reasonable likelihood of lethal progression if left untreated. There are 2 opportunities for change. First, premalignant conditions ... should not be labeled as cancers ..., nor should the word “cancer” be in the name. Second, ... remove the word carcinoma.” ... revise the taxonomy of lesions now called cancer and to create reclassification criteria ... (Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment in Cancer: An Opportunity for Improvement, JAMA)
Science-health reporter Lisa Aliferis immediately summarized this news for KQED, PBS Northern California (Cutting Down on Cancer Overdiagnosis: National Panel Weighs In, The California Report: State of Health, 29 July 2013.) Her section sub-headings apply to this taxonomy.

Reserve the word “cancer” for real cancers — Reserve the word “molokan” for real molokane
“We need a 21st century definition of cancer — “We need a 21st century definition of molokan

My wife Tanya, a medical doctor in Russia, was surprised to hear that American medical staff call benign tumors "cancer." In Russia there is no such confusion caused by mislabeling tumors. Similarly in Old Russia, before immigration, the variety of Spiritual Christians accurately labeled themselves, until touring reporters, journalists, colonization agents and social scientists got involved. Though most were trying to help these peasants immigrate and assimilate(19) and/or make a commission for themselves, in the process they misunderstood and scrambled the identities of the immigrants, ignoring how the peasant defined themselves. Now the descendants of those peasants are still confused.


Many classification examples come to mind. Hopefully the above analogies will illustrate, to even the youngest and/or least educated readers, how choosing the right words can most accurately define these 3 different Spiritual Christian faiths. By following the KISS-principle, the classification system chosen is simple, so each Spiritual Christian religion has a unique one-word original descriptive Russian label, historically known around the world — Molokan(e), Prygun(y) and Dukh-i-zhiznik(i) — ; and all are part of a larger group called dukhovnye khristiane (духовные христиане : Spiritual Christians). 5 words are all you need.

If the Dukh-i-zhizniki in Los Angeles county, who falsely call themselves Molokans, remain isolated in East Los Angeles county, never attend services in San Francisco or the  F.S.U., only rely on the Dukh i zhizn' and oral tales for history, they can easily believe they are whatever they called themselves within their own closed society. The same applied for those isolated for decades in Turkey and Armenia. Their hijacked definition can continue as long as they isolate their congregation from education, media (newspapers, books, Internet, TV, radio), outsiders, all worldly contact. If you are one of "them" and have been reading this taxonomy, you are now contaminated with new worldly information — oops — ;-). Don't tell the guy sitting next to you in sobranie, he might insult you, or chase you out. See complain letters (to be added).

8. Diaspora "Molokan" label created by 2 people

All the different Spiritual Christian faiths from Russia arriving in Los Angeles in 1905 were all falsely only called "Molokans." Who did this and why?

All evidence points to 2 very educated influential people born in Russia, who lived in Los Angeles and invested more than a decade each trying to help these immigrants — Captain P.A. Demens (1850-1919) who initiated the cover up, and Dr. P.V. Young (1896-1977) who continued it widely in print.

They never met, and worked on different goals. Demens was most active from 1898 to 1910, about 15 years before Young arrived from Chicago in the mid-1920s to enter graduate school at the University of Southern California (U.S.C.), where her sociologist husband accepted a teaching position, and both remained as professors.
  • Demens advocated immigration, integration(19) and colonization from 1898 to 1910, and died in 1919, at least 5 years before Young arrived. He knew and admitted they were not all Molokane, but only used that single term.

  • Young focused on research, documentation, and delinquency; then advocated for education, behavior change, and assimilation(19) from 1924 to 1950, to avoid discrimination and deportation. She incorrectly claimed that Pryguny and Molokane were the same, and exclusively used the false Molokan term in English for all Spiritual Christians from Russia in Southern California, despite acknowledging in the Russian language that they were Pryguny.
Captain Peter A. Demens

(1850-1919) (Russian name: Pyotr Dement'ev, Пётр Дементьев, pen-name: Tverstov) Research in-progress.

Demens' involvement with Spiritual Christian colonists from Russia was extensive for at least a decade, beginning about 1898. Luring them to Los Angeles from Canada appears to have been his idea and personal project; and, he alone was most responsible for first falsely and widely presenting all Spiritual Christians who migrated to Los Angeles from Russia as "Molokans." Despite many self-reporting that they were a "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians," Pryguny, Dukhobortsy and other faiths, the simple false label propagated by Demens, the local Russian expert, spread and stuck, until corrected by this Taxonomy.

Before the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians arrived to settle in Los Angeles, there was xenophobia among civic leaders and the Chamber of Commerce who extensivley advertised for "pious Anglo-Protestants." Therefore Demens probably used the shorter and false code switched label, rather than the English "dairy-eater," to help dispel fear and doubt about a huge immigration wave to Los Angeles of illiterate poor peasant Southern-Europeans. He whitewashed(25) them for promotion as one huge group of the most desirable all-literate healthy, hard-working citizens,White Protestants, not Russian Jews, neither anarchists nor fanatics nor pagans, neither terrorists nor revolutionaries — apolitical, clean Christians who do not drink, smoke, gamble, or prostitute. Actually, they were neither one faith group, nor all desirable, and many were fanatics; but there was a group of about 35 real Molokane among the mixture of early arrivals (perhaps from Manchuria) who were quite educated, not peasants, well-dressed (neck ties, coats), shaven and presentable. He was only available to embellish them for 2 years, to the end of 1906 when the authentic Molokane resettled in San Francisco, after Hawai'i.

Demens was perfect for this sales task. He was Russian-born, educated, spoke 4 languages, well-traveled, well-read, impulsive, aggressive and successful in business, politically active, and a prolific writer. His family was well established in Los Angeles society. The oldest of his 5 kids was presented in local sports news as a star high school football player, who then attended the University of Southern California (U.S.C.). Mrs. Raisa Demens and her daughters were active in women's clubs. Peter Demens was THE local pundit about Russia in Los Angeles newspapers, interpreting foreign politics and wars. Though born and christened Orthodox, his humanitarianism was Tolstoyan. He knew Russian and American culture, and was most eager to help guide his fellow countrymen. He was not shy to ask for help from the most wealthy tycoons.

Born in central Russia, both of Demen's parents died when he was a child, and he was raised by relatives. He was educated in St. Petersburg, joined the military, married, and tried farming and politics in Russia, but was not satisfied. While attending the 1878 Paris Exhibition he met a relative who was living in Florida, U.S.A., who praised America and Florida. In 1881 Demens sold his land in Russia to move to Florida intending to farm, then opened a lumber mill with 2 partners in Longwood, Florida, near Orlando, where he was elected mayor, and ran for the Florida Senate. He bought out his partners. In 1886 he acquired the failing Orange Belt railroad with money from Canadian investors. Though many difficulties Demens is credited with building the railroad to St. Petersburg, Florida (which he named), erecting the first hotel, railroad pier and station, and registering plans for the village. By 1888 when most work was complete, bills and investors paid, Demens profit was only $14,400 ($370,000 in 2015 using CPI ).

He had first-hand experience with discrimination, racism and nationalism on 2 continents. In parts of Russia, hatred for outsiders, dissidents and foreign faiths was common. In the U.S., he first settled in the Deep South where nationalism and bigotry towards outsiders and Blacks (Negroes) was most intense, and lynchings of Negroes was most common. He learned that American Whites hated coloreds and foreigners, especially immigrants from south-eastern Europe (including Ruskies).

In 1889 he moved to Asheville, North Carolina, a resort town recommended by his doctor to rest, but again he began to operate a wood planing mill. From 1891 to 1895, after an economic recession when prices were relatively low, he intended to move his family to San Francisco. When they stopped in Los Angeles, he decided to stay there. In the Los Angeles area he soon invested in a steam laundry in the Flat(s) and another planing mill, and used the profits to buy a citrus grove in Alta Loma (now Rancho Cucamonga), in west San Bernadino County, outside of Los Angeles City water-rights.

From 1893 through 1898 an economic depression affected most of the country, most severe in the industrial east, caused by two related economic panics in 1893 and 1896. Though unemployment increased two to five times in various regions of the country, Los angeles was not affected much until 1897, due to even growth, organized labor, independent businesses, a good wheat crop in 1893, and increased exporting during the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895).(45)

In October 1893 Demens attended the 2nd National Irrigation Congress held in Los Angeles for 5 days. Compared to the first congress, this event was larger, supported by the federal government, and attended by a broader variety of more than 500 experts, businesses, legislators, lawyers, and foreign delegates — the largest ever held in the world. Discussions included proposals to federally fund the irrigation of the last available arid land in Central California, and west of the Missouri River east of the Rocky Mountains (eastern Montana, Wyoming, Colorado) for "settlement ... by Uncle Sam's bona fide children and none others ... there is bound to be a colossal accumulation of wealth in the irrigated belts ... the greatest civilization of this age ... ." Reports included detailed data on irrigation prospects in California and Arizona. 98% of potentially irrigable land in the U.S. was unused — about 1 million square miles.

At that time " ... Southern California ... irrigation has shown the greatest results and developed more rapidly than in any other part of the world," which buffered the region from economic recession. Riverside was the wealthiest city in the U.S. due to irrigation. Demens recognized irrigation farming as a great opportunity for himself and other immigrants from Russia, who also bought farms near his, forming a Russian colony about 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Demens' Russian neighbors (Cherbak, Kryshtofovich, Tolstoy) will form the expert committee to aid the Spiritual Christians who will arrive a decade later, beginning in 1904.

The Russian delegate to the 1893 congress was Count Constantin Comodzinsky, St. Petersburg, the representative engineer of the Russian government to the World's Fair held that year in Chicago, which Demens probably attended. Comodzinsky presented his paper: "Irrigation in Russia." After the congress he toured Southern California, probably with Demens who maintained many contacts in the Russian government with whom he networked on 2 later trips back to Russia, in 1896 and 1907.

For decades Demens, under his pseudonym Tverskoi (meaning "from Tver oblast", his home province), submitting articles published in Russian and English language newspapers in the U.S. and Russia. For his Russian readers Demens promoted life in booming Southern California, where Progressivism dominated politics, and the economy thrived due to "location, climate and resources." For American readers he submitted editorials about Russia and Europe to the local press, particularly about the Sino-Japanese War and World War I.

In 1895 Spiritual Christian Dukhoborsty burned guns simultaneously at 3 locations in the Southern Caucasus to protest war. Hundreds were arrested, thousands relocated, of whom about half died. Lev. N. Tolstoy intervened to advocate for humanitarian freedom for all Russian citizens, especially the persecuted heretics. Demens probably learned of Dukhobor tragedies from correspondence and Tolstoy's publications.

In 1895 he published a book in Russia: America and the American System of Government, and in 1896 returned to Russia thinking he could help the Tsarist government.

In 1898 he learned that Dukhobortsy were leaving Russia, and invited them to Southern California while a sugar tycoon tried to invite them to Hawaii, but plans were already made for settlement in central Canada beginning in 1899. He was very disappointed that Dukhobortsy did not get a better place to settle than central Canada nor a government which kept its promises to them, which caused the zealots (nude free men : goli svobodniki) to protest. Demens only appears once in early Canadian Dukhobor history because he protested directly to those coordinating the Dukhobor migration to central Canada, but all the historians and journalists focusing on Doukhobors in Canada missed the story that Demens was actively recruiting Dukhobortsy to the U.S. and 3 visited him in Los Angeles.

In 1899 Dukhobortsy were allotted 773,400 acres (1208 sq. miles) in what is now Saskatchewan where they built 61 villages. By 1930 more than 8,800 Dukhoborsty arrived, with 40+ Pavlovtsty. (Maps by Jonathan Kalmakoff, Doukhobor Genealogy Website)

In 1900 Demens had a city house at 3217 S. Grand avenue (near Jefferson), and by 1909 moved to 1149 W 28th Street (near Hoover). Both residences were about a half mile from the center of the University of Southern California (U.S.C.) attended by his children. His main house was on his farm, 40 miles east of Los Angeles, which is now a historic site.

In mid January 1900 at his house in Los Angeles, Demens hosted 3 zealot scouts who broke from Dukhobortsy (later called Svobodniki : free men) trying to leave Canada. He escorted them to possible colonization lands and employment starting with sugar beet farming in Southern California, then ranches for sale in Central California thorough Washington, lumbering jobs, and sent them to homestead land agents in the Dakotas. He apparently began his next book when they left.

In December 1900, using his pen-name Tverskoy, Demens published a 109-page book : Saga of the Dukhobors (Духоборческая эпопея) from St. Petersburg to inform Russians about the Dukhobor migration to Canada. He is sad that they are struggling in the snow on sparse land, and promoted California (35 times), where he has lived for 8 years, and testifies that the weather and farming are great. He did not mention that only 1/3 of the most zealous, followers of Verigin burned guns in 1895, 400 arrested and jailed, and about 4000 exiled, as many as half dying due to starvation and sickness, before Lev. N. Tolstoy intervened. 

About 7,400 of the 20,000 Doukhobors were sponsored to Canada which was aggressively soliciting immigrants as farming colonists to populate its central and western territories due to fears that the U.S. will claim territorial land in what is now British Columbia. To protect it's westward expansion, in 1885 Canada quickly built a railroad to the Pacific Ocean.

In April 1900, international news and the 3 largest daily newspapers in California reported that 10,000 "Mollicans" in Russia, pending Tsar's approval, were ready to follow the Dukhobortsy to Canada — 35% more than the 7,411 Dukhobortsy who already arrived. A year later (July 1901) the number of "Molokanen" reported coming to America increased to 40,000.

About August 1900, when scouts representing non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians traveled to Canada, Demens was determined to divert this next wave of immigrants from Russia, away from Canada to Southern California. While their first "official" scouts (I.G. Samarin and F.M. Shubin) planned to join Dukhobortsy in Canada (Berokoff, page 19), the second group of "independent" scouts (Agaltsoffs, Holopoff, Slivkoff) were probably personally invited to Los Angeles by Demens, though Demen's name is absent from Berokoff's history.(Berokoff, page 20)

In 1901 disgruntled Svobodniki in Canada began to protest against the newly elected Canadian administration which changed their immigration agreements. In 1902 they organized a well publicized march of 2000 (including many non-zealot Dukhoborsty) to complain against the laws of Canada regarding civil registration (birth, marriage, death, marriage), citizenship "oaths"* and government schools; and they wanted their leader P. V. Verigin to come from Russia, and/or for them to return to Russia. (* They did not know that affirmation could be substituted for oath.)

Demens became very concerned that factions of Spiritual Christians in Canada were misguided by their advisers and complained to their guides and to Lev N. Tolstoy. He tried for about 5 years to bring them to America from Canada, but relatively few came. Some Svobodniki petitioned U.S. President T. Roosevelt to allow them to enter, but were not successful.

In December 1902, P.V. Verigin arrived in Saskatchewan, Canada. In 1903, the first of many nude protests by zealous goli svobodniki (nude free men) began in Saskatchewan, Canada. By 1918 Verigin announced that what immigrated as Dukhoborsty to Canada, were completely divided into 3 distinct major groups, and he asked for police protection against the "nudes" (injunction against harassment, restraining order) which was ignored or denied.
  1. Independent Dukhobortsy, those with little allegiance to Verigin, signed for land, took oaths of citizenship, attended public school, etc. Verigin judged them to be marginal Dukhobortsy at best.
  2. Community Dukhobortsy who followed Verigin to British Columbia, beginning in 1908, as the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (C.C.U.B.). The largest group. Now continues as the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ (U.S.C.C.)
  3. Goli (nudes, 1st label) or Svobodniki (free-men, 2nd label) protested against the worldly Dukhobortsy and government, and were renamed "Sons of Freedom" (3rd label) in the press by 1924. Then and descendants now, most affirm they are "true Dukhoborsty" in spirit. Verigin rejected them as his followers because they protested against the C.C.U.B. and destroyed many buildings. Now they are nearly extinct, and many descendants joined or merged with the U.S.C.C. to maintain a "Doukhobor" identity.
In Canada, the agitation of the Svobodoniki relative to other "Doukhobors" parallels the behavior of Dukh-i-zhizniki in America relative to other Spiritual Christian groups. Zealots in both countries believe they are the "true faith" and soon (by the 1920s) hijacked the historical label as their own, in the press and in their oral history. Research in-progress.

If the non-Dukhobor Spiritual Christians would have chosen Canada instead of obeying Demens, many more could have emigrated with financial support from Canada for travel, large land allotments and military exemption for 99 years; but they would have to sign for their land as individuals, which they did with few initial exceptions in the U.S.A.(44) One can speculate about the possible interaction among the most zealous individuals from each immigration group if they all met in Canada. To understand the following humor you need to imagine combining the histories of zealot Spiritual Christians in Canada and California.  
  • Would the zealous prophet T. Bezayiff have formed a hybrid tribe of nude jumping Svobodnik-Maksimist protesters marching to Zion, or back to Russia?
  • Would a hybrid congregation of community Dukhobor-Pryguny place the Zhivotnaya kniga and Dukh i zhizn', and Bible on the table with Bread Salt and Water?
  • Would Klubnikin lead a pokhod to Krestova?
  • Would there be a United Spiritual Christian Association — U.S.C.A.?
  • Instead of watching football on TV after sobranie, would assimilated Dukh-i-zhizniki be watching hockey?
  • Would Molokane and Pryguny have their own choirs performing at the U.S.C.C. Union of Youth Festivals?
  • Write your own possible outcome....
By Spring 1904 the first group of non-dukhobor Spiritual Christians immigrated directly to Los Angeles, led by V.G. Pivovaroff. In Summer 1904 Demens' colleague C.P. de Blumental reported in the press that they called themselves a "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." In December, the first wedding was registered, also identifying the faith as "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians." No other label was used, not Molokan, not Prygun, not Sionist, not Davidist, not Noviy israil', not Maksimist, etc.

"By 1904, 1,600 motor vehicles cruised the streets of Los Angeles. The maximum speed limit was 8 mph in residential areas and 6 mph in business districts."(55) The Auto Club of Southern California was organized in December 1900, and began mapping roads in 1906. The Ford Model T began production in 1908.

In 1905, zealous Svobodniki who split from Dukhobortsy were denied to mass migrate to California, though many later moved to the U.S. as individuals and some lived in Los Angeles, probably camouflaged as Malakane.

In 1905, Demens learned that the next group of non-dukhobor Spiritual Christians from Russia were much more divided than Dukhobortsy, and a larger faction were zealots, more like the Svobodniki. Probably to appease worried government officials and to direct them away from Los Angeles, he pretended they were one group, with a simple label — Molokans — a single word, a snappy catchphrase, crisp, brief, and short.

If he could have separated the immigrants, as he might have done with employees, into their own tribal and skill groups, perhaps he could have been more successful at managing them. But he probably did not have enough time to analyze them as they quickly arrived. Perhaps the more educated and better dressed Molokane, particularly John Kurbatoff, may have been recognized by Demens as most qualified to lead the first Molokan Settlement Association. Most of the arrivals were a different class than Kurbatoff's group, obviously peasants and illiterate.

Politically, Demens probably realized that White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (W.A.S.P.s) would be confused to hear the truth, that these immigrants from Russia were mixed dukhovnye khristiane (Spiritual Christians) from Russia, similar to Dukhobortsy, mostly Pryguny, Klubnikinisty, Maksimisty, Pivovarovtsy with minor groups of Molokane, Subbotniki, Stundisti, Sionisty, Noviy israeli, and others, from up to 25 villages in 5 districts in Russia, who never met until they arrived in Los Angeles. To help the reported tens of thousands of incoming immigrants that he worked so hard and long to bring to Los Angeles, Demens needed to quickly dispel fears that they will overwhelm the city. He needed a simple marketing hook, and a plan to divert them away from Los Angeles to places where they were welcome in huge numbers.

Demens accomplished an amazing feat. He convinced thousands of immigrants from Russia to avoid Canada for Los Angeles, to stay or be relocated to their choice of land(s) for their own agricultural colon(y/ies). In Los Angeles he organized a Russian-speaking immigration committee composed of at least 4 well educated and influential people already known and respected in Los Angeles (Konstantin and Verra Blumenthal, Anton Cherbak, Dr. Kryshtofovich, and others). For settlement aid he got agent status from President Teddy Roosevelt, and networked with local charities, especially the The Bethlehem Institutes (Bartletts). For financing and land procurement he solicited major bankers, land agents and tycoons in Southern California (I.W. Hellman, Senator W.A. Clark, H.E. Huntington, Donald Barker, ...). Demens preparation and salesmanship assured the civic leaders of Los Angeles that they will not be swarmed by the reported tsunami wave of immigrants, doubling the city population with not enough food or places to live.

He was probably confident that his experience in Florida of hiring and managing thousands of workers to build a railroad, sea port, hotel and layout a new city adequately prepared him for this new task. No reason to panic. Take it one day at a time.

Acting as a middle man, a negotiator, Demens lied and/or "stretched the truth." He created a positive altruistic rumor that they were all safe "Molokans," not Dukhobor fanatics, not Russian Bolsheviks, not a pagan cult, not peasants who will need charity, and he arranged contingency plans for diverting most to rural locations. The unconfirmed word "Molokan" facilitated making sense of a complicated scary situation. He needed to protect his immigrants as a group while dispelling their perceived threat and a potential panic by Los Angeles government. He undoubtedly knew that journalists would propagate the one-word, easy-to-pronounce rumor-term (Molokan) with his new definition.

Notice 3 large strange new religious groups resettling in the U.S.A. and Mexico have similar labels that start with the letter "M" — Mormon, Mennonite, Molokan. Demens was a clever salesman. These 3 similar labels were sometimes confused in the U.S., Mexico and Russia. They were all strange new resettling Protestant faiths, 2 from Eastern Europe, that were spelled something like : M-o-n-..., whatever. Initially the press confused all of them in the U.S. and with Doukhobors in Canada.

Why Ma-lo-kan? The first syllable of Molokan (pronounced "ma") is among the easiest to naturally pronounce and most common sounds that babies around the world make, and is part of adult vocabulary. In many Latin languages it means "breast." Such word origins have been extensively studied, and may have subconscious connections with "mother" in Russian and English.(22) Demens may have been sensitive to the acceptance of this "ma-" word in both languages, therefore he would not use a more complicated word or phrase. Also, the use of harsh-sounding words (like Prygun or dukhovniye) was not considered polite in upper-class conversation at the time of immigration. The simplest, nicest-sounding, easiest-to-pronounce word was the best for marketing the immigrants. Decades later, as their Russian language diminished, the assimilated and intergrated descendants of these immigrants may have internalized and expressed affinity for only this simple code-switched loan-word, instead of "dairy-eater," to the extent of excluding all historical and accurate alternatives, which may be harder to pronounce with more consonants, and have less emotional appeal (than "ma-ma"). This hijacked "Molokan" term could only endure as long as the population did not know, and/or believe, and/or propagate their actual history; and, their histories remained vague and/or obscured to journalists and scholars. Such propaganda works until the truth emerges, but continues among the uninformed and those who reject information that conflicts with their world view, perhaps due to confirmation bias.

Beginning in 1905, Demens greatly simplified their acceptance by promoting them all as ONE group of new law-abiding citizens, all-literate, cheap strong tall White labor and ideal Protestant colonist settlers, to get them out of Los Angeles, or to divert them from coming to the city in large groups. Demens was marketing them using the most simple, unique and easy to pronounce brand identity. He knew he was using puffery by selling the "sizzle and not the steak." Though he sincerely wanted to help them, unfortunately they were too divided and soon appeared to be more like sizzle and fragmented hamburger.

In January 1905, when international news from St. Petersburg, Russia, reported that 200,000 Molokany were coming to Los Angeles, Demens' Russian welcoming committee got busy, probably urged by fears from government and society. To assure they did not go to Canada, Demens apparently personally escorted as many groups as he could meet upon their arrival at Eastern ports directly to Los Angeles. To divert thousands from Los Angeles, arrangements with land agents, banks and the government of Mexico were made by de Blumenthal, also a former Russian officer, and his wife who was well-known in California for raising and sending charity to peasant lace makers in Russia. Agents for Hawaiian sugar plantations with offices in in Los Angeles who did not get Dukhobortsy 5 years earlier, still wanted cheap White labor, and invited Demens to Hawaii in September 1905.

Demens employed immigrants from Russia at his citrus farm in Alta Loma (40 miles east of Los Angeles), and in The Flat(s) at his lumber yard, soap factory and commercial laundry. He was part owner of the soap factory and laundry. He also counseled them for other jobs and for land colonization.

To assure support from government, Demens contacted President Teddy Roosevelt, and was appointed an agent of the President to assure that these Spiritual Christians who were fleeing Russia were not anarchists and get them settled quickly. Vice-president T. Roosevelt became president when President McKinley was assassinated in 1901 by an anarchist with Slavic roots. Demens presented the incoming Spiritual Christians from Russia as part of the needed solution to colonize the American West, to get them official immigrant status, and the best deals, like the varieties of mislabeled "Mennonites" (anabaptists) from Russia before them.

In July 1905, I.G. Samarin and de Blumenthal began negotiations with attorney investor Donald Barker to buy communal land in Baja California Norte, Mexico, with a guarantee of military and tax exception for 10 years, and passports for new arrivals. Many of the immigrants had no identification papers. The Mexican contract only identified them as "Russian settlers" (colonos rusos), 2 times. They signed an initial agreement in September 1905 (10 days before Demens first scouted Hawaii) which was finalized 6 months later, in March 1906.

In September 1905, Demens visited Hawaii, and returned to Los Angeles to help negotiate a contract with the immigrants and a plantation on the east side of Kauai Island. In November 1905 Demens escorted F. M Shubin and M. Slivkoff (2 kinds of Pryguny) to Hawaii and back, and praised the immigrants only as "Molokans." He negotiated their contract with the Governor, the immigration commissioner, and plantation owner's representatives; and submitted press releases by letter and telegram for publication. He used the "social media" of that time to promote these immigrants.

In November 1905, Demens submitted a long (3 column, half page) article to Hawaiian newspapers sugar-coating the "Molokans" as the “cream of Russia’s population — a desirable class of White residents.” (See: Demens Introduces “Molokans” to Hawaii) Later he confessed that they were many different kinds of people who never met before they arrived in Los Angeles.

Apparently at the end of 1905, scores of immigrant Prygun women in Los Angeles who were hired to sew overalls in factories were forced out of work by the emergent Garment Workers union No. 125. While established White workers were fighting for better work conditions and pay, new immigrant scabs were willing to work longer hours, in poor conditions for low wages. The peasants from Russia did not quickly join the labor movement, perhaps due to expectations of returning to Mount Ararat, or leaving the city to a rural refuge. Ethnic tensions against these cheap workers from Russia may have been expressed on the street, in public, for taking jobs from other immigrants.

In January 1906, Demens reported all "Molokanes" will move to Hawaii, abandoning Southern California, but some reporters doubted that those with good jobs will leave. F.M. Shubin signed a letter boasting that 5,000 will arrive in Hawaii directly from the Caucasus, bypassing the U.S. mainland. Not clearly reported was that the large group bound for Hawaii became divided before they left, when Shubin decided not to return to Hawaii but to further explore land in Texas and Mexico. Shubin probably was still getting offers from railroad and land agents for free travel to see land. In February 1906 only about one-sixth (110 of ~700 who signed up for Hawaii, 16%) actually went on the first boat to Hawaii, of which about 34 (one-third, 31%) of the 110 were real Molokane led by John Kurbatoff. The rest were initially led by Prygun Mikhail "Mike" Slivkoff, then divided. The majority stayed in Los Angeles, where other zealots may have been anxious to earn money and return to Mt. Ararat, or another rural area (Mexico, Texas, etc). Shubin returned from Texas disappointed, then extensively scouted Mexico and most of the U.S., but resided in Los Angeles, later opposed the new religious text: Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn', and died in 1932.

Both colonization groups (obschiny) in Hawaii and Mexico argued upon arrival, and tribal congregations remained divided. While the Mexico revolution was starting, taxes were imposed, border crossing was restricted, and life was more difficult than in Los Angeles slums. Land plots were allocated by lottery. Those who got the worst lots looked for better land nearby, while others tried to go to the U.S. Unfortunately, most who immigrated directly to Mexico were stuck, as new citizens of Mexico, with no U.S. passport or visa. Some who crossed the U.S. border illegally were arrested.

Though Hawaii offered more total land than Mexico, settlers would be divided within and among islands, and a year's wait was needed to process homesteads in Washington D.C., which angered some who already got fast easy charity in Los Angeles. In Hawaii, the first 110 were offered about 8.2 square miles of irrigated homestead land for about $5.70 per acre (less than $29,000 total) in what is now Kappa, Kauai. That land is now worth ~$10 billion, ~$100 million/person. Since F. M. Shubin did not return with them, M. S. Slivkoff was the only "Moses" for the non-Molokane, while John Kurbatoff led the Molokane and the Molokan Settlement Association (M.S.A.). Two 2 kinds of Pryguny protested the M.S.A. forming 3 groups, probably with more dissent within the 3 groups.

In Hawaii, on the day of arrival (February 19, 1906), the mother of a baby who died during the trip wanted to go back. It was hot and humid like a banya, and windy; bugs were everywhere. My first of 2 trips to Hawaii was to Kauai in February. As soon as we got to our car rental place and stood outdoors, my wife Tanya said: "it's like a banya."

They arrived in Honolulu but refused to get off the boat, nor to eat a welcoming dinner hosted by a Christian church. The governor boarded their steam ship, greeted them and gave them a translator who worked for the territory. They arrived on Kauai Island in the late afternoon, were given a meal, and taken on small train cars to the Makee Sugar Plantation, were they transferred to wagons and carried up hill to the "Japanese camp," located on the north part of present-day Kapaa.

They sadly found that their camp shacks were trashed by angry Japanese workers ordered to vacate. Familiar vegetables for borshch (cabbage, red beets, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots) were not readily available which angered the women. Several men claimed their profession was wagon drivers (43) not irrigation farmers. Their above normal pay of $29/month was much less than some got at city jobs in California. Most were not the farmers Demens boasted they were. Many refused to work cutting sugar cane for a year until their land could be surveyed, irrigation provided to each parcel, and titles legally secured from the government. Some Molokane got jobs in Honolulu harbor, Oahu, which led to work in San Francisco harbor later.

When the press questioned why they were divided into 3 groups, Demens replied in a well-publicized statement in Hawaiian newspapers that they were not all the same people, but came from as many as 25 villages in 5 districts in south Russia, and most did not know each other. The press joked that the word "molokaning .. (was).. synonymous with vagrancy." Many Hawaiians were glad to get rid of them while a few testified that some were worth hiring.

In March 1906, P. de Blumenthal and I.G. Samarin sign a resettlement agreement with the government of Mexico for military exception, visas and passports of all arriving Russian colonists. In April 1906 San Francisco is severely damaged by an earthquake after which for the military and charities provides housing and food for the homeless, and huge amounts of cash and material aid is donated and loaned, providing jobs for decades.

In April 1906, Demens writes a long letter, published in 2 Hawaiian newpapers, 

In August 1906, within 6 months of arriving in Hawaii in February, all Spiritual Christians returned to California — most Molokane staying in San Francisco, and the rest (mostly varieties of Pryguny and other zealous sects) proceeding to Los Angeles. Records show that Demens knew most were not of the Molokan faith because many insisted to the press in Los Angeles that they were "Spiritual Christians" and/or Pryguny or another faith. Many professed Maksim Rudomyotkin is their leader, which would become the focus of graduate student Pauline Young's masters thesis 20 years later.

Throughout 1906 Demens and his Russian neighbors focused on the 1905 Russian Revolution, and by the end of 1906 he had arranged an interview with the new Russian prime minister Stolypin.

In 1906, due to new religious tolerance in Russia, Peter Verigin, leader of communal Doukhobors in Canada, went back to Russia with 6 delegates (photo) to meet with Minister Pyotr Stolypin, who refused the meeting, while other other ministers negotiated the return of all Doukhobors to Russia. They were offered land in Altai krai and military exemption, confirmed by Nicholas II, but Verigin declined the offer and returned to Canada in March 1907. A few Doukhobor women who migrated to Canada while their soldier husbands were exiled to Siberia, were allowed to return to Russia to join their husbands.

In July 1906 a new Immigration Act in Canada controlled and restricted undesirable immigrants, making it easier to deport them.(26) Government policy changed from economic to cultural. Zealous Doukhobors calling themselves svobodniki (free people) protested against a rule change to take oaths, own land, mandatory government controlled education, harass Doukhobors and government, but are not deported. Some are arrested for public nudity.

In mid-December 1906, The Los Angeles Times 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. A half-million acres (781 mi2) was offered to them in Sinaloa, Mexico.

In May 1907, the New York Times translated Pryguny as "Dancers": "... the Czar ... in 1904, issued his ukase insuring religious freedom to all, with the exception of the 'Dancers', ... "  Demens could have read this article.

In early 1907 Demens dropped everything to go back to Russia to meet Stolypin, his second trip since 1896. When he traveled through New York city, the president of the Associated Press news agency recruited him to be their new Russian correspondent. Demens conducted the longest (2.5 hour) interview with the new head of the Russian government (probably in July-August) which was published a few years later in the New York Times. He may have also met with Verigin and company in Russia.

While Demens was in Russia, the John K. Berokoff family arrives in Los Angeles, when the Dukh-i-zhiznik historian was about 9 years old.

Also in 1907, news of a mass immigration of 200,000 "Molokany" quickly dwindled in steps to a few thousand, about 1% of what was first reported. About a fourth of the incoming Spiritual Christians from Russia (mostly Pryguny) were diverted to Mexico, a fourth (mostly Molokane) chose Northern California after Hawaii failed, a few returned home to Russia. The largest fraction of mixed Spiritual Christians, with few Molokane, remained in Los Angeles slums, which would eventually became their new poly-ethnic enclave of "kingdoms in the city."

What happened when Demens and/or Verigin were in Russia in 1907?  Did they recommend to the government that the expected huge migration of non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians to North America be stopped? Did Demens tell the Russian government that mostly varieties of Pryguny were coming to Los Angeles? If they will return to Russia, Verigin's Doukhobors were offered land in Altai province, as were Staroobryadtsy who already moved there. (Research in-progress.)

In Spring 1907 Maksimist elders in Los Angeles reported they believe in the leadership of Maksim Rudomyotkin, expect his return soon to lead them to their promised land, therefore they will not remain much longer in Los Angeles. Newspaper readers could expect that 2000 immigrants will vanish as quickly as they arrived, which did not happen; nor did 200,000 more arrive from Russia as previously reported.

Though Demens and associates tried to help the immigrants, it appears that the most zealous communalists who wanted to live in rural isolation refused their help. For those wanting to stay in the city, Demens provided work at his businesses or guided them to other jobs. Many girls were placed as maids and house-cleaners for the upper class, who got to know the immigrant girls personally. Numerous inexpensive electric street cars provided transportation.

After 1908 a major urban renewal project cleared the Flat(s) of shanty slums, and new homes in "street car tracts"(27)  were constructed which wage earners could afford to rent or buy. The poorest evidently moved south of the Flat(s), closer to a Demens' business to the cheapest dirt-floor shantys along Fickett street, a flood-prone gully south of Whittier Blvd (then called Stevenson Blvd) to 8th street. This area became Karakala which extended to Lorena Street.

Though 1000s of Spiritual Christians were directed and co-financed to Los Angeles, Demens and associates were partially successful in aiding their rural colonization. Only the Mexico colonies retained a large population probably because many were isolated in a rural valley for which each paid a $50 payment for a share, the remainder payable in wheat, with a 10-year guarantee of no military draft, and no import/export tariffs. Demens and associates tried very hard to help these immigrants for about a decade, but they were too diverse, resistant, some probably stubborn, and all efforts failed except giving them factory jobs.

In 1909 Dr. Kryshtofovich (Demen's neighbor, and a consultant to Lev Tolstoy) was appointed the first American agent of the Russian Imperial Ministry of Agriculture, with an office in St. Louis. He was first on Demens' immigration advisory committee to leave Los Angeles, but kept his farm next to Demens, and later returned to teach agriculture at the University of Southern California.(28) Before Doukhbortsy left Russia, Tolstoy asked Kryshtofovich for advice on where they should settle. Kryshtofovich rejected Hawaii (too tropical) and California (too expensive), and recommended Canada for comparable climate and its chernozem soil. To get the Doukhbortsy, Canada paid for half of their travel expense, gave military exemption, free land, and supplies and food to survive the first years.

During 1910, Spiritual Christians were confronted with their first federal census. The door-to-door canvasser probably agitated the most zealous. In 1920, oral history in Arizona reported that the women chased the federal census counters out of their Darichak village, where the meeting house remains. Residents in the adjacent 3 villages were more compliant. 

At the end of 1910 a nationally publicized effort to provide a rural refuge for all Spiritual Christians in North America in a huge colony along the Central California coast failed. It appears that H.E. Huntington may have arranged for a ~50-square-mile tract in or near the Santa Ynez Valley (Solvang), as many elders had requested. This offer was earlier arranged by Demens for breakaway Dukhobortsy who were not allowed into the U.S., nor out of Canada, in large numbers.  Though Spiritual Christians collectively had the money, Cherbak reported 12 leaders confronting him resulting in the well-funded huge colony never starting. In July 2010, eight congregations in Los Angeles published a notice denying any relationship with Cherbak. Therefore, most of the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians stayed in the city, but not for long.

It appears that about this time, after 1910, five years after the immigration wave began, Demens must have realized no more were coming. The previously announced huge wave of immigration did not occur for many reasons. Despite desires for rural refuge, most of the arrivals remained in Los Angeles. His help was no longer needed or wanted as city services and charities stepped in, and zealots protested efforts to arrange for a single large rural colony.

In 1911, overcrowding in the city self-corrected when the huge concentration of varieties of Spiritual Christians transformed as their Old World culture continued to clash with the New World. In December 1911 a much publicized bride-selling scandal erupted and continued through February 1915, which scared many zealots perhaps 1000 from the city in groups to scattered destinations with apparently no, or little, guidance from Bartlett, Demens, Cherbak or the Blumenthals. For more than 3 years the "Molokan" label became nationally associated with "bride-selling." In 1912, the first publicized registered marriage (since 1904) occurred, while the most zealous in Arizona continued to not register marriages, births or deaths up to 1920 when 2 presbyters were arrested and fined $300 each.

In September 1911, in Russia Pyotr Stolypin was assassinated, 2 months after resigning as Prime Minister. His agrarian reforms (1906-1914) improved the economy into the 1920s when Soviet reforms reversed the economy.

About 1911, Cherbak moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work with Molokane and other Russian immigrants there while his family stayed on his farm next to Demens. Vasilii S. Fetisoff became his aid and apprentice to continue

De Blumenthals returned to Chicago. Only Demens and Bartlett remained to assist the immigrants, but most by now did not want anyone's help. About half fled the city, leaving half in the city.

From 1911 through 1914, Demens shifted his focus from volunteering to help uncoordinated immigrants to managing his own business, getting railroad access for himself and other farmers in Alta Loma. He lobbied the Central Pacific Railroad to divert 2 miles north from its straight path from Upland to San Bernadino, which added 3 miles of track to serve his farming district. To offset the extra cost for the railroad, Demens arranged to buy the rights of way and raised $19,000 from local businesses and farmers who will benefit. For his volunteer effort to bring the railroad to town, Demens was given the unofficial title of the "volunteer mayor" of Alta Loma. When the track was finished, he donated the last spike for the grand opening. In the 1980s, when the section of track he created was converted into a recreational trail for hiking, biking and horse riding, the track trail and adjacent creek were officially named Demens Creek/Channel and Demens Creek Trail.

In 1912, while Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles were in court for “bride-selling” and not registering vital statistics. The sendational story ran for 3 years in the national news. In 1916 a Hollywood movie appeared: "Sold for Marriage" about a young Russian village girl sold for marriage in America. At the same time in British Columbia, Canada, Community Dukhobortsy (C.C.U.B.) were investigated for 4 months by a commission which gathered testimony from 110 witnesses in 7 towns in 2 provinces aided by lawyers and scholars. While the commission substantiated "that the Community recognizes no outside authority, and that it refuses to register births, deaths, and marriages, ... " and refused education, thus violating many laws; it recommended fines to be more effective than jail.(21)

In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution established the federal income tax, which may have shocked the most zealous Spiritual Christians. Many had already fled Los Angeles due to the “bride-selling” scandal, and now the government for the first time wants their money. Many fled Russia to avoid rents and taxes.

In 1914 the Bethlehem Institutions were closed by the new city charity commission for mismanagement. The news shocked friends of Bartlett. The population of Spiritual Christians and Jews moved east across the L.A. River, replaced by Japanese, into the 9th ward, where the major congregations separated, each establishing their own meeting halls and stores, and different social services opened or transformed to provide free aide. A charity medical clinic was created by women's clubs on Rio street at First street, then moved to Utah and First streets. Within 15 years the new Prygun U.M.C.A. and a zealot molodoi sobranie would operate across the street from the maternity clinic.

In 1914, the Young Women's Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.) opened a local chapter of the International Institute, a settlement house for immigrant women, one lot north of 1st street on Boyle Ave, in the midst of the "Foreign Quarter." It was damaged by fire, and relocated to a larger lot a half block south of 1st Street at 435 S. Boyle Ave., where it remains today.

Those who moved east across the LA River and remained in the city were aided by the upgraded Utah Street School, which added a baby nursery, a bath house, a playground monitored after school and on weekends, and meals The kids got free daycare so both parents could work. U.S.C. sociology students continued to visit, assess and help the most needy immigrants. The Americanization program taught domestic skills to girls and job skills to boys. All kids learned to grow garden vegetables. Though many parents ordered their kids to not attend school, truant officers brought them in.

In 1914, Demens shifted his public focus to the war in Europe by publishing more editorials and letters in the press. The large group of "Molokan" immigrants announced in the press a decade earlier stayed home. 99% stayed in Russia. Most of the Spiritual Christian zealots fled the city. By 1915 the "bride-selling" scandal subsided. The immigrants who remained were managed by city and charity services. His decade of service to these countrymen was apparently most successful for those whom he hired or placed for work.

In February 1914 the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in Washington D.C. 

In 1915 there were 55,217 motor vehicles were counted in Los Angeles County. "The county led the world in per capita ownership of automobiles and continues to do so today."(55)  

By 1915, printing a holy ritual book engaged some of the zealots remaining in the city, a process that kept urbanized leaders busy and created about 7 draft versions up to 1928. Simultaneously a U.S.C. graduate student and home teacher, Lillian Sokoloff, began surveying the Spiritual Christian parents of her students, and published her report in 1918. The U.S.C. project would be continued in 1924-1926 with an analysis of the religion and religious text(s) by 2 new graduate students, one will be Pauline Young, a Russian-Polish-born Jew from Chicago.

In January 1916 military exception expired in Mexico. The congregation there from Novo-Mikhailovka (Tiukma, Diukma), Kars, departed for Jerome Junction, Chino Valley, Central Arizona, where they would be known as Dzheromskiy. By the end of 1916 they would abandon Chino Valley and temporarily resettle 3 miles west of Glendale, most leaving again within a decade.

In May 1917, the Selective Service Act sparked a hysteria among Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles who were pacified by the educated Russians who had been working with them. But the most zealous insisted on taking a petition to the Tsar (President Woodrow Wilson) which ignited the most zealous isolated in Arizona, who directed all 34 of their boys (a 35th one hid) to not register. Though the draft protesters identified themselves as "Spiritual Christian Jumpers," again the false "Molokan" label was nationally associated with a new scandal. This time they were "slackers" (cowards, un-American draft dodgers).

In 1919 Peter A. Demens died at his Loma Linda farm, leaving a wife and 8 children. Much more is yet to be learned about him.

Demens remained in Los Angeles after his colleagues gave up trying to help these Spiritual Christians from Russia. It must have been a huge disappointment that most of what he and his friends did to try to help these immigrants failed. He devoted much of the last 2 decades of his life to inviting fellow countrymen to California and personally helping them get settled. He traveled across the U.S.A. several times, escourted groups to Los Angeles, scouted Hawaii, wrote letters, published articles, contacted the President and Lev Tolstoy, and spent 100s of hours meeting and traveling with them. In the end, most of the Spiritual Christians were not satisfied, fought among themselves, and eventually erased him from their oral history; but they did not erase his simple false marketing brand — "Molokan." This deceptive simple label continues today as false history in North America.

In St. Petersburg, Florida, Demens is remembered as co-founder and railway builder at a public monument and in a history book published in his honor: Full Steam Ahead! : The True Story of Peter Demens, the Brave Russian Nobleman Who Built the Orange Belt Railway and Founded America's Unique St. Petersburg,  by Albert Parry, 1987. In Rancho Cucamonga, California, his name is publicly displayed at his house, now a historical monument, the Demens-Tolstoy Estate; and on the Demens Creek/Channel and Demens Creek Trail which replaced the local railway he created. In 1990 his memory was resurrected among Dukh-i-zhizniki in a chapter, contributed by Bill Aldacusion, in the 1990 book A Stroll Through Russia Town. His history is currently being collected in collaboration among 6 researchers in the US and Canada. Stay tuned for more.

Dr. Pauline V. Young (1896-1977),
married to Dr. Erle F. Young (1898-1953). Both were sociology professors at U.S.C. They had 2 children before 1932, Clarence and Harriet.

Click to ENLARGE
Signatures from Young's master's thesis, page x, showing her husband/professor helped enough to sign.

Research in-progress.

Young did her master's (1925), papers (1929+), Ph.D. theses (1930) and a book (The Pilgrims of Russian-town, 1932) about Spiritual Christian Pryguny (Jumpers) from Russia in Los Angeles, but erroneously used the term "Molokan(s)" when referring to them 1000+ times in print. She probably helped compose and edit the 1928 Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' .

Her goals apparently were divided, outward to reassure society that these immigrants were safe white Christians, and inward to understand and change the behaviors of the immigrants for assimilation. Her main tasks was to investigate if these immigrants were an anarchist political sect or a dangerous religious cult, and to prescribe how to stop the deviant and criminal behaviors of their youth.

She reported they were "Christians," not Jews or Hebrews; they could be assimilated;(19) and they would not be a burden to civil society nor degrade social heredity, as many believed the Jews were doing by interbreeding with Americans. Her work was needed to advise and guide politicians and educators about their integration and assimilation,(19) and to gather data for her husband's social science research on juvenile delinquency. Her achievements were mostly competent in the new science of sociology, but lacking in parts of her analysis and conclusions.

He major error was saying one thing on the title of her book that they were Spiritual Christian Jumpers (Pryguny) and another thing in the book they were Molokane. She falsified history. Why?

Young only identified them as "Jumpers" 9 times in her book and the Russian term Pryguny (Prygunov) is in the book title, but nearly 100 times more (890) in terms of Molokan(s), and she extensively misused the term Molokan(s) nearly exclusively in all of her other publications and presentations about them; as did all scholars citing her publications. Was this is an amazing error, blunder or oversight; or, did she use the false term intentionally to help hide their zealous traits?

She also failed to understand that she was documenting the formation of a new family of faiths (Dukh-i-zhiniki), which required using the new religious text: Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' which she had been translating. She missed an opportunity to name them, and complete a translation and publication of their new book for the benefit of the Amerian-born. After her research on Spiritual Christians from Russia in Los Angeles, her work focused on teaching systematic interviewing and data analysis to social science students.  

If the cover up was intentional, what could motivated her to hide the religious identity of Pryguny and other zealous faiths in Russian-town? 
  • Was it because Pryguny did not have the Tsar's permission to migrate, but went illegally by lying that they were Molokane?
  • Was it due to social threats in the political environmental of America and Los Angeles during her time in Los Angeles (1920s-1930s).
    • Hostility toward emerging Pentecostal "Holy Jumpers" similar to antisemitism.
    • Historic association among all Spiritual Christian faiths in North America. particularly the protesting Svobodniki (Freedomites) in Canada.
    • Fear of Bolsheviks from Russia in the U.S.A., and their arrest and deportation in Chicago in 1920, just before she moved to Los Angeles?
    • The 1924 death of Communal Dukhobor leader P.V. Verigin in British Columbia, Canada?
    • Immigration Act of 1924, restricted immigration from Russia
    • Los Angeles Mayor Porter (1929-1933 ) was a senior member of the Ku Klux Klan (K.K.K.) which had an office downtown.
    • (Research in-progress)
No evidence can be found that anyone ever questioned her reports or false labeling, until here and now (years 2010-2018). In 1969 I discussed the completeness of her thesis with a sociology professor at U.C.L.A. who knew her; and he agreed with me that her work had "holes" and more research should be done; but we did not discuss any specific errors or research methods, mainly because at the time I knew little about social science research and my major was in chemistry and math. 43 years later, in 2012, I began this page and analysis of her work.

Beginning in 1910 as more housing, employment and social services became available in the Flat(s) (9th ward), Spiritual Christians migrated eastward across the Los Angeles River, out of Bethlehem (8th ward). Congregations, that had to meet together at the Stimpson-Lafayette Industrial School, the Bethlehem Institute or in a cramped house, could separate. Utah street school provided free nursery care for babies. L.A. City Parks and Recreation provided day-care after school. Charities prov ided food and medical care. Both parents could work full-time, while government and charities managed their kids, dawn to dusk. U.S.C. sociologists probably recommended special educational buildings for immigrants — the "Americanization Building" to teach domestic skills to girls, and adjoining sloyd workshop to each employment skills to boys. A large Quaker-Methodist mission had been in operation since 1904 at Clarence and Third streets; and 2 more community service settlement houses were on North Clarence street across from Utah Street School. A medical and maternity clinic was on the corner of First and Utah streets, across the street from the U.M.C.A. and molodoi sobranie. Compared to their Russian villages, big city life was much easier if you had a job, and all your kids (babies to teenagers) were fed and protected at school, also dawn to dusk.

In 1911, city life confronted the most zealous Spiritual Christians with drastic cultural and legal challenges to their Old World cultures, which caused many to flee the city to preserve bride-selling, maintain dress and language, and avoid registration (in school, for citizenship; and births, marriages and deaths).

In 1914, the Bethlehem Institutions were closed by the City of Los Angeles for mismanagement. The Rev. Dr. Dana Bartlett could no longer monitor, advise nor guide the 12 various religious leaders from Russia who moved away from his former neighborhood as he moved his residence to the westside of Los Angeles. In the Flat(s), charities and government expanded social support services for aliens (Armenians, Chinese, Italians, Japanese, Mexicans, Russians, Slavs, etc.) and the poor.

Timeline of Pauline V. and Erle F. Young.(51)
  • 1896 May 30, born Pola Wislicka in Końskie village, Russian-Poland. Classified as a Hungarian Magyar Jew. She was the youngest of 4 sisters  — Sarah (1887-1970), Rose (1889-1962), Anna (1895-1955).
  • 1908, about age 12, her mother died age 42 in Wroclaw village, Poland.
  • 1910, about age 14, her father died age 44 in Radomsko village, Poland.
  • 1910, Erle Young, age 21, lived on a family farm in Beaumont, California, with 2 grandparents, 2 parents, 2 sisters (Eva L. 19, Jennie F. 15), 2 cousins, 2 farm hands. He was the oldest of 4 kids. The family soon moved to Illinois, where he attended the University of Chicago.
  • 1913 September 26,  Pola Wislicka, age 17, moves to America with her married sisters. They arrived in New York on the ship Pretoria from Hamburg Germany. Her American name became Pauline Vislick. They moved to Chicago.
  • Fall 1915, age 19, only 2 years after immigrating, she enrolled in the University of Chicago, majoring in sociology.
  • From 1917 to 1918, she worked as a Family Case Worker for the Chicago American Red Cross. Her supervisor was Erle Young.
  • September 1918, (~22) she married sociology graduate student, Erle F. Young (age 30), born in America. Both were Jewish. Wedding was in Loussville, Kentucky.
  • 1919, she graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree (Ph.B.) in Sociology.
  • 1919 October 2, only son Clarence Lee was born, named after Erle's brother who died in infancy. At age 33 he shot his wife and himself, leaving 3 daughters.
  • 1919, she worked 2 paid jobs for the Federal Department of Labor, the Illinois State Health Insurance Commission.; and volunteered with the United Charities in Chicago in the "Polish district."
  • 1920, she became a naturalized citizen, 6 years after immigrating.
  • 1920, husband Erle F. Young became an instructor in the School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago.
  • 1920, Erle F. Young earned Ph.D. in sociology, thesis: "The Use of Case Method in Training Social Workers."
  • 1921 August 14, only daughter Harriet Anne born, named after Pauline's mother Henriette. Married twice, had 2 kids (boy, girl) with first husband whom she divorced.
  • 1923, Dr. and Mrs. Young, and 2 kids, move to Los Angeles, where Dr. Erle Young was offered a teaching job at the University of Southern California.
  • 1925, P. V. Young gets a research fellowship on a Boys Work Survey, with Emory Bogardus, founder and chairman, School of Sociology, U.S.C.
  • 1926, May, P. V. Young masters thesis: "The Social Heritages of the Molokane: Monographic study of the Molokane in Los Angeles."
  • 1927, in Buck v. Bell the U.S. Supreme Court legalized eugenic sterilization of undesirables, a practice led by California which did 1/3 of all sterilizations in the country. Targeted were the mentally ill and mentally deficient, which could apply to drunks, the poor and religious zealots among the immigrants from Russia. Sterilization doubled in a decade and continued to the 1950s. Those not sterilized were deported.
  • 1930, June, P. V. Young doctoral dissertation: "Assimilation Problems of Russian Molokans in Los Angeles." She illogically claims Pryguny are the same as Molokane.
  • 1932, P. V. Young theses are combined and published as a book: The Pilgrims of Russian-town: Общество Духовных Хрисиан Пригунов в Америке, The Community of Spiritual Christian Jumpers in America: The Struggle of a Primitive Religious Society To Maintain Itself in an Urban Environment

  • 1953 January, Only son Clarence shot his wife and himself in Tracy, California, leaving 3 daughters raised by grandmother Pauline.
  • 1953 May, Dr. Erle Young dies in Modesto CA.
  • 1956-57, served on Executive Committee, Society for the Study of Social Problems.

In less than 10 years after she immigrated, Pauline Young transformed into a professional American. She also knew first-hand about intense discrimination of immigrants from Russian in Europe and in the United States.

Socio-political environment

From 1914 to 1920 about 5,000 Ukrainians were arrested trying to cross into the U.S., and 8600 were interned (jailed) by Anglo-Canadians who feared all immigrant Germans and Ukrainians were enemy aliens. Also across the Canadian border, the much reported fragmented Dukhobor population numbered about 12,000. In 1912, Community Dukhobortsy (C.C.U.B.) were investigated for 4 months by a Canadian commission.(21) Discrimination against Eastern Europeans was widespread, which probably concerned the Vislick family and their relatives who immigrated from the Ukrainian border where Jews were restrained, persecuted and killed.

In 1914, Russian-born Emilio Kosterlitzky was hired by the Department of Justice Bureau of Investigation (B.O.I.), to spy on suspicious aliens in Los Angeles, including those from Russia. He apparently investigated Prygun-owned stores in the "Flat(s)" through the 1920s. He died in 1928 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery, 1 block southeast of the Spiritual Christian "Old Cemetery" in East Los Angeles.

In 1915, the first Spiritual Christian hymnal (song book, pessennik) and first collection of prophesies (Morning Star, Utrennyaya zvezda, Утренняя звезда) initiated in Arizona, was published in Los Angeles.

Also in 1915, the Adventist prophet Ellen G. White died. It is interesting here to compare a century of progress of Adventists with Dukh-i-zhizniki from 1915 to 2015. In many ways White 's followers (Adventists) shared beliefs and practices similar to various disorganized Spiritual Christian tribes (conscientious objection, vegetarianism, prophesy, fasting, Bible). In contrast White's will appointed a "self-perpetuating board" that took charge of White's estate of spiritual manuscripts, which were conserved, organized, copyrighted, published, translated into many languages and distributed. A small library of books, journals, newsletters, and encyclopedias, were published. Branch offices, schools, and hospitals were built and staffed. Annual conferences and regional meetings were held.(37) During the same 100 years, the developing Dukh-i-zhizniki, who forbid forming a committee (komitet) in 1928, argued and divided, trying to hide their secret faiths from the "world", resisted education and publishing, and had not grown for more than 100 years. In comparison, from 1910 to 2012, Adventist membership grew about 170 times (from 104K to 17.6 million).(38) If Dukh-i-zhizniki had grown at the rate of Adventists, there would be about a third of a million in the U.S.A.

Beginning in 1915, to 1923, the major massacres of the Armenian Genocide occurred in Turkey and the Soviet Union..

In January 1916, 130 Pryguny moved from Mexico to Central Arizona. The leader V.G. Pivovaroff believed all in Mexico will soon follow and signed up for 10,000 acres. Their irrigation colony failed within the year, most all moved south to join 3 colonies west of Glendale, and 19 men sued the land company.  

In February 1917, Community Doukhobor leader, Peter V. Verigin, sent a telegram to the Russian Provisional Government that all his 10,000 followers were willing to return to Russia to farm, if they were given land and military exemption, like offered in Canada. (Kukushkin, Vladimir. A Roundtrip to the Homeland: Doukhobor Reimigration to Soviet Russia in the 1920s. Doukhobor Genealogy Website, 21 Nov. 2005.)

In June 1917, 34 Spiritual Christian "Holy Jumpers" refused to register for the draft in Arizona and were sentenced to 1 year in jail, in Prescott, Arizona. The most zealous 6, refused to sign upon release from jail (including my grandfather Jacob D. Conovaloff) and were sentenced to life in military prison. Most all of the news and legal documentation mislabeled these slackers (draft dodgers) as "Molokans." Concurrently, 2 major acts of Congress were passed the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. Many immigrants were investigated in North America. In 1919, Dukhobortsy in British Columbia, Canada, were disenfranchised (denied the right to vote) for 37 years. The government had to determine if all these mislabeled "Molokan" immigrants were worthy of citizenship, and who should be deported.

In October 1917, the Bolshevik-led Red October Revolution overthrew the Russian Provisional Government.

In Canada in 1918, goli (nude) svobodniki in British Columbia increased public protests against Community Dukhobortsy, causing P.V. Verigin to ask for a restraining order, which was ignored. The protestors were falsely called Doukhobors, who were sometimes called Molokans.

Also in 1918, Lillian Sokoloff, a Home-school teacher at Utah Street School, Los Angeles, finished her 3-year survey of Spiritual Christians for the U.S.C. Department of Sociology which was described in the university newspaper in April 25, 1919 (page 1, column 4, bottom). 

Beginning in 1919 widespread fear of terrorist acts, world revolution, and protests by immigrant Bolsheviks and anarchists mostly impacted the east coast — 1919 anarchist bombings (2 in San Francisco) , 1919 California Flag Law, 1919–1920 First Red Scare, 1919–1920 Palmer Raids, and at the start of the "Red Squad" of the Los Angeles Police Department. In 1919, Senator Palmer recruited  J. Edgar Hoover to investigate the terrorists who tried to kill him and 36 other prominent people. 1000s of the Union of Russian Workers were arrested in the New York area and 100s deported, while many left voluntarily. The national news caused scrutiny of most all enclaves of  immigrants from Russia in California, as it did in Arizona after my grandfather and 5 others were released from prison and celebrated as martyrs for not registering for the military draft draft. From 1919 to 1924, about 500 were arrested in California, many given long prison sentences.

In May 1919, "The Americanization Movement," by Dr. Howard C. Hill, University of Chicago, was published in The American Journal of Sociology (Univ. Chicago), pages 609-642. The paper summarized a national survey about huge wave of recent immigration, and was undoubtedly studied by Vislick and Young. Hill reported:
  • Up to 1885, most immigrants were rather similar Northern Europeans, "possessing ideals, customs, standards of living, modes of thought, and religion ... as those of earlier settlers. .. Illiteracy was uncommon; education was highly esteemed ... little tendency to settle in racial groups. ... few obstacles to successful Americanization." (page 610)
  • By 1905 the majority of immigrants (75%) came from Southern and Eastern Europe with high illiteracy, different customs and thought, and many with no intention of becoming permanent residents or American citizens. A huge problem, and typical of the Spiritual Christians from Russia who remained on the east-side of Los Angeles.
  • In 1910, 34% of alien males eligible for the new draft did not speak English.
  • Over 1300 foreign-language newspapers were published in the U.S.
  • "The mission schools of the English-speaking churches are also influential among the persons they reach." (i.e., Bethlehem Institutions, International Institute, House of Light, etc.)
In 1919 the Arizona Spiritual Christian colonies were again accused of being Bolsheviks twice, first in April at the Maksimist colony, and in December while shopping for land in Casa Grande. In early 1920, hooligans were arrested for assaulting and harassing women in the colony. Few incidents occurred in Southern California, due to a large population of cheap immigrant labor and distance from the east coast; the most notable found were 2 bombings in San Francisco, and strikes in Seattle WA and Bisbee AZ; and, the Los Angeles government was mostly dealing with its own corruption.

In 1919 Community Dukhobortsy in British Columbia were barred from voting for fear they could swing an election due to their large population.

In June 1919, the Canadian government banned Mennonite, Hutterite and Doukhobor immigration into Canada due to public pressure against  undesirable immigrants. These German-speaking and Russian-speaking people who refused military participation were considered a danger to Canada and lacked Canadian values.

During the next 15 years, from 1920 to 1935, Spiritual Christians communities in Southern California and British Columbia had to make difficult significant changes to adjust to their surrounding cultures; and, Pauline Young appears in Los Angeles, conducts her research, and publishes. How much she and the various groups in the U.S. and Canada knew about each others problems can only be guessed as limited to what appeared in their respective local newspapers, because we do not know yet if any news was sent by letters.

In 1920, Pauline Young was enrolled at the University of Chicago, and working with immigrant Russians. On New Year's Day, January 1, the aggressive county attorney for the Chicago area conducted his own surprise raids to arrest communist "Reds" a day before a scheduled federal "Palmer raid" on January 2. The county attorney wanted the political prestige of upstaging the new federal Bureau of Investigation to advance his career, but his raids were terribly abusive. One raid occurred at a Russian adult school well known to Young. At least 80 Russians, many were her clients, and 13 Italians were arrested, squeezed into very cramped jail cells, and not fed for a day. Most all were innocent people illegally taken without court warrants, and some held for weeks before being released. Many were pacifists, including a Tolstoyan, well known by local sociologists, including Jane Addams whose pioneering work with the poor and immigrants was earlier duplicated in Los Angeles by the Dr. Rev. Dana W. Bartlett to organize the Bethlehem Institutes. Young was probably horrified that an American police state suddenly appeared and forced innocent immigrants from their homes and schools, holding them without cause in terrible conditions, then releasing them days and weeks later, and holding some longer for bail.(46)

Could such a raid also happen in Los Angeles among the approximate 2000 Spiritual Christians from Russia whom she would soon be assigned to investigate as a scholar? She must have discussed with her professor husband how they could help prevent a similar raid in Los Angeles. Maybe the raids motivated the Youngs to leave Chicago for a safer city in California.

In 1920 during the post war depression, most of the distant rural colonies formed by Spiritual Christians who fled from the Los Angeles "bride-selling" scandal, failed primarily due to buying poor land and the post W.W.I. recession. Perhaps as many as 2000 returned to the Los Angeles enclave where overcrowding, poverty, juvenile delinquency and truancy, crime, alcoholism, domestic violence, and other strife significantly increased in the Flat(s) area. The huge incoming migration back to the Flat(s) certainly alerted government workers.

"According to a report sent by a Russian-speaking American investigator in California in 1920 (probably Speeks), "With few exceptions, the Russians want to go home. Recently all the Molokans, of Tacoma, San Francisco, Los Angeles and along the coast, numbering several thousand, requested the government to deport them. They claimed that they had been 'cheated' by the Americans in their talk about the 'freedom of America.'"(47)

By the 1920s, the University of Southern California (U.S.C.) in Los Angeles had developed the most robust sociology program on the west coast with close connections with the University of Chicago, which pioneered urban sociology. The new department was founded and headed by Dr. Bogardus, from Chicago, who would soon recruit Dr. and Mrs. Young.

During 1920, many earthquakes occurred in and around Los Angeles, possibly caused by oil drilling. The first widely felt with property damage was in February, July (Inglewood) and the last in September. Earthquakes continued in bursts with the next largest in 1929 (Whittier), and 1933 (Long Beach) killing 133 people and closing the main train depot — La Grande Station, south of 1st Street, west of the Los Angeles River (across from The Flats(s)), where Spiritual Christians from Russia first arrived. American government intrusion into the immigrant culture (mandatory English education; registration of birth, marriage, death) and acts of God disasters undoubtedly fueled songs and oral tradition to return home to Russia for many.

From 1921 to 1923 the Rose Bowl stadium and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum were built.

In 1922 Russia expected most of their citizens who migrated away to return, by the thousands. By 1926 About 20 Molokane from San Francisco rejoined Kars relatives who were relocated to eastern Rostov Oblastl; and 40 families of Independent Doukhobors in Saskatchewan, Canada, joined their families in Tselinskii district, Rostov, on farm land allocated adjacent to the Molokane. During that time, no members of Spiritual Christian faiths who settled in Southern California, Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon or Washington, returned to Russia, though some of the most zealous had visions and prophesies about returning to Mt. Ararat.

Youngs Move to Los Angeles

About 1923, Pauline V. Young, age 29, enrolled in the sociology graduate program at U.S.C. Her kids were very young,  boy Clarence 3, girl Harriet 1. They rented a house less than a mile west of campus and had a live-in housekeeper, nanny.

She arrived nearly 20 years after the first Spiritual Christians from Russia came to Los Angeles, 10 years after most all had arrived, and 4 years after Demens died. Most Spiritual Christians from Russia had been integrating and assimilating(19) for 15 years, and about 2000 poor failed colonist farmers just arrived, which nearly doubled the Spiritual Christian population from Russia to perhaps 4,000 in the city. Again, they were a huge social problem on the booming East side and not likely to abandon the city for distant farms. Many delinquent youth were burden on social services. Neither the population nor congregations were united with a hierarchical structure, which hindered communication between immigrants and government.

She spoke Russian, had first-hand experience with eugenics and ethnic discrimination in Europe and America, and immigrant Slavic populations in the U.S.A. At U.S.C. she was undoubtedly the ideal sociology student to pursue the research begun by Lillian Sokoloff a decade earlier on the fragmented "Russian sectarian" (non-Orthodox, non-Jewish) population from Russia, concentrated in East Los Angeles (today called Boyle Heights), and continued in 1924 by student Wicliffe Stack ("Social Values of Prygun Molokan Religion"). She could have chosen to study the Orthodox immigrants from Russia, or Jews (Hebrews) but they had very few juvenile delinquents, and her Jewish background probably attracted her to, and appealed to, those sectarians from Russia who favored Old Testament laws. The most important reasons were probably because the government identified them as a social problem, and her husband needed data on this cohort of juvenile delinquents. Of all the students, she was the best fit to conduct social science research on the Spiritual Christians from Russia, while other graduate students were matched with different immigrant populations. Within 2 decades many major alien nationalities, minority and poverty areas in Los Angeles were documented by U.S.C. sociology students — a huge body of social research, which was used to guide government and non-profit service policy and train social workers.

She probably was accepted by many of the soon-to-be Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths because she spoke Russian well, could not be rejected by zealots as a "pork-eater," was a small woman (not a big man), understood many of their holidays, and was fascinated about their Dukhi i zhizn' book project.. She arrived about a decade after the educated Russians (Demens, Cherbak, de Blumenthals, etc.) gave up by 1910, Bethlehem closed in 1914, and Sokoloff published her report in 1918, after a 5-year lull of interest from a sincere Russian-speaking outsider. Young apparently did not know, or neglected to report, about the educated Russians who intervened up to 1910. She knew about Sokoloff's report and a Jewish attorney, Mr. Lev, who represented several families in court. Her first task involved examining the new religious text they were debating and trying to compile and republish in about 7 drafts, which they collectively called Dukh i zhizn' in short.

The Youngs arrived to a rapidly growing metropolis with 1 automobile to every 3 people, the highest ration in the world since 1915, and continued
Cars in Los Angeles.

— CARS —xxx

In 1924 a colony of independent Dukhobortsy (edinolichniki) formed at Manteca in the San Joaquin Valley, about 65 miles driving east from San Francisco, 100 miles north of Kerman. Young apparently never visited Spiritual Christians outside of the East Los Angeles area.

By 1924, the the the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (C.C.U.B., communal Doukhobors in Canada) had become the largest communal organization of its kind in North America. In October 1924, Peter V. Verigin, the C.C.U.B. leader was killed in a train explosion with 8 others in eastern British Columbia, Canada, less than 20 miles from the U.S border, 112 miles north of Spokane, Washington. Extensive research reveals no definite Canadian culprits, but investigators have not be able to access U.S.A. records from the F.B.I. regarding possible involvement of the Ku Klux Klan in Oregon, who are among the most likely suspects along with possible Soviet spies.

Also in 1924, J.E. Hoover became the F.B.I. director. It is possible that the U.S. Government could have wanted an expert analysis of the new Dukh-i-zhiznik religion and sociology of historically related Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles County, to avoid any similar potential act of terrorism in the U.S.A. Knowing more about these immigrant "sects" from Russia was probably important for national security due to the bride-selling scandal (1911-1915), all boys in Arizona jailed for not registering for the draft (1917-1918) and 6 went to federal prison (1918-1922), only 1 in 200 registered for citizenship (1918), and 2 presbyters were arrested and fined in Arizona for not registering births, marriages or deaths (1920).

In 1924, Dr. Erle F. Young, became a Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California.

In 1924, the Immigration Act of 1924 limited immigration from Russia, and increased migration back to Russia. Leaders of the Maksimist and Sionist Spiritual Christians in America were determined to return to Mt. Ararat, making their final desperate effort in 1939.

In 1925, Young finished her master thesis which focused on the new religious text project — Dukh i zhizn' — being debated and revised. She then worked as a social economist for the State of California, and the following year (1926) her husband accepted a teaching job in the Sociology Department at U.S.C. Her husband was teaching at the University of Chicago where he promoted social mapping and data analysis. At U.S.C. he became the national analyzer of data about urban juvenile delinquents, for which his wife would soon gather the Los Angeles data.

In 1925, a book about juvenile delinquency, Youth in Conflict by Miriam Van Waters, was published, in which the first case reported was about 5 Prygun boys arrested for burglary. The author served as superintendent of the new Juvenile Hall for Los Angeles County (1917-1920), and was appointed the Referee (like a judge) for the new Juvenile Court (1920-1930). While she was writing her book, Van Waters lectured at U.S.C. once a week, where she undoubtedly met Dr. and Mrs. Young. In her 1932 book, Young cites Van Waters once on page 213, and uses her data for "Table IV: Number and Type of Offenses of 24 Prygun Molokan Girls (from 13 to 18 years of age.)", page 214. The fact that 23 of the 24 were in Juvenile Hall for "Runaway and sex delinquency" shocked and/or angered many readers, and some Pryguny denied the facts reported.

The Youngs needed to quickly analyze this alien population from Russia to provide information for social intervention and aid, while other sociologists were performing similar studies of immigrants from other countries in Los Angeles. The Department of Sociology at U.S.C. was developing a team of scientists trying to guide the diagnosis and cure of social ills — alcoholism, poverty, illiteracy, crime, unemployment, teen pregnancy, prostitution, etc. The head of the Department of Sociology, Dr. Bogardus was personally working with non-profits and churches to form non-government organizations (NGOs) to serve the poor, non-whites, and aliens, of which 50+ nationalities and races were identified.

From 1925 to 1932, she produced 8 publications about Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki — 2 thesis (1925, 1928), 4 papers (1927, 1929, 2 in 1930), and a book (1932). Examples of her unpublished research was included as lessons in her sociology textbook and in several lectures. She planned to update her 1932 book in the 1950s, but lost her source notes in a fire.

In 1926 ".. nearly two million Russians are scattered all over the world as refugees, .." (Creston Review, May 14, 1926, page 2), and the rapidly growing population of Los Angeles was about 900,000. In 1926, the Spiritual Christian population in Los Angeles of about 4,000 was about 0.2% of world refugees from Russia, and about 0.44% of the rapidly growing City of Los Angeles. Though these are relatively very tiny fractions, their population was very concentrated in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Ward 9 (east of the LA River), and nearly all their kids attended one grammar school and playground (Utah street), a territory their youth gangs dominated. The Utah playground preceded the Pecan playground. Young used a then slang name for her subjects' territory — Russian-Town — in the title of her book.

In 1926, Spiritual Christians from Russia, mostly Pryguny, in Mexico and Los Angeles began to organize a cooperative migration north to Canada — a pokhod (поход) — with Canadian immigration agents. In 1928, 8 delegates, 4 from each area, toured land east of Calgary, Alberta. Though the land would be homesteaded (cheap), and they were offered a "bloc" of about 100 square miles, the deal probably failed because they would have to fund their own travel and supplies, which those in Mexico could not afford. Those in Los Angeles, were probably not interested in leaving their "kingdoms in the city" for any reason. Had they arrived in Canada before 1904, during the "open door" immigration window, land and travel expenses would have been paid by the Canadian government. This significant event was missed and/or omitted by Young and Berokoff.

In 1926 Community Dukhobortsy in Canada undergo major changes. During a meeting of Independent and Community Dukhobortsy held at Canora, Saskatchewan, Canada, it was proposed that they should move to Mexico. A delegation of about 27 went to Mexico (stopping in Arizona to visit Maksimisty) and returned with an unfavorable report. A majority decided that their next leader shall be the son of Peter Vasilich Verigin, Peter Petrovich Verigin who lives in Russia; and he is invited to immigrate to Canada. Anastasia Holuboff, common-law wife and widow of Peter V. Verigin, having lost the reign, moves to Alberta, east of Calgary where she buys 1.75 mi2 of land for a commune of 165 followers — near the land block offered to Pryguny from Mexico.

In 1926, the United Molokan Christian Association (U.M.C.A.) is founded in Los Angeles. Membership is limited "Spiritual Christian Jumpers." A major reason for the organization is to provided community-based supervision and guidance of Spiritual Christian youth from Russia to prevent juvenile delinquency. 

In May 1926, Pauline Young submits her masters thesis: "The Social Heritages of the Molokane: Monographic study of the Molokane in Los Angeles" (219 pages) which focuses on the new sacred text: Dukh i zhizn', a precursor to the final Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' (1928). This first publication about the faiths contains evidence and hints about why she changed their histories. A few notes are listed here in order by page number.
  • Page i — "The present study is presented with considerable hesitancy. ... at times the whole enterprise seemed almost presumptuous.
  • iii  — A few unsuccessful attempts convinced me that it would be impossible to extract from them their religious beliefs by direct questioning.
  • v — To hope for complete accuracy in dealing with such an involved and vast subject as Molokanism is vain. The writer will be greatly indebted to readers who will assist in correcting mistatements or incorrect inferences. They are a large sect scattered over a wide area. Within this area are numerous groups to a considerable extent isolated from each other. Under these circumstances differences in experience have led to difference in practice. Discrepancies in the stories told by Molokane in Los Angeles are in good part due to actual differences in Russia.

In 1927 Peter P. Verigin, son of the killed leader of the Community Dukhobortsy, arrives in Canada from Russia. 

In 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized eugenic sterilization of undesirables (Buck v. Bell), a practice led by California which did 1/3 of all sterilizations in the country. Targeted were the mentally ill and mentally deficient, and could also include habitual drunks, sexual deviants, the poor, and religious zealots among the immigrants from Russia. Sterilization doubled in a decade and continued at that rate to the 1950s. Those not sterilized were deported.(56)

In 1928 the final version of Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' was published and soon placed (by the Holy Spirit through T. Bezayeff) on the tables of all congregations in Southern California forcing them to eventually convert to Dukh-i-zhizniki. The debated collection of edited and revised writings is declared by zealots to be a sacred text.

From 1928 to 1930, demonstrations by Spiritual Christian Svobodniki ("free men", Freedomites, Sons of Freedom) in British Columbia, Canada, escalated and "reached a fevered pitch." They conducted numerous protests with nudity, arson and bombings.

In 1928 a new majestic Los Angeles City Hall was opened, and from 1929 to 1933, the new city mayor, John Clinton Porter, was a xenophobic, Protestant, populist, and senior member of the local Ku Klux Klan which had an office downtown to protect the city against communism, Eastern Europeans immigrants, and Jews — similar to Pryguny. In the 1920s perhaps up to 20% of US households had a registered member of the KKK, and more were in sympathy. This indicates a politically active anti-immigrant anti-Semite culture in Los Angeles during the first decade that Young was doing her 2 theses, and publishing papers and her book.

In 1928, Young's boss and department chairman, Bogarus, published Immigration and Race Attitudes

In 1929-1936 Repatriation of 400,000+ Mexicans and their American-born children from the United States began. Thousands moved through Los Angeles.  

In 1930 June, her Ph.D. thesis was submitted: "Assimilation Problems of Russian Molokans in Los Angeles," (543 pages).

In 1931, Canada amended the Criminal Code, adding section 205A, to allow for jailing of fanatic Svobodniki up to 3 years. 

In May 1932, approximately 600 Svobodniki including 365 children were arrested, and 546 convicted, for public nudity. A special prison colony was built for these Freedomites on Piers Island in the Strait of Georgia off Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. In 1933, 570 were jailed, costing many millions of dollars. Most news falsely reported they were Doukhobors.

In August 1932 the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, next to the University of Southern California, was called "Olympic Stadium" during the 1932 Summer Olympics. Mickey Riley (Micheal Galitzen) won an Olympic gold metal for in the men's diving event from the 3 meter springboard. Since 1924, the Mickey and Johnny Riley, the Galitzen brothers and diving champs were in the national press more than 100 times and on several newsreels shown in theaters. John Galitzen told me about 1980 that their coach, Fred Cady, was afraid their last names sounded too German, and chose this "more American sounding stage name."

Book Published

In 1932, her book The Pilgrims of Russian-Town, based on her master's and Ph.D. theses, was published. The subtitle of her book was forgotten: "Общество Духовных Хрисиан Пригунов в Америке, The Community of Spiritual Christian Jumpers in America: The Struggle of a Primitive Religious Society To Maintain Itself in an Urban Environment."

Though Pauline Young's subtitle correctly defines her subjects as primitive immigrants from Russia who call themselves Spiritual Christian Pryguny (Jumpers) and use a new ritual book called Dukh i zhizn', she overwhelmingly mistakenly calls them Molokans (at least 1500 times) in all her publications, lectures and news reports. Why?

How could this happen? Twice she stated there are 200 families of "Molokanes" in San Francisco (pages 16, 262), but she never visited them. It's a mystery why she never met real Molokane and Pryguny in San Francisco who do not use or worship the Dukh i zhizn', who met in separate halls; or Pryguny in Mexico and Arizona, where they met separately from Maksimisty who smuggled the writings of M.G. Rudomyotkin. It appears that she ignored the larger immigration population to focus narrowly on only those who were in and around Los Angeles for most of the decade from 1923 when she arrived to 1932 when the book was published, with a focus on their juvenile delinquency.

Why did she use "Spiritual Christian Jumpers" in the title of her book, then immediately switch to the word "Molokans" used 4 times on the first page of text (page ix)?
  • Was it an intentional switch to conceal the Pryguny?
  • Was she a lazy, not interested, pressed for time, so conveniently used Molokan history instead of working to find Prygun history?
  • Why did she totally focus on Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles, and not include real Molokane a days trip away in San Francisco?
  • Was the government only interested in the Los Angeles immigrants, juvenile delinquents, criminals, Bolsheviks and communists?
  • Was she hiding or protecting them from attack by the local K.K.K., and other anti-Bolshevik nationalists?
  • Was it because she could not find any history of Pryguny, and falsely used Molokan history which she could find, and lied that they were all the same faith.
Probably all of the above, but I suspect mostly the last reason. No significant history of Pryguny could be found, so I believe she was desperate to fill out her thesis with something, anything, that would slip by her thesis committee, who knew no Russian or Russian history. It worked, until this analysis and exposé.

The other groups and tribes of Spiritual Christians from Russia did not matter to her since the focus of her study was limited to the research subjects on the east side of Los Angeles and how to assimilate them. She probably thought it was plausible that they all evolved from Molokane, then claimed it was true by manipulating facts. She recast Prygun history, in my opinion, mostly to get her PhD and establish her career as a professor of sociology.

The following is an introduction to a more thorough analysis in-progress. Watch for updates.

Her mislabeling broadly spread the misnomer initiated by Demens 2 decades earlier, providing a fake scholarly endorsement for false label changing which continues up to this taxonomy.

Statistical analysis of her name hijacking is in-progress. Here is a fragment:

Frequency Count of Selected Terms Used in The Pilgrims of Russian-town, 1932.
Term Cluster
Word Counts*
Graph (each bar = 10)
Molokan(s)  819 Molokane 14, Molokani 1, Molokanye 1,
milk-drinker(s) 5, Molokanism 50
|||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||| |||||||||
Postoyannye  3
Steady 4
Prygun Прыгун 1, Jumpers 9, jumping 10 20 ||
Dukhobor(s)  18
Dukhobortsy 1
Spiritual Christian(s) 15 S. Christianity 1, S. Brotherhood 7,
S. worshipers 1, S. believers 3
sect(s)  194 sectarian(s) 61
255 |||||||||| |||||||||| ||||||
colony  115 community 100, communal 37, obshchestvo 3 255 |||||||||| |||||||||| ||||||
brotherhood  117 bratstvo 4
121 |||||||||| ||
I.G. Samarin 7,  F.M. Shubin 4
Spirit and Life  21 Dukh i zhizn' (Duch i Jizn) 4
25 |||
M.G. Rudomyotkin (~1818-1877) 20 ||
E.G. Klubnikin (1842-1915) 6
P.M. Shubin (1855-1932) 5




prophet(s)  33
prophecy 2, prophecies 6, prophetic 3

alcohol 2, arrest(ed) 12, assault 1,
communist(ic) 9,  crime(s) 6,
delinquen(t, ts, cy) 82, divorce(d) 9,
drink(ing) 37, drunken(ness) 12,
fight(ing) 36, incorrigibility 2, jail 15,
larceny 3, (im)prison(ed) 10, quarrel 9
reckless driving 1, runaway 1, sex 16,
stealing 3,  theft 2, truancy 7, warrant 4
|||||||||| |||||||||| ||||||||
* All incidents of the word are counted., including title, contents and index.

The chart shows that in her 296-page 1932 book, Young used the "Molokan" terms 890 times, or an average of 3 per page (890/296 = 3.0) 44.5 times more than the Prygun terms (890/20 = 44.5), 98% of occurrences (890/910 = 0.978). In contrast, she states that Pryguny (Jumpers) is their actual label and it is the only term shown in her book title, in English and Russian. This is like publishing a book titled "Dogs" on the cover, then on the inside pages saying they are 98% "cats" — totally deceptive!

She mentions the Postoyannye group only 7 times, 35% as often as Prygun (7/20 = 0.35), translates it as "Steady," and defines the term only by citing the Dukh i zhizn'. This indicates that the Russian term (postoyannye ) is used from the perspective of the Dukh i zhizn' the sacred text of the Dukh-i-zhiznik family of faiths. In contrast, Molokane call themselves Molokane, from their perspective.

Frequencies for the term groups Prygun (20) and Dukhobor (18) are about the same.

If Young had done this study in San Francisco, she would have clearly documented the Molokan congregation as a distinct faith from the Prygun congregation, each with their own meeting house a block or 2 apart; and she probably would have included the Baptist, Evangelical and Adventist congregations from Russia in the same neighborhood on Potrero Hill — a totally different and more accurately labeled story of those different folk-protestant faiths from Russia. 

Note, in the last row of the chart above, how many times she discussed deviance topics — at least 276. This count suggests that the impact on society by these immigrants appears to be the main focus of her book. It is also the emphasis of her husband's work. More word count analysis in-progress. 

After her passage on page 64 where she summarized varieties of Staroobryadsty (raskolniki), she states:
Consequently, schisms occurred among the schismatics, creating many varieties of independent sects,(3) whose characteristic trait is as difficult to describe as "the contour of clouds fleeting across the sky."
Next, on page 65, she tries to describe that which is as difficult as cloud shapes — folk-protestant, Spiritual Christian sects:
The Molokan sect, after it was formed from the Dukhobors,(1) divided further; and its most important offshoots are (numbered for clarity):
  1. Subbotniki, or Sabbatarians, or Judaized Russians, who modified Molokan doctrines under the supposed influence of Jewish scholars of the nineteenth century;(2)
  2. Molokan Sect of the River Don, who call themselves "Evangelical Christians" in contradistinction to the
  3. "Spiritual Christians of the Sect of Jumpers" (the former subject themselves to the government of the Empire with few reservations and do not refuse to do military service and to take oaths);(3) and the
  4. Postoyannye [sic], or Steady, who do not jump, denying any religious validity of the ecstasy which sweeps over the individual when under the influence of the Holy Ghost.(4. "See Spirit and Life, page 21. The resemblance of this sect to the Molokans is so close that they attend the same sobranie and even intermarry.")
  1. Molokane were named before Dukhoborttsy, therefore could not have been formed from them. Rather, both groups evolved from Ikonobortsy who probably evolved from various medieval folk-protestant faiths.
  2. Prygun, not Molokan, doctrines and holidays were adapted from Subbotniki. Young extensively confused Pryguny as Molokane.
  3. By placing her clarification of "contradistinction" in parenthesis after "Jumpers", readers may miss her comparison of law abiding Molokan Evangelicals to Pryguny. Later on pages 131-136, she writes that "Molokans" don't salute the flag, refused to register for the draft, take oaths, etc. Unfortunately, she failed to compare Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles with those in San Francisco, where all but one Molokan enlisted during WWII, and they display both the American and Soviet flag when hosting guests.  
  4. Young failed to realize that Postoyannyie and Steady are insulting slang terms used by Pryguny for real Molokane who will not convert to Pryguny. In Prygun jargon, "Molokane are the same as Postoyannyie" can be translated to "the 'dairy eaters' are 'unchanged, constant.' " In Molokan Russian jargon one can say that Dukh-i-zhizniki are postoyannyie users of the Dukh i zhizn'.

In "Glossary" (page 284), Young similarly defines:
'Postoyannyie — "Steady," a sect within the Molokan [sect] which does not recognize any special validity in "jumping." '
She did not know that the Dukhobor heresy was documented after the Molokane heresy, therefore Molokane were actually formed from Ikonobortsy. as were Dukhobortsy. She did not know that Subbotniki did not modify Molokan doctrine, which is why Molokane were insulted by the more zealous and aggressive Spiritual Christians with the label of postoyannyie (steady, steadfast, unchanged, original). It was varieties of Pryguny who mostly adapted Subbotnik holidays and food laws but did not entirely convert to a full Saturday Sabbath. Her major errors are not realizing that postoyannyie is the Prygun-insulting pejorative, a code-word for Molokane, to hide the fact that Pryguny are not Molokane. She was the "mark" of this linguistic scam.

Why did she let herself get fooled? Or, was she really fooled? Did she play along with the definition switch on purpoe? If so what was her purpose?

Note that her definition of Postoyannyie (offshoot 4 above) is from the perspective of the Spirit and Life, a relative definition; like: from the perspective of a dog, a cat is a pest; from the perspective of a cat, a dog is a terrorist; from the perspective of cat, a mouse is food; from the perspective of a mouse, a cat is a terrorist and killer; etc. More troublesome is that after her division of the "Molokan sect" into 4 offshoots (numbered above for clarity), her footnote #4 appears to imply, citing the Spirit and Life that Postoyannye resemble Molokans, therefore she is including them.

In short, on page 65 Young splits the "Molokan sect" into 4 "offshoots", yet only discusses the 3rd "offshoot" "Spiritual Christian Jumpers" who just compiled a new religious text, Dukh-i-zhizn', as if they represent all 4 offshoots.

In my opinion, she failed to properly scientifically classify her subjects.

She did not understand that Postoyannie was a Maksimist pejorative for Molokane, nor that Maksimisty and Pryguny are a different faiths, not Molokan, and were transforming into a new faith: Dukh-i-zhizniki. It was as if she was describing apples, oranges and bananas, only as apples, while ignoring their significant differences, and avoiding the term "fruit."

Would you believe her if she declared that all apples are the same whether round and red, curved and yellow, or round and orange, and small and purple; they are "so close" because they can be placed in the same bowl and eaten with one hand? Would you believe her if she said that dogs make "meow" sounds, hunt at night, and easily climb trees? 

Diaspora Molokane and Pryguny could marry Dukh-i-zhizniki because they were all considered to be of "Zion" for following Klubnikin's prophesy to leave Russia for refuge (pakhod), (Berokoff, page 14), and if they abandoned their Molokan or Prygun faith to be confirmed into a Dukh-i-zhiznik faith. The most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki consider marriage converts from Molokane to be lower class members. Young apparently did not realize that because the few Molokane in Los Angeles had no prayer hall or presbyter, most assimilated(19) while a minority integrated among Dukh-i-zhizniki, mainly by joining the most liberal "Big Church." They were in plain sight, probably met her, but she could not distinguish who was what.

Only one of her published case interviews mentioned Postoyannie. A woman married out, divorced and married a "Steady." She is quoted by Young:
"... women of my character should hold her tongue in 'church.' I was humiliated and broken up over it, ... I just have to keep on trying until they accept me again." (Pilgrims of Russia-town, page 79)
Young's data does not reveal social context, the variety of religious politics among and within congregations. The woman quoted above could be in a zealous or liberal congregation. Her family could or could not have "front-row" males whose presence and public contact could provide social-status protection for her. Her fiancial status is not known. Rich families are more respected by zealots. These unknown social variables would affect the subject's group acceptance, and interpretation of Young's interview data.

Young used the "Spirit and Life" book title 25 times, 5 more than the 20 Prygun terms; and when added to the name count of the 2 prophets/elders (Rudomyotkin, Klubnikin) whose writings constitute most of the new religious text, the "Spirit and Life" terms become 51, or 2.6 times (51/20=2.6) the Prygun terms count of 20; and adding "Ararat" (7) and "Zion" (3) increases "Spirit and Life" terms to 61, 3 times (61/20=3.05) the Prygun terms. Of the 3 prophets/elders, Rudomyotkin is mentioned nearly twice as often as Klubnikin and Shubin combined (20/11=1.8).

Her book is mostly about

Though the "front row" (prestol : престол) position of "prophet" (prorok : пророк) does not exist in Molokan congregations, Young used this term group 41 times.

Young uses the general broader term clusters of "sect-colony-brotherhood" second in frequency compared to the Molokan term cluster; but, even when combined, they compare at 71% of the frequency of the "Molokan" terms ([255+355+115]/890 = .709). She did not know or report that the original label for the first immigrants in 1904 was the Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians.

Due to the high frequency of mixing misleading terms and names, typical readers of The Pilgrims of Russian-town mistakenly infer that Rudomyotkin is the main prophet of Molokans who use the religious text Spirit and Life and jump during services, and their kids are delinquents. A myth. Disinformation. Bad Science.

Closer examination, or a historical revision, shows that her subjects were folk-protestant Spiritual Christian Pryguny, as stated in her title, who are producing a new sacred text they first titled Dukh i zhizn'. They were Spiritual Christians in Russia (heterodox, non-Orthodox Russian citizens, heretics, sektanty), some of them identify as a "brotherhood" community of faiths, not a single faith; but, Young insists on repeatedly labeling them all with an incorrect single term (Molokan), a faith with whom she has no personal experience. She never interviewed a Molokan congregant, yet mentions San Francisco 12 times in her book and presents them all as the same people, based on secondary and tertiary sources. She does not understand that Postoyannie is a pejorative used to dis Molokane, a different faith thriving in San Francisco but extinguished in Los Angeles. The data shows that Young overwhelmingly falsely presented non-Molokane as Molokane. It was like reporting dogs are cats, apples are oranges, red is green, etc.

Did she do this on purpose? If so, what was the purpose? This question could be answered, at least in part, with research in-progress. Readers with inquiring minds, stay tuned, and/or submit your theories.

As a Russian-speaking social scientist, Dr. Young should have recognized that these immigrants were not Molokane. Some were Maksimisty who were insisting that all congregations only adhere to their rituals and new religious text, which some intended to to replace the New Testament. Others were Davidisty, Klunikinisty, Sionisty, etc.

On pages listed in footnote 1, page 35, she describes "revelations" and "prophets" which do not exist in the Molokan faith as positions of elders at the altar table (prestol).

Her false label transfer from Prygun to Molokan appears on page 34:
.. Molokans "jump" and "speak in tongues." This religious ecstasy has won for the Molokans the name of "Jumpers", which designation they accept." ..
Won? Is she saying that Molokane were "awarded" the name Jumpers, due to their outstanding religious ecstasy? My wife Tanya, a born in Russia Molokan, thinks Young was most likely translating победа (pobeda = victory, win, triumph, conquest) rather than выиграл (vyigral = won a contest). The meaning is closer to "earned" rather than "awarded." In any case, Young was wrong. We now know that the people who were labeled Pryguny in Russia came from many faiths, heavily influenced by Люди Боже (Luidi Bozhe = God's People), nicknamed Кысты (Klysty = Whips, Flagellates).

Where, how did she get such an idea?  Let's look at her masters thesis, page 43.

Click to ENLARGE

She composed Chart I from many references to diagram a taxonomy of her study subjects. It is an excellent method that she screwed up. Bozhe moi!

Notice the 3 column headings: I, II and III. The Raskolniki are in column I. Two kinds of Spiritual Christians are in columns II and III, because the government treated them different. Typically only columns II and III were labeled sectaanty (sectarian), many of whom became folk-protestants (Spiritual Christians). Non-rational "Mystics" were more "infectious" and dangerous, because they contaminated the Orthodox with heretic ideas and needed to be isolated, quarantined, from the general population of healthy Orthodox. Those in column III were more likely to be arrested and/or exiled to the farthest territories from Central Russia, and monitored. 

I marked 4 things in color to help us understand how she was thinking, and not thinking, in 1930.
  1. (Green) She says Molokane and Pryguny "are the same" though they are shown in different column categories, and have different labels. So far she is not smarter than a 5th grader.
  2. (Blue) From Ikonobortsy, we know that Molokane were first labeled, then Dukhborsty, which contradicts her statement : "The Old Believers and the
    Mystics overlap."
  3. (Orange) On pages 51-52, she lists these 5 "offshoots of the Molokan sect" but not Pryguny.
  4. (Brown) These are the 2 major divisions of Staroobryadsty (Old Ritualists, "Old Believers"). The other 4 groups in column I below are varieties of Bezpopovtsy, members of which were likely to have transformed into Spiritual Christians.  

She did not recognize, or refused to recognize, that her subjects were a new faith not yet documented, with different rituals, based on a new sacred text, a faith accurately labeled Dukh-i-zhiznik. She appears to ignore the fact that petitioners during W.W.I. identified themselves as Pryguny, as did those who approved printing the Kniga solntse, dukhi i zhizn'. The writing was in plain sight, which she either did not see or ignored.

Drs. Young were professionally noted for being affiliated with the new School of Social Administration developed by the University of Chicago from the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, where he was one of the first instructors and she was among the first graduate students. Dean of the Chicago School, Robert E. Park, who wrote the preface to her book, was nationally recognized as the "father of human ecology." Dr. Erle Young's 1922 Ph.D. thesis is: "The Use of Case Method in Training Social Workers." Together they helped pioneered social research about urban juvenile delinquency.

While appearing credible due to academic affiliations and credentials, her research had major flaws. Perhaps her focus on juvenile delinquency was so narrow that it limited a broader perspective about the faiths of her subject, or the subjects varied too much for her to comprehend how many different faiths were in her sample population, or only a few interacted with her in a formal manner so as not to reveal their diverse faiths. No matter what the reason(s), her work then, like that of all scientists, is subject to scrutiny and improvement.

Book Promotion

In 1932, during her book promotion, the economic depression had started, in Canada Sons of Freedom were falsely called Doukhobors and Mickey Galitzen-Riley won an Olympic Gold Metal in Los Angeles. 

While her book was being promoted, news from Canada was falsely reporting that Sons of Freedom (Freedomites) were crazy nudist communist Doukhobors. She probably protected the Dukh-i-zhizniki in Los Angles by ignoring the Spiritual Christians about 1,300 miles north, and falsely lecturing about the history of "Molokans."   

On May 2, 1932, the Los Angeles Times reported about "200 nude Doukhobors" on page 1: "Doukhobor Nude March Ends In Jail; Itching Powder and Hose Lengths Used by Police in Rounding Up Panders."

About 2 weeks later, on May 18, 1932, the Daily Trojan reported: "Dr. Pauline Young Writes New Book"
"Pilgrims of Russian Town" is the subject of a book by Dr. Pauline Young, wife of Dr. Erle F. Young of the sociology department at S.C., recently published by the University of Chicago press. Information on the book, which is a detailed comprehensive study of the Russian sectarians on Boyle Heights, Los Angles, was compiled by Dr. Young from her study of these people, and is an outgrowth of her masters thesis and her study in the sociology department for Doctor of Dissertation.
In 1933 "Big Church" on Gless street in Flats, was cut in half and moved to Lorena Street. The sunflower see (semichki) vendor followed by moving his wagon across the street, closer to Whittier blvd.

In 1934  the Canadian Government barred Dukhobortsy in British Columbia from voting federally. "The Conservative Prime Minister of Canada ... wanted to bar all Doukhobors in Canada, but he failed to get support of Parliament because of his discriminatory intent."

In November 1935, the American Journal of Sociology, published by the University of Chicago, Drs. Youngs' alma mater, published a paper about Sons of Freedom, falsely labeling them Doukhobors: "Canadian Communists: The Doukhobor Experiment." 
The protest of the Doukhobors took the form of nude parades, massed processions, and finally the burning of school-houses. Special laws were passed forbidding nude parades, and hundreds were arrested, some being sent to an island in the Gulf of Georgia to serve out their term. By the spring of 1935 the prisoners were all paroled to their homes and it seems that the process of assimilation cannot be indefinitely postponed.

In 1937, the Sunday Los Angeles Times ran a series of articles about foreign colonies in the city. The 6th article described 4 types of immigrants from Russia, estimated at 60,000.(54) The "complicated" Russian colony was actually many groups which were clustered for simplicity into 4 major categories for based on religion and origin.
  1. 6000 White "Hollywood Russians" ... Slavic, Orthodox, against Russian government
  2. 30,000 "Russian Jews"... many speak Yiddish ... against Communists
  3. 15,000  "Molokans" [Dukh-i-zhizniki]... Hollenbeck Heights district .. mostly manual workers... distinct in culture and religion, Russian-speaking pacifists, against all war. [5 years later, more than 90% of Dukh-i-zhizniki enlisted in WWI.]
  4. 5000 Ukrainians on Eastside ... another racial group and language
In 1944, the Young's were retired in Modesto, California. They attended the local Jewish synagogue: Congregation Beth Shalom.

Though they lived about a 3-hour drive from San Fransisco, she probably never visited the real Molokane sobranie there. Though they lived about a 30-minute drive from Manteca, she probably never visited the Dukhobor colony there. Though they lived about a 2-hour drive from Kerman, she probably never visited the 2 Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations there. Her published work only covered the various Spiritual Christians from Russia in the East Los Angles district up to about 1930, now named the Boyle Heights district.

In the 1950s, about 20 years of her research gathered to update her 1932 book was lost in a fire. Alex Patapoff told me the update was to be about the socializing contribution of the Y.R.C.A. generation upon the U.M.C.A. and other descendants of Spiritual Christians from Russia in Los Angeles county. (Research in-progress)

In January 1953 her only son shot his wife and himself, and she raised their 3 daughters. 4 months later, in May 1953, Dr. Erle Young died, buried in Modesto.

In 1969, 37 years after Young published her 1932 book, J. K. Berokoff continued to infect the next generations of Dukh-i-zhizniki, scholars and journalists with the false "Molokan" label. Most all remained misinformed today with false history, except YOU, the persistent reader. Congratulations for getting more than half-way though this Taxonomy. Keep on reading, and tell a friend what you learned.

In 1977, Young died and was buried in Modesto, California.

I was told that Maksimist Fred Wm. Prohoroff visited her several times. To my knowledge she never visited real Molokane in San Francisco, nor was invited to lecture to Dukh-i-zhizniki in Los Angeles.

Reasons for deception

Upon learning English, many who lived in their ethnic enclave in Los Angeles became afraid and ashamed to be known by their actual faiths imported from Russia — Pryguny or “Jumpers” in English; Sionisty, Subbotniki and Noviy israili about which local Jews protested in court, or by any other term except the false “Molokan” label, though their religions were not Molokan and the most zealous despised Molokane. Unfortunately their preferred correct general term "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians" faded from popular usage by W.W.II, perhaps sounding too common or American for those who chose to live in America. Maybe it was too long; but not shortened to B.S.C., or Brotherhood. In contrast, the most zealous Russian-born Maksimisty who believed they will return to Mt. Ararat before the Apocalypse, planned to leave soon, also tended to call themselves Pryguny, believed they were "chosen" and were not concerned with establishing themselves in America nor hiding their faiths and ritual books.

Upon arrival in America, most Spiritual Christians remained in the city, or returned to urban life after most of the American land deals failed. (Speeks' report about Hawaii, page 29, is wrong. See above : Demens.) While Maksimisty failed to return to Mt. Ararat, most Klubnikinisty failed to find a land of refuge, and Noviy israil' failed to move to Israel. By default the promised land for the majority transformed into "kingdoms in the city" — diverse adjacent colonies in the Flats and Boyle Heights, among a melting pot of 50+ nationalities and races.

The Southern California metropolis greatly aided these poor immigrant peasants with mild climate, a huge year-round food supply, free meeting rooms, easy access to abundant utilities (water, gas, electric, sewage), free translation services, free medical and dental care, free child day care with baths, free city/county burials, free county court marriages, free education, free supervised playgrounds until dusk, free youth clubs, free supervised sports for youth, free classes for adults by Russian-speaking teachers (English, general education, citizenship, cooking, sewing, shop skills), free job training and placement, free advice (legal, colonization), low-cost convenient public transportation, urban entertainment, local police and fire services, much higher wages than rural life; and a choice of many Protestant faiths and city temptations. They found economic and religious freedom in their urban enclave irresistible when compared to rural alternatives.

After the Molokan Settlement Association failed in Hawai'i in early 1906, most Molokane resettled in San Francisco and most Pryguny-etc. in Los Angeles and Mexico. The minority of Pryguny in San Francisco had no Maksimisty in 1928, rejected the Dukh i zhizn' and kept their original “Holy Jumper” identity until merging with the Molokane when their building was sold in the 1960s. The only absolutist was their Prygun presbyter Alexei John Dobrinen, who insisted on being buried only with Pryguny in East Los Angeles, while his wife (Anastasia) and kids were buried with ne nashi Russian sectarians in Colma.

In Los Angeles, upon learning English, most of the Americanized younger Pryguny-etc. were taught to say they were “Molokan” or "Protestant," while the most aggressive Maksimisty and associated charismatic zealots reported to the press they were Pryguny and Holy Jumpers, and they eventually changed the faith of all congregations in Los Angeles to Dukh-i-zhiznik. Dissenters left the faiths, were pushed out, or were marginalized (allowed to attend if "paid" members, to observe, do as told, but not speak out, challenge or question).

The last active public reporting by Dukh-i-zhizniki in Southern California that they were "Russian Molokan Christian Holy Spiritual Jumpers" was in September 1964 when 2000 gathered in San Pedro to send off 32 people on a ship to Australia. The less zealous majority who remained intensified their identity camouflage and issued a press release on October 2, 1964, stating they were not leaving America.

Reasons for the pre-1930 Prygun-etc. cover-up continued by Dukh-i-zhizniki are extensive:
  • Sensational press about and hatred for radical American Pentecostals also called Holy Jumpers in California before 1904 (a policeman threatened to bomb a meeting, disturbing peace, arranged spiritual marriages, bigamy, unwanted, queer, demonstrations, etc.)
  • Questioning their Christian identity and beliefs in the midst of the hotbed of Pentecostal revival in Los Angeles (mass tent meetings, active evangelism nearby and in media), and differentiating from apostolic dancers, and "Pentecostal Dancers...".
  • Zealous Maksimist prophets and leaders (religious street maneuvers, marching to Los Angeles City Hall, evacuating to mountains for the apocalypse, disharmony; and failed resurrections, exorcisms, and farm colonies).
  • Public investigations, embarrassing news and arrests of Pryguny-etc. (court hearings for disturbing peace, funeral nudity while preparing bodies outside, juvenile gang arrests, work and street gang fights, selling brides, juvenile prostitution, not registering births or deaths, unregistered marriages, not registering for military, selling liquor without license, Jews demanding deportation of these judiazing impostors in court, etc.).
  • 1907 April, in Los Angeles P(F). M. Shubin, during his son's wedding, reported "… that they have believed in the gift of tongues … the leadership of (Maksim) Rudomyotkin to this day … that he will return and lead them to the promised land … they have recently received word from Russia that a prophet had a vision that this leader will soon return to them … They cannot buy more communal land (in Mexico?) because they are going back to Russia." The journalist also mistakes these Maksimisty for staroobryadsty in his next paragraph. Years later, Shubin denounced Rudomyotkin and remained a Prygun by faith until death in 1932.
  • 1909 failed suicide by sweethearts forbidden by the girl's father to marry. Alexis Kottoff 23 shot Anna Sossoeff 16 and himself. Both nearly died in hospital. He was imprisoned 5 years. Zealous father Alex Sossoeff was in debt and needed his daughter to work for him, and not marry a "freethinking" Molokan, educated in a different faith.
  • Immigrants from Russian not appearing patriotic:

— 1903 Anarchist Exclusion Act,
— 1903-1907 Naturalization Act of 1906,
— 1907-1911 Dillingham Commission,
— 1913 California Alien Land Act,
— 1914-1920 Ukrainian Canadian internment,
Immigration Act of 1917,
Espionage Act of 1917,
Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917,
— 1917-1919 Committee on Public Information,
— 1917-1919 American Protective League,
Immigration Act of 1918,
— 1918 Slacker Raids,
Sedition Act of 1918,
— 1918-1919 Overman Committee,
— 1919 California Criminal Syndicalism Act,
— 1919 California Flag Law,
— 1919–1920 First Red Scare,
— 1919–1920 Palmer Raids,
— 1920 19th Amendment,
— 1920-1933 Prohibition,
— 1920 2nd California Alien Land Act,
— 1921 Emergency Quota Act,
Immigration Act of 1924, restricted immigration from Russia
— 1924 death of P.V. Verigin, chairman CCUB (community Doukhbors)
— 1926-1950 "Red Squad" of Los Angeles Police Department,
— 1929-1937 Repariation of 400,000+ Mexicans and American-born kids from U.S.A.
— 1947–1991 Cold War).

  • Pacifists were attacked in 1917 by hyperpatriot (uber-patriot, ultranationalistic) journalists at The Los Angeles Times, and government investigators, who believed the Bible supported war — the Just War Theory.
  • They were confused with Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W., "Wobblies") founded in 1905, who adapted holy jumper/ roller songs and promotion methods as protest songs. In November 1919, Pryguny in Arizona seeking to buy land near Casa Grande were physically forced out town by a gang of angry locals who claimed they were "Wobblies" for refusing to register for the draft, resulting in an investigation by the Pima county attorney.
  • They could be confused with controversial Spiritualists who advertised seances and sessions in Los Angeles in the early 1900s.
  • Contact with Spiritual Christian svobodniki (literally: "free men" but translated as “Freedomites" in the news) who petitioned to resettle in the US (1902) and Hawaii (1906), and return to Russia (1957) and were were mistaken to be Dukhobortsy. In the 1920s journalists called them "Sons of Freedom", or "Sons", perhaps for being somewhat similar to earlier African-American and European political freedom protestors of the same label.
  • Contact with Community Dukhobortsy, C.C.U.B. (Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood), to join communes in Hawaii (1898, 1906), California (Los Angeles 1908, Santa Barbara 1910, Oregon 1923, Mexico 1923-1938), who were mistaken to be nudists, terrorists, arsonists, and “Sons of Freedom.”
  • Other Americans who ridiculed the Spiritual Christian immigrants from Russia for long beards (“bewhiskered,” “whisker street”), peasant clothes, poverty, illiteracy, truancy, alcoholism, youth gangs, and divided them into “ancients” and “moderns.”
    • Americanizing process. The Bethlehem Institutions specialized in transforming foreigners and illiterate peasants into educated, law-abiding, self-sufficient, Christian citizens. The Spiritual Christians were a major government assimilation(19) project for decades. Neighboring Jews (Hebrews) from the Russian Empire who arrived earlier were abandoning Judaism for Americanism, intermarrying, buying houses, establishing businesses, becoming non-kosher. The Molokane, Subbotniki and Armenian Pryguny rapidly intergrated and assimilated.(19) Many girls were hired as maids by integrated(19) wealthy Russians, and Americans.
  • Confusion over the location of the prophetic “South” or "East."
    • The majority of Maksimisty who stayed near Mt. Ararat claim those who left to America had abandoned their prophetic promised land and apocalypse. Maksimisty gathered in Los Angeles planned to return to their villages near Mt. Ararat up to 1945, then resolved to remain in the city as Dukh-i-zhizniki, definitely not as Pryguny or Molokane.
    • Before 1833 in Tavria, New Russia, Spiritual Christians had contact with a faction of German protestants who were following their German prophesy to go "south" to Mt. Zion (Jerusalem) for an 1836 Apocalypse, inspired by Jung-Stilling's fictional religious fantasies about refuge in the Far East. Many who were sick or tired, settled near Odessa. When some of these Germans got as far south as the Caucasus, they were not allowed visas to continue out of Russia, so they declared Mt. Ararat to be the location for the 2nd coming of Christ. M.G. Rudomyotkin apparently adopted this German prophesy for his Zion. A more documented and discussed "Great Trek" (pakhod) occurred among varieties of Mennonites in 1880-1882 to Turkestan, Central Asia, to meet Christ in 1889.(23)
    • Descendants of Maskimisty who immigrated to Arizona after 1911, revived their prophesy to go “south” and first chose Mexico in the 1920s, then chose the Southern Hemisphere in the 1960s, but others divided between Australia and South America. A few spoke of Israel to align with Biblical Zionists.
    • Denials in 1939 and 1945 by the Turkish government for Dukh-i-zhizniki to return to Kars province and rejoin those who never left the territory of Mt. Ararat, the MGR prophetic promised land. Most remaining in Kars province relocated to the Northern Caucasus in 1962. About 2010, a prophecy to return to Kars caused some to return to their former homes in Turkey from Stavropol, Russia.
    • During the Cold War, Dukh-i-zhiznik prophets in Arizona and Southern California concurred that “south” for them was the southern hemisphere where nuclear fallout was least likely during the feared WWIII apocalypse.
      • Attempts since the 1950s to establish colonies in South America (Uruguay and Brazil) by various groups from Southern California, perhaps to live near Russian colonists already there (New Israelites, Mennonites, Staroobryadtsy, Subbotniki), secure permanent conscientious objector status, and/or form a rural colony.
      • 1960s mass migration to Australia, but not to one location, resulting in a wider geographic dispersion than in the U.S., and dividing into about 10 congregations. Many returned to the U.S. or assimilated.(19)
      • Baja California, Mexico pakhod site rented by Staryi Romanovskii sobranie (Blue Top, Clela Ave.), Montebello.
  • Deadbeat faith — Organizations and individuals repeatedly refused to pay debts, and commit fraud and theft, unless arrested. Many professed Christians revel their ugly "deadbeat faith" when it is personally financially advantageous to bully and steal from other members and charity funds.
    • 1905 — The Mexico Guadalupe colony neglected to assure a full 7% commission to de Blumenthal for arranging their land purchase from Donald Barker, an attorney. In 1909, I.G. Samarin sued the seller for half the commission of $3425 in Superior Court. (First Prygun court case, research in-progress.)
    • 1906 — 110 people went to Hawaii, many expecting to get rich quick by flipping homestead land with little effort. They found wages lower than in California cities and refused to join the Molokan Settlement Association, led by John Kurbatoff, or work as a team; and defaulted on their agreement to purchase land for $5.69/acre. Financiers lost $20,000. Government lost most of a year trying to accommodate their changing demands.
    • 1945 — After World War II, Dukh-i-zhiznik conscientious objectors (COs) refused to pay the $17,024 balance, about half, of their Civilian Public Service (CPS) camp bill, scamming 3 peace churches. (Research complete, to be posted.)
    • 1974 — The LA-UMCA refused to pay $20 for janitorial service ($4/hour for 5 hours) causing the Recreation Committee to quit in 1974, and the Board never honestly reporting to members. Social programs diminished thereafter.
    • 1976 — The Molokan Agricultural Colony (MAC) refused to refund shares to disgruntled Alex A.W. Kotoff family after they departed from the Mato Grosso, Brazil, commune. Kotoff sued MAC (Efseaffs) in court to get refunded. (To be posted.)
    • 2002 — The Heritage Club refused to pay for administrative costs (less than 2%) to protect and deliver a $1.8 million donation from the Estate of Dr. John A. Shubin, yet obeyed Morrie Adnoff's order to secretly give $600,000 (30%) in hush-money bribes to delusional greedy members to protect his business image and lucrative city rubbish contracts worth many millions to himself, and those who supported him. Significantly, the only mediation hearing occurred on the morning of September 11, 2001 in the midst of a news marathon now known as "9-11." No accounting was reported to their membership. The deadbeat Heritage Club perpetrated the largest charity fraud and scam in Dukh-i-zhiznik history. (Research complete, to be posted.)
    • 2004 — The Dukh-i-zhiznik HH-UMCA (Hacienda Heights, CA) supported a theft of $900+ from the Arizona sobranie bank account, and theft of property (meeting hall, cemetery, about 2 acres) by publishing false names in their 2004 and 2008 directories thus reporting them as legitimate presbyters and members of their Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths. The phony board members then stole $300,000 in cash by isolating their senile presbyter, John J. Conovaloff from his wife and children. (Research complete, to be posted.)

The simple, non-threatening and unique term “Molokan” was simply ideal to distinguish the majority Spiritual Christians (Pryguny, Klubnikinisty, Maksimisty, etc.) in Los Angeles from Russian Bolshevik immigrants, Russian Jews, American Pentecostal “holy jumpers,” and to hide their actual faiths. Only a few families were actually Molokane in Los Angeles, and either lacked a presbyter and/or were too few to establish a congregation, and any effort to form a Molokan congregation was attacked by those promoting the Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn'. Upon immigration some joined other Russian-speaking Protestant churches in Los Angeles, like the Presbyterians downtown, Russian Baptists in The Flat(s) and Russian Evangelic Christians in Boyle Heights.

A neutral sounding simple label was essential for both the religious zealots (ancients), and Americanized (moderns) who quickly learned English. The moderns could get education and good jobs by appearing American. Ancients' oral history demands hiding their secret faiths from non-believers and the government, hence most falsely reported they were “dairy-eaters,” “Molokans,” pacifists, Protestants, etc. anything that appears respectable in English except Pryguny, Holy Jumpers, Spirit Jumpers, Maksimisty, Sionisty, New Israelites, etc.

Pryguny never claim to be Maksimisty. Maksimsity sometimes claim to be Pryguny. In a semantically abusive compromise, zealots ganged up on their enemy and claimed to be the "True Molokans," or simply "Molokans." Because Dukh-i-zhizniki had little contact with, or opposition from, actual Molokane organized 400 miles away in Northern California, they did as they pleased in Southern California as fractionated unregulated congregations.

Having arrived at the American promised land, Spiritual Christians were free to join any faith in America, which most did. Some camouflaged their Russian heritage by legally changing their Russian surnames, or Americanizing them.

Andrews — Androff, Veronin
Bolder — Bolderoff
Brewer — Pivovaroff
Cherney — Chernikoff
Chick — Chickenoff, Chickinoff
Conway — Konovaloff
Corney — Corneyff
Domane — Domansky
Durain — Urane
Eagles — Arinin, Orloff
Egnatu — Egnatoff
Eleen — Elinov
Fettis — Fettesoff, Fettisoff
Golf — Goulokin
Jackson — ________?
Johnson — Varonin
Kalp — Kalpakoff
Kariff — Bogdanoff
Karp — Carpoff
Kash — Kashirsky
Kazy — Kasimoff ?
Kissell — Kisseloff, Kesseloff
Klubnik — Klubnikin
________? — Kochergen
Kott — Kotoff
Emerald — Kriakin
Krase — Krasilnikoff
Cousins — Kuznetsoff
Hall — Hallivichoff, Golovachev
Martin — Fetesoff
Maxwell — Mackshanoff
Lashin — Laschenco
Liege — Ledieav?
Leigh — ________?
Martin — Slivkoff
Melnick — Melnikoff
Mosser — Moiseve
Niles — Gvozdiff
Pluss — Plujnkoff
Preston — Popoff
Remmy — Rudometkin
Riley — Galitzen
Ruddy — Rudometkin
Saber — Tikhunov
Samoff — Semenisheff
Seaking — Syapin
Shubin — Saltikoff
Somers — Somaduroff
Stubin — Stupin, Steuben
Tolmage — ______?
Sharon — Chernabieff
Thatch — _______?
Thomas/Tolmas — Tolmasoff
Young — _______?
Wolf — Volkoff
Wren — Uren
—— Count = 57 ——

Many Americanized Spiritual Christian youth did not like to kiss old people or the same sex, the long services in Russian (a foreign language to them), hard backless benches, old-world traditions and clothes, and/or be forced to jump; and, homophobics hated same-sex holy-kissing (brother/sister kiss).

By the 1940s, most all U.S. descendants of Pryguny outside of Northern California who remained in the faith transformed into Dukh-i-zhizniki with varying degrees of acceptance of their “new ritual” (noviy obryad). About 90% of Pryguny descendants in the U.S. rejected the new Dukh-i-zhiznik faith to join organized American faiths, many joining or attending in groups. After learning about Protestant Christianity in America, many doubted that their ancestors were Christian. (Can you be Molokan and Christian at the same time?) Some were ostracized for questioning the elders about beliefs and rituals, a process which continues more than 100 years after immigration.

After 100 years, the “Molokan” brand-jacking continues to confuse the people it intended to protect from deportation and shelter from discrimination. Though a majority of Dukh-i-zhizniki appreciate aspects of their Russian cultural heritage, most do not know that real Molokane accept the divorced and intermarried, that Molokane celebrate the Birth of Christ (Christmas), Molokane do not demand peasant Russian dress for worship or beards on men, parting hair in middle, and other typical characteristics of Dukh-i-zhizniki. After a century, most diaspora descendants live scattered in cities, melted into America, and do not know their history or relatives, or care to know.

Zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki continue to shun, insult and chase out non-conformists of their rituals, effectively reducing their membership, and either causing new congregations to form or ostracizing members forever. Some of the most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki believe Molokane are their historic enemy, and dogmatically scorn Molokane, Pryguny, Subbotniki and Americanized members as heretics, yet insist in print to the government and to each other that they are “Molokans,” even the “True Molokans.”

In Russia their enemy was the Orthodox government and Church. During the first 2 decades in America their enemy was the government and other faiths, until they were denied returning to Turkey. After 1940, the American-born Dukh-i-zhizniki took command and identified new enemies within their own faiths and families. Today the worst enemy of these self-professed ethnic “Molokans” are other self-professed ethnic “Molokans.” Dukhizhiznizki still retain the Old Russian Orthodox law that apostasy and proselytizing are crimes worse than murder, and theft is not a crime. Diaspora prophet and pundit, Fred Vasilich Slivkoff, since the 1960s often quipped: “We fled Russia to escape prosecutions of the Orthodox Church, came to America and invented our own 'Orthodox Church'!” Slivkoff refers to strict unwritten rules about behavior, dress, rituals, language, etc. Since the 1990s, a Los Angeles elder singer and historian James John Samarin quotes Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

In contrast, to the above two comments about their new tribal Orthodoxy, the late "Big Church" elder, Alex Shubin, summarized: "Dukh-i-zhizniki Molokans are the most democratic people in the world. Every one does as he damn pleases!"

A clash of animositites among Dukh-i-zhizniki resulted in a variety of independent congregations and individuals, including this free-speech website.

To get a privilege

As was done in Old Russia, changing religious identity to get a privilege was done in America. The following 3 incidents further illustrate the name confusion problem.

No photo on driver's license — A court ruling in 1984 in California legally allowed Benjamin Stackler, not of Spiritual Christian descent, who testified that he was a member of a Molokan church of one member (himself), to not show his photo on his driver's license, using a 1964 Dukh-i-zhiznik precedent (by John "Ivan" Shubin, 1963). The truth is that all Molokane have photos on their passports and documents with no religious code against photographs. This is like a chicken that can't quack telling everyone it is a duck, and everyone, including the government, believing it is a duck, not questioning why it does not look, walk or quack like a duck. The same holds for Dukh-i-zhizniki who are not Molokane or Pryguny but falsely tell everyone they are, register their organizations with false terms, and falsely title their publications and property signs. Even though a court ruled Stackler was "Molokan," the American Dukh-i-zhizniki would not have allowed him to join their congregations because he was ne nash (not ours), nor would they bury him. Who is he? Он чей?

Remove our names — In August 1997 the Pivovaroff brothers, Morris (California USA) and Jim (South Australia), attended the first Molokan Youth Conference, held in Tambov, Russia. With them were 3 younger family members (Morris M. Morris Pivovaroff Jr, Micheal John Mendrin, Steven James Shubin) — 5 Dukh-i-zhizniki. When their names were posted on the event attendance roster on the Internet, read by many lurking Dukh-i-zhizniki, their relatives were immediately chastised in both countries before they returned home, because their names were shown on a web page with Molokane and the name of the Tambov Orthodox priest. They were "unclean" sinners by association. The Pivovaroff group left the conference early and did not get to tour the oldest Orthodox church in Tambov, so they did not meet the priest. For months the brothers were in a frenzy calling my parents in Arizona, demanding that their names be removed. I did not know about their fits during the 3 months I was in Russia, getting married and collecting data. In Tambov they said they will come to our Prygun wedding, but never contacted us. It was excruciating for the Pivovaroff brothers, as if they were facing excommunication or worse. The original Molokan Home Page website was hosted by a college professor, which I could not edit until I returned to Arizona 5-6 months after the conference, though I could add news by e-mail courtesy of a Tambov university when I was in Tambov. Molokane in San Francisco who attended the same conference were bewildered. Why would someone claim to be a "Molokan" brother, attend their event in good faith, take pictures with them, sing with them, pray with them, eat with them, then demand shouting that they were not there? At the same time the Pivovaroff's believed in the Dukh i zhizn' and stated that all "Molokan" congregations who use the Dukh i zhizn' in services must be Maksimsity (actually Dukh-i-zhizniki).

Molokan wedding — 15 years later, on July 15, 2012, elder Morris M. Pivovaroff spoke in the San Francisco Molokan prayer hall during services. (I was there doing archival research.) Like a chameleon, he again changed his identity. He stated every reason he could think of that he was a "Molokan" (We are all one big Molokan brotherhood. My heritage village was named Semyonovka, after Semyon Uklein who founded our Molokan faith. My grandfather attended the 100th Molokan Jubilee for Religious Freedom in Voronstovka in 1905. He also attended the 150th celebration in San Francisco. I attended the 1992 Molokan international convention in Russia, at which he refused to speak on video. My family attended the 1997 Molokan youth conference in Tambov, after which he in a panic demanded that his entire family not be listed (Which have been restored due to this declaration). I attended weddings and funerals in your church. People here attended my wedding in Kerman. You prayed for my sick relatives.) During lunch after sobranie, when asked by the Molokan presbyter Kapsof: "Who is Rudomyotkin? How can he claim to be king of the spirits?" M.M. Pivovaroff quickly stated: "I am not saying anything."* After lunch, Pivovaroff met with the Molokan komitet to petition that his youngest daughter and her American fiance be allowed to join the Molokan faith and be married in San Francisco. On October 7, Ona and Brian Rose alone joined the Molokan faith, with no relatives on either side attending to participate in their ceremony. (I happened to be there again doing archival research.) None attended their shower. Immediate family and a few friends attended the wedding held, I was told, in May 2013, far fewer than would have attended a wedding at his "Mother" sobranie in Kerman. If all congregations are of the same faith, why didn't the couple just get married in Kerman to save all that driving?
* On Sunday November 6, 2016, about noon, at Dom Maleetvee (Orloff sobranie, Don Julian Ave, La Puente CA) after service prayer for a pomenki, during greeting of out-of-town guests, Pivovaroff greeted the presbyter with the Maksimist identity greeting (Parginal, Assuringal, Yuzgoris! : Паргинал, Ассурингал, Юзгорис!).
There are many such examples. The above are 3 which I witnessed, and I am sure many readers have many more examples which few will talk about. Shame and fear of recording their actual history is ingrained among most zealous Spiritual Christians which misleads many who try to understand them, including their progeny.

9. Name Confusion

By joining many faiths into one label, their original differences and histories are being lost.  Scientists could say this conflation is caused by a cognitive bias, creating a normalization of deviance.

A few examples of mislabeling:
Molokane have been confused with Mennonites, Mormons, Quakers, Hungarians, Dukhobortsy, Svobodniki, Sons of Freedom, Old Ritualists, Pryguny and a new religion formalized in the U.S.— Dukh-i-zhizniki — for many reasons.
  • Terms used to describe the heterodox (non-Orthodox, dissidents, heretics, sectarians) varied by time, user and geography. At different times and places in the Russian Empire, the same non-Orthodox people could have been confusingly called khlysty, shalaputy, novye skoptsy, kvakery, mormoni, and/or molokane. All of these terms were used to identify and describe the many of the same dissidents, as synonyms.
  • The term Mormon was used about 1869 in Samara oblast to describe hybrid Russian sectarians influenced by God's People (Luidi Bozhe, khlysty) who practiced having several spiritual wives, and/or polygamy. The term Molokan was used to generally label nearby sectarians, hence molokan-mormoni.
  • During immigration to North America, most reporters were confused about labeling Spiritual Christians. In Old Russia, the term kvakeri (Quakers) was used to describe all sectarians because they were suspected of being infected by European Quakers, Protestants. The term “Russian Quakers” was used in the press to announce the arrival of each non-Orthodox group from Russia — Mennonity (1880s), Dukhobortsy (1899); and in 1904 Molokane, Pryguny, and Subbotniki. Sometimes the Spiritual Christians were mislabeled — Pryguny called Dukhhobortsy, Doukhobors called Molokans or Dunkers, Subbotniki called Molokans, Molokans called Old Believers, etc.
  • The two most widespread and long-term errors were first primarily spread by newspapers, then adopted by the zealous faiths as semantic camouflage:
    • calling svobodniki, Freedomites, and “Sons of Freedom” by the groups they left — Dukhobortsy;
    • calling Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki as "Molokans" because that label had a more popular and respected history.
  • During immigration, agents, mainly Demens, presented all Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles as Molokane, because:
    • the first group to arrive, or planning to arrive, and announced to be arriving, may have been wealthy Molokane, but followed by many poor Pryguny, Maksimisty; and other non-Orthodox folk-protestant tribes (sectarians);
    • Tolstoy's petition letters, published world-wide, listed Molokane not Pryguny nor other sectarians;
    • to differentiate them from American “Holy Jumpers” who were hated in California; and,
    • to differentiate them from a protesting faction dissenting from Dukhobortsy who were also trying to come to California from Canada.
  • Many land agents are identified in the press as representing the "Molokans." The immigrants were a hot commodity to get out of the overcrowded slums, to sell land to, and for cheap White labor.
  • In January 1905 during immigration, The Los Angeles Times explains 3 labels — they are known as the “Molokane,” “They are sometimes spoken of as “Russian Quakers.” Their proper designation is the “Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians” — and they eat kosher but are “not Jews.” Afterward, newspapers mixed the labels and spellings for Pryguny (Prigooni, Priguni, Prugoni, Jumpers, Holy Jumpers, ...) and Molokane (see transliterations above), often in the same article; and in books.
  • In Los Angeles the term Pryguny was typically used in the media for Maksimisty and Sionisty to distinguish the most noisy zealous jumpers from the quieter more civil Spiritual Christians trying to integrate.(19)
  • On 20 February 1906, The Honolulu Evening Bulletin reported immigration planning concerns: “Don't Want To Mix Molokans Of Different Religions At Kapaa.” The reporters figured out that the "Molokans" presented in Hawaii were not a single religious group; they were several religions. No one reported which were the real Molokane? A week later, their host plantation owner Spalding mistakenly said they were Hungarians. In Hawaii, Pryguny and Molokane held separate prayer services, and 3 conflicting leaders were mentioned. The Hawaiian papers never reported much detail about these different religions or sects, but did say that some were "religious fanatics, and some "jumped."
  • On 21 April 1907, a long article in the Los Angeles Herald reported the "Milk Drinkers" or Molokanes" are not like the "Holly Jumpers," and Fillip N. (sic) Shubin says they believe their leader Maxim Rudomedkin (sic) will return from the dead "...and lead them to the promised land, and for this reason the local leaders of the colony, which now numbers 2000, cannot decide on an offer of land made them, as they have recently received word from Russia that a prophet has had a vision that this leader will soon return to them, although he would now be over 150 years old." Some Maksimisty (not Molokane) believe in the resurrection of Maksim G. Rudomyotkin.

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  • Spiritual Christian conscientious objectors changed their identity each generation:
    • Upon arrival in 1904, they called themselves a "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians."
    • In 1917, during World War I (1914-1918), a notarized resolution and petition listed 259 “Russian Sectarians, Spiritual Christians - Jumpers” in Los Angeles who registered as required by law for the draft.
    • In 1941, during World War II (1939-1945), the next generation in Los Angeles changed their unofficial label to “Russian Molokan Spiritual Christian Jumpers” and “Molokan” or “Molochan” in short.
    • During the Korean War (1950-1953), “Molokan Spiritual Jumpers” was used by Wm. Chernekoff, Jr. in ; and “Russian Spiritual Christian Jumpers, Molokan” was used by Jack Kalpakoff in their respective 1952 court appeals.
    • During the Vietnam War (1955-1975), Molokan Spiritual Jumpers was also used by N.A. Klubnikin in his 1957 court appeal; but in 1958, Wm. Wm. Prohoroff III only identifies his faith as Molokan 4 times in his court appeal.
    • By 2000, Dukh-i-zhizniki are only self-presented with the single term “Molokan” on the former "The Molokan C.O. and the Molokan Library Web Site" (, taken offline 2012) listed by the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, and in nearly all news articles and obituaries.
  • In 1917 while in jail in Arizona protesting draft registration, their translator John Kulikoff argued with a reporter that they are “Holy-Jumpers” not “Molokans,” but the press did not learn.
  • In November 1917, author/activist/screen writer Upton Sinclair published The Profits of Religion: An Essay in Economic Interpretation, with a chapter about Holy Rolling and Holy Jumpers. He just moved to Monrovia, California, and was famous for his 1906 expose of immigrant exploitation, The Jungle, which shocked the public and changed food laws. In California he ran for U.S. Representative (1920), U.S. Senate (1922) and California Governor (1932). In 1923 he was arrested in San Pedro for reading the U.S. Bill of Rights at a public rally.
  • In 1918, University of Southern California (U.S.C.) graduate student Lillian Sokoloff, a Home Teacher at Utah Street School, estimated by survey that 94% of non-Orthodox faiths from Russian (Spiritual Christians, sectarians) in Los Angeles were Pryguny, a statistic ignored to this day, and by every scholar who cited her paper, surprisingly including Pauline Young and Ethel Dunn and everyone who cited their articles.
  • Though Pauline Young's 1932 book is clearly about Pryguny by title (English and Russian), she intentionally changed the name of the religion, and censored and omitted many events, probably to present them as potentially good American citizens, not to be deported. Young uses the term “Molokan” 890 times, while quoting from 24 pages of the Dukh i zhizn', occasionally stating they call themselves Pryguny. Even though she cites Sokoloff (1918) and Speek (1921), their published classification terms are ignored (or censored?). Young failed to recognized that Pryguny changed their faith to Dukh-i-zhiznik during the course of her research. After her book was published, Young testified to the U.S. immigration service that cultural "Molokans" will make good citizens.(cite)
  • The original documented American label «Братскiй Союзъ Духовныхъ Прыгуновъ» (Bratskii Suiz Dukhhovnykh Prygunov : Fraternal Union of Spiritual Jumpers) was abandoned in favor of labels including the words Христиан (Khristian : Christian) and Молокан (Molokan), even though those terms did not appear in the original label. Many variations appeared, all shortened to the Russian term Molokan, rather than the English term "Dairy-eater," a form of code switching and religious propaganda.
  • During World War II, more than 740 “Russian Molokans” enlisted in the military, though the minority of about 172 (23%) were Molokane from San Francisco, 77% were Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki. Compare to 76 recorded for Civilian Pubic Service, of which only 1 was Molokan from San Francisco. 13 were CO absolutists who chose jail, 1 was Molokan, but 3 of those later enlisted, leaving 10 absolutists total. In the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, only one, Pete A. Wren, is shown as “Young Russian Christian Spiritual Jumpers [Molokan]”.
    • The 76 professed COs did not pay half of their camp fees. To avoid jail, they cheated and scammed the National Service Board of Conscientious Objectors. (Deadbeat faith, unpaid debt : $17,024)
  • In 1955, Jack Kalpakoff appealed his 1952 case in the U.S. 9th District Court of Appeals " a member of the 'Russian Spiritual Christian Jumpers, Molokan'..." (217 F.2d 748 (9th Cir. 1955))
  • In 1955, William Chernekoff Jr. appealed his 1952 case in the U.S. 9th District Court of Appeals “...stating that his religious training and beliefs as a member of the Molokan Spiritual Jumpers ...” (219 F.2d 721 (9th Cir. 1955))
  • In 1957, Nick Allen Klubnikin appealed his draft status in the U.S. 9th District Court of Appeals as a “member of a sect called Molokan Spiritual Jumpers” (227 F.2d 87 (1955), Case No. 14628)
  • In 1958, Wm. Wm. Prohoroff III identifies his faith only as Molokan, 4 times. (259 F.2d 694, 695 (9 Cir., 1958)
  • On September 25, 2001, the U.S. Selective Service System received a letter from a Los Angeles Dukh-i-zhiznik asking to be recognized as “Russian Molokan Christian Spiritual Jumpers” (page 13), which is the only single use of the term “Jumpers” in “The Young Molokan and Military Service,” compared to use of “Molokan” 41 times. (Letter taken off-line in 2012)
  • In 1964, The Los Angeles Times reported a 6-word description, “Russian Molokan Christian Holy Spiritual Jumpers” called “Molokans” moving to Australia. 2,000 prayed at the dock for the 32 who left.
  • In Berokoff's 1969 book Molokans in America the title and text incorrectly state "Molokan(s)" 435 times, and he scrambles the labels — Brotherhood, Spiritual Christian, Prygun, Jumper, Dukhovnye, Postoyannie, etc. Only once at the end (page 203) when quizzed by a Russian professor about the difference between Molokans in Los Angeles and San Francisco, does Berokoff clarify: "7. The title of our church body in Russian is: Dukhovnaye Christiani Pryguny." His faith was Klubnikinist Dukh-i-zhiznik, NOT Molokan.
  • In 1998, Los Angeles Dukh-i-zhiznik presbyter (presviter) George Samarin, great-grandson of I.G. Samarin, and brother of Dr. William Samarin, questioned an article published in Christian History: ”... how was it possible for others to be 'the first' to speak in tongues in Los Angeles in 1906?“ Though Samarin had a good library of Spiritual Christian history, he apparently believed that his people delivered the charismatic Holy Spirit to America.
  • Sect has a bad connotation in English. Most do not know the historic Russian religious term sektanti, (sectarian) simply means “an ethnic Russian, who is not Orthodox,” or a “heretic” and “non-believer” to the Orthodox Church.
  • The short label Molokane (dairy-eaters, молокане) is unique and respectable in America when translated, unlike Pryguny, and is easier to pronounce, and more polite (less harsh) to say in public in the early 1900s. It is not accurate when referring to Dukh-i-zhizniki, a completely different faith.
  • No descriptive term for Dukh-i-zhizniki existed, or was wanted until a world directory was proposed. Dukh-i-zhizniki believe they must hide their faith, though it was partially described many times in the literature and in the courts. Though some devout Maksimisty are not afraid to self-identify among Spiritual Christians, they rarely use or explain that term (Maksimist) with outsiders (ne nashi) and non-believers.
  • Western scholars, not entirely familiar with Eastern Orthodox religious history, extrapolate what they understand about the Catholic-Protestant split upon the Russian Orthodox-sectarian split, as Orthodox-Protestant, ignoring major difference between Spiritual Christians in Russia and European Protestants. See: Nielsen, Donald A. "Sects, Churches and Economic Transformations in Russia and Western Europe," International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Summer, 1989), pages 493-522.
  • Relatively little was published in English about Spiritual Christians compared to Protestants, though the Eastern Protestantism is about as diverse as Western Protestantism. More scholarly articles are appearing due to the recent efforts of a post-perestroika generation of scholars — Drs. Bowen, Breyfogle, Clay, Inikova, Nikitina, Petrov (Molokan), Werth, Zhuk and others.
  • The nationalistic, ethnocentric Russian news still confuses and scrambles the Orthodox sektanty within the sektanty, with foreign faiths, and with Orthodox heretic Staroobryadtsy.

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10. Web sites by and about Spiritual Christians

Reader beware! Many websites, most temporary, were started in the United States by Dukh-i-zhizniki falsely identified as Molokane. Research about Spiritual Christians on the Internet is in-progress.

Authentic Spiritual Christian Molokan information is extensively posted on 4 websites in Russia and this one ( in the U.S.:
  • Духовные христиане-молокане ( — "Spiritual Christian Molokans" was launched in 1997 from Tambov city by Sergei Petrov, whose ancestors lived there. Assisted by Viktor Tikunov (presviter Svobodka, Tula) and others, Petrov has been scanning and posting every text and audio file he can get for this extensive project in-progress. Find 100s of original journals, articles (back to 1906), books (back to 1805), audio songs and sermons from around the world, information about other Spiritual Christian faiths, references and a guestbook — the most extensive Molokan library online.

  • Духовные христиане-молокане (сдхм.рф) (original URL:, offline 6 months, Dec. 2012- Jul. 2013) — Launched in 2007, this is the official Molokan youth website of the international organization Союз духовных христиан — молокан (СДХМ) (Union of Spiritual Christian Molokans — USCM), Kochubeevskoe, Stavropol' province, Russian Federation. Registration required for accessing forum and extensive library of documents. Indexing their journals for English readers is in progress at Vest' (News).

  • По Следам Молоканства ( — "In the footsteps of Molokanism" was launched in September 2007 from Moscow by Viktor Tikunov, presviter Sloboka sobraniya, Tula oblast. His news blog covers topics about the history of Spiritual Christians, primarily Molokane, some on Dukhobortsy, songs, books, and spiritual explanations.

  • Генеалогия молокан () original URL: молокане.рф — "Molokan Genealogy" was launched in April 2011 by a team led by German Strelnikov (Facebook). How to translate. On February 3, 2009, he started a continuing extensive thread on Генеалогический форум ВГД (The genealogy forum: "All Russia Family Tree") : Молоканство : история, переселения, переписи, съезды и другое (Molokanism : history, migration, census, conventions, and more). He also started or posted on at least 9 other topics which I listed on Spiritual Christian Genealogy Resources. In 2015, this site merged with and moved to

Spiritual Christian Dukh-i-zhizniki
  • (in Russian) — This mislabeled "Molokan" domain name is the only Russian-language web site specifically about and for Dukh-i-zhizniki, M.G Rudomyotkin, and their precursor Prygun and Khlyst faiths. Launched in 200_ by Vasili Vasilich Konovalov, Pyatigorsk, Stavropol'skii krai, Russian Federation. V.V. Konovalov is a second-cousin to me, about 50 years old, and admires the late Arizona Dukh-i-zhiznik prophet Wm.Wm. Prohoroff. He never attended Molokan services, but did attend Prygyn meetings in Pyatigorsk, where I first met him and his father in 1992, and his family at their Dukh-i-zhiznik home meetings where they only pray with a Dukh i zhizn' on the table, no Bible. After he wed, he only attends Dukh-i-zhiznik meetings in the south Stavropol area. He is a friend of Pyotr and Olya Shubin who moved to Australia, from Russia. He presents material and photos he gathered on a trip to visit Dukh-i-zhizniki in Armenia.

    Since 2007, the site has been funded and aided by diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki in Queensland province, Australia, with some input from U.S. Dukh-i-zhizniki who fund him as their research agent. The site sells and trades copies of documents and videos about Rudomyotkin, Pryguny and Khlysty, with general opinions on historic accuracy and value from a Dukh-i-zhiznik perspective. Comments include : "not a researcher, lack objectivity, romantic, naive, nothing special, nothing concrete, unflattering, Soviet ideology, gossip, myths, not interesting, mediocre, difficult to digest, dumped into a pile, almost impossible, perverted, miserable, terrible, not even close, far from truth, anti-sectarian, dirt, solid dirt, complete rip-off, nothing original, psychological drama," etc. The comments are mainly critical of official Russian documentation, favoring "independent evaluation" and not those which deviate from how some want their Dukh-i-zhiznik history to be gloriously written. The account was suspended about April 2016 due to not properly registering the site, no valid email address.

  • The Molokan Network ( — A monitored bulletin board, discussion group launched by Jeremy Lediaev, and friends, from the Kerman area, Central California. Contains years of youth social and religious threads about Dukh-i-zhiznik events and issues. Most content is public, registrations is required to post. Now administered from Los Angeles by Tim Slavin.

  • Molokan Underground ( — A monitored bulletin board, discussion group administered by Dukh-i-zhiznik youth in East Los Angeles County, California. Registration is more limited than the Molokan Network, allowing only people known to the administrators to be practiscing Dukh-i-zhizniki. Some content is public, screened registration is required to post. As of January 18, 2013 : "Our members have made a total of 40,898 posts in 18,698 threads.We currently have 350 members registered."

  • Facebook.: Molokan Outfits — Handmade women's items in Armenia. Offline

  • Molokans Northwest ( — Launched in February 2015 representing 3 of 5-6 Dukh-i-zhiznik unidentified congregations in Oregon. Contact names listed : James M. Berokoff , Gabriel A. Federoff, George G. Sessoyeff, and John G. Sessoyeff. Their actual faiths are revealed by holy days. This is the first website to represent Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations, though limited.(7)

  • (In-progress)
More about Dukh-i-zhiznik websites ... (in-progress) ...

Spiritual Christian Dukhobory (spirit-wrestlers) — A comprehensive list of 40+ Doukhobor-created web sites with links to 100+ related web sites is maintained by attorney, genealogist, historian Jonathan Kalmakoff, founder of the "Doukhobor Genealogy Website." Since before Dukhobortsy arrived, the Canadian press has persistently mislabeled all Spiritual Christian groups in Canada with the Doukhobor or other false labels, even non-Russian groups, sometimes calling them Molokans. These mistakes originating in Canada have been repeated around the world.

11. Classification


Molokane, Pryguny, and Dukh-i-zhizniki can easily be differentiated by their use of songs for worship. All melodies are memorized and sung without instruments.

Molokane sing and read only from the Russian Bible. Diaspora occasionally read from an English Bible for non-Russian-speakers. Molokane do not use a songbook or prayerbook during worship, nor are these books on their altar table (престол : prestol). Molokane may sing borrowed songs after prayer service on occasion, but most typically during weddings, funerals, and meals. A notated songbook was composed in the Far East in the early 1900s by a talented Molokan sent to study musical notation in Europe, but never used outside of the Far East.

Pryguny borrowed songs from neighboring faiths and adapted folk songs for spiritual jumping and spiritual whirling and dancing. Pryguny share many traits with Methodist Jumpers organized in Wales in the mid-1700s — borrowing pagan folk songs, loud singing, raising hands, spiritual dancing and jumping — similar to some charismatic Pentecostals. Charismatic Christianity appears to have been transmitted from Europe to Spiritual Christians by German sectarians resettled in South Ukraine in the early 1800s and earlier by various Europeans who worked in Russia. About 2005, the first exclusively Prygun songbook and prayer book were published in Stavropol'skii krai, Russian Federation, with no Dukh-i-zhiznik songs. Song 181 (Sionskii pessennik, Los Angeles) describes the Prygun holidays.

Dukh-i-zhizniki are transformed Pryguny who sing and read from many books: the Russian Bible with Apocrypha, Dukh i zhizn' (intended to replace/augment the New Testament) and their own prayer books and song books. They are the only family of faiths in the world which uses the Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn'. They display much more jumping, prophesy, and shout-singing than their predecessor Pryguny. Their song books evolved through several editions which collectively show over 1200 songs and verses, retaining many songs from Molokane and Pryguny, many borrowed while in Russia from German Protestants, some composed in America and Australia with Western folk melodies. Though the published collection is large, the repertoire actively sung is about one-fourth, with most congregations unable to sing more than 100 songs, less than 8% of the published repertoire. Many congregations in the F.S.U. prefer songs composed by Dukh-i-zhizniki, especially fast songs with mystical words and new Western Gospel melodies conducive to jumping.

These 3 Spiritual Christian groups are easily identified by their characteristic liturgies used during prayer-worship services.

Dukh i zhizn' Christ's God's Yes






1. Founded in America. All Maksimisty are Dukh-i-zhizniki, but not all Dukh-i-zhizniki are Maksimisty.
Most adapted from Russian folk songs and borrowed from German Protestants.
3. Not during service, but often during meals at weddings, funerals, child dedication, holidays
4. Open canon, a sacred text that can be modified by continuous revelation through their prophets.
Each congregation has 1 or more prophets. There have been at least 200 prophets since 1928 in all congregations around the world. Prophecies of only 4 prophets were published in their Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' (1928 religious text). Over 100 prophesies are written in secret notebooks, which are shown only to members who believe in their holy spirit.

Within each faith group the styles and melodies vary by geographic territory due to generations of isolation among congregations. For example, Molokane in Central Russia (Tambov) use less polyphonic protyazhnaya (протяжная : long-drawn-out) songs than in the Caucasus. Those in Arzerbaijan adapted sounds more similar to Muslem chants than Old Russian folksongs heard in Tambov. In the US, Dukh-i-zhiznik melodies for the same song can differ between Los Angeles County and Central California. When about 50 families of Dukh-i-zhizniki were imported from Armenia to Australia and the U.S.A. after perestoika, their songs and styles clashed so much that the Armenians formed their own congregation in Australia, and in the U.S.A. many indigenous Dukh-i-zhizniki cannot sing with them.



Molokane, Pryguny, and Dukh-i-zhizniki can most easily be differentiated by their religious holidays.

2010-2020 Spiritual Christian Molokan Holiday Calendar in Russian (left) and English. (From Vest', 2009 Vol. 6, page 4)
Click to ENLARGE Click to ENLARGE

Click for MOREA. Molokane10-11 holidays depending on congregation. The original religion of Dukhhovnye khristiane-molokane (Russian for: Spiritual Christian Molokans, Духовные христиане-молокане) as organized by Simeon Uklein (many believe the religion preceded him), which separated from Ikonoborsty (image-wrestlers, iconoclasts) in the 1760s (some relabeled Dukhobortsy, “spirit-wrestlers”, in 1785).

Molokane were named for their heresy of eating dairy products (molochnye) during the Great Fast (Lent) and splitting from the Orthodox faith. Though the Church created the label as an insult, these Spiritual Christians embraced it with their own definition from the Bible (1 Peter 2:2).

Molokane in Kars Oblast (now Turkey) fasted and held services for three days before each holiday — Thursday, Friday, Saturday — making each holiday a four-day event, with a feast on Sunday. The practce was continued by those who returned to Russia in the 1920s, and continues today. The scope of this three-day holiday-fast among all Molokane in all regions today is not yet known.

The only international Molokan organization is the Souiz dukhovnykh khristiane—molokan (Russian for “Union of Spiritual Christian Molokans” (USCM), Союз духовных христиан—молокан (СДХМ), website:, founded in Moscow in 1990, and transferred about 1994 to Kochubeevskoe, Stavropol' territory (krai), Russian Federation, after a plea to relocate to the Northern Caucasus to serve the thousands of refugees from the Caucasus. Today many still object to the transfer because to be effective in Russia a “Center” must be in Moscow. In 2007, the SDKM had about 45 dues-paying member congregations in the Russian Federation, and one in San Francisco, California — First Russian Christian Molokan Church : Molokanskii molitvanyi dom (Russian: Molokan prayer house/hall, Молоканcкий молитваный дом). People of all faiths are welcome to attend.

American Molokane celebrate 8 holidays. Molokane welcome visitors, photography, and conversion; have open communion; and celebrated 200 years of religious freedom in 2005. Molokane differ somewhat between congregations but agree they are all one unified religion, and rarely split over liturgy. One “Old-Constant” congregation (Russian: staro-postoyannie, старопостоянние) still uses the Old Slavonic Bible and language for reading and singing; and claims the others have fallen away from their original Old Russian religious language. Molokane are somewhat critical, yet tolerant of Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki for adapting non-Biblical versed songs during their services borrowed from other faiths. Molokane have little contact with the zealous and contradictory prophesies of the Dukh-i-zhizniki who use the label Molokan for themselves while avoiding, often condemning, authentic Molokane. About 224 congregations counted world-wide since 1950.
  • Sukhie Baptisty — Russian for “Dry Baptists,” Сухие Баптисты. Molokane who somewhat merged with the All-Russian Union of Evangelical Christians (ARUEC), organized by Ivan Prokhanov, which split from the Russian Baptist Union, but refused water baptism, preferring their traditional baptism by the Holy Spirit. It is estimated that about half of the early ARUEC members were of Molokan descent, like Prokhanov's parents. Many were called “dry-Baptists” by relatives and friends. At least one congregation counted in 2007, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, but more exist.

  • Detei Khrista — Russian for “Children of Christ”, Детей Христа; also called Mokrye Molokane (Russian for “Wet Molokans,” Мокрые Молокане.) A congregation which split from the Mikhailovsk (Shpakovskii) congregation, Stavropol' territory, Russian Federation, in the early 2000s. Their service is nearly identical to Molokan, but added water Baptism for any age, hence the nickname “wet Molokans” by relatives and friends. The founding presviter Ivan.V. Schetinkin, is brother of the SDKM senior presviter, Timofei Vasilich. One congregation counted in 2007, Mikhailovsk (Shpakovskii region), Stavropol territory, Russian Federation (R.F.).

  • Molokan-Adventisty, SubbotnikiMolokane and Pryguny converted by traveling German Adventist missionaries in 1906, who resided in and near the village of Russkie-Borisy village, now Azerbaijan. They became a hybrid by abandoning the Molokan holidays to exclusively celebrate the Old Testament holidays. After conversion many migrated to Yaroslavskaya village Krasnodarskii krai during Collectivization, and after 2000 to the U.S.A. Beginning in 2001, over 200 who eventually migrated to the Seattle, Washington, area founded the Центр духовного просвещения (Russian Center for Spiritual Enrichment of S.D.A.) in Bellevue, Washington. Services are in Russian. Annual youth festivals have been held since 2008 hosting Russian-speaking youth of all faiths. 4 meeting sites, counted in 2011 — 3 for regular services near Seattle, Washington U.S.A., plus a site for Torah Study for Russian Jews and guests at sundown on Fridays.


B. Pryguny, Dukhovnye 10 holidays. Pryguny is Russian for “Jumpers” or “Leapers.” The full Russian label is dukhovnye khristiane-pryguny, духовные христиане-прыгуны, Spiritual Christian Jumpers. Today in Russia most call those in the same congregation who do not jump — dukhovnye (Russian for Spirituals, духовные), and those who jump — pryguny. In this taxonomy, the term Pryguny is used to categorically distinguish these congregations from Molokane and Dukh-i-zhizniki. Historically, other descriptive terms were used, translated as Bouncers, Dancers, Prancers, Noisy-nose-breathers, Molokan-Whips, etc.

Pryguny are a hybrid, with origins and membership from Molokane, German Anabaptists, subbotniki (Sabbatarians : субботники), Russian Orthodox, Lyudi bozhii (People of God : Люди Божий), Noviy israil' (New Israel : Новый Израйль), Skoptsy (Castrates : Скопцы), Shaloputy (Шалопуты), and other non-Orthodox movements. (Zhuk, Sergei I. Russia's Lost Reformation: Peasants, Millennialism, and Radical Sects in Southern Russia and Ukraine, 1830-1917, (2004) page 126.)

Before the label “prygun,” the most zealous Spiritual Christian faiths belittled original Molokane by saying we (Pryguny) are dukhovnye and they (Molokane) are postoyannie (Russian : постоянние, constant, steadfast, unchanged, original, genuine, authentic). This term is used by both sides. Non-Molokan zealots who wanted the Molokan label used it as an insult, and Molokane converted it semantically as a defensive modifier to clarify that their faith is the "unchanged original." See perspective points of view, above.

In all the world, only in Iutsa town, Stavropol' territory (krai), does a Molokan assembly hall display a sign using the word postoyannie. The sign was placed by my wife's grandfather, Vasili Antonovich Serguiev, who immigrated from Turkey to Rostov in the 1920s, then to Stavropol in the 1950s and became presviter. Up to that time the Iutsa Molokane had no identity conflict with a smaller congregation of Pryguny who met in a house. In the 1960s large numbers of Dukh-i-zhizniki, who falsely called themselves Molokane, arrived from Turkey and were resettled in neighboring towns, and one Prygun presbyter, originally from Tbilisi, which divided the Prygun congregation. To differentiate the 2 Prygun congregations from the Molokan in Iutsa, and from all the Dukh-i-zhizniki in neighboring towns, this sign was probably placed in the 1960s (to be determined). In American marketing lingo, the sign announces; "famous original formula, accept no substitutes."

After 1992, visiting Dukh-i-zhiznik women from California (who arrived in Moscow with the Heritage Club) were seeking their relatives, which they called "our people," found the Prygun congregations in Iutsa, and gave them each a huge donation, enough to build and expand their prayer halls. The women missed Prygun congregations in other towns and had not close Dukh-i-zhiznik relatives in Russia.

I have visited nearly all congregations in Russia, and only found one other sign, on the main assembly in Kochubeevskoe, which identifies it as a Molokan prayer hall. (Photos of signs to be posted.)

Molokane-Subbotniki, who refused to worship on Sunday, were labeled “Saturday Molokans” in the Russian Empire Census of 1897, while the original believers remained “Sunday Molokans” (voskerseniki : воскресеники). Some Sunday Molokans, who in 1817 begin migrating to Tavria guberniia (now South Ukraine), adapted features from other Russian Spiritual Chirstians and from German Protestants (Russians' Secret) — a focus on the Apocalypse, prophesy, songs and mind altering spiritual acts like fasting (postnichestvo : постничество), ecstatic dances (radenie : радение), jumping, skipping, walking in the spirit / in joy (khozhdenie v dukhe : хожденин в духе), and actions (deistviia : действия).

The label pryguny first appeared in Russian print about 1854 (according to Dr. Breyfogle), though earlier reports described jumping, dancing, leaping, and rapid breathing. Many Saturday Molokane, mostly Subbotniki, in the Former Soviet Union merged with Adventists, and no longer use the label Molokan, yet associate with Molokan and Prygun friends and relatives. The 1897 Russian census counted Pryguny separate from Molokane in Transcaucasia; and we know they celebrate different holidays

Prygun Holiday Calendars

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The 1874 hand-drawn calendar (above left) shows the Prygun holidays. This historic calendar was photographed in 1992 at the The State Museum of the History of Religion, St. Petersburg, Russia, by Molokan presbyter Edward J. Samarin, Freemont CA. The 2000-2009 calendar (above right) is from the Inozemstvo Dukhovnye congregation, Stavropol territory, RF; and is followed by all Prygun congregations.

Pryguny divide their holidays into “God's holidays” and “Christ's holidays” (Russian: Prazdniki Gospodni i Khristovy, Праздники Господни и Христовы). Christ's holidays were retained from their Molokan origin from acceptable Orthodox holidays. God's holidays were probably added by Subbotniki who joined Pryguny and insisted on adding their own Old Testament holidays.

Song 181 of the American Dukh-i-zhiznik Songbook of Zion (Sionzkii pesennik : Сионский песенник) documents these Prygun holidays. This diaspora songbook appears in about 10 progressive versions, after the second version each new book listed lyrics primarily composed and sung by the Dukh-i-zhizniki, but deleting very few as the versions grew. Most lyrics have fallen from common use. The lower numbered songs are the oldest, hence this was definitely a Prygun song.

Песнь 181 Song 181

Верою Бога величаем,
    Праздники годовые почитаем.
Богом нашим на горе даны,
    Моисеем с Синая переданы.
We glorify God by faith,
    Honoring the annual Holidays.
On the mountain they were given by our God,    To
    Moses transferred from Sinai.

Пять слов он заключил,
    Народу Божию поручил.
Господь сильней десницей,
    Утвердил в лето три седмицы.
Five words he concluded,
    Designated them to God's people.
And God with a strong hand,
    Approved three weeks in the summer.

Первая Пасха святая,
    Агнцем в законе взятая.
Вторая Пятидесятница Богом дана,
    Святой Дух нам подала.
The first one is holy Easter [Paskha],
    A sacrifice by Law (OT*) is taken.
The second given by God is Pentecost,
    It gave us the Holy Spirit.

Третья Скинопигия** [кущей] святая,
    Народу Божию датая.
Три седмицы почитаем,
    Тем мы Бога величаем;
The third is the holy Feast of Tabernacles [Kushchei],
    Given to God's people.
For three weeks we worship,
    That's how we glorify God;

Захария дождем благословляет,
    Славою Божию награждает;
День святой очищенье,
    Сотворим душам посещенье.
Zechariah gave blessing with rain,
    Rewarding the words of God;
The Holy Day of Atonement,
    Lets us make the soul [Holy Spirit] visit.

Пять праздников закон дал,
    Еще пять Христос предал:
Все мы десять почитаем,
    Тем мы Троицу величаем;
Five Holidays were given by the Law (OT, God's)
    Five more were given by Christ:
We honor all ten
    And we celebrate Pentecost [Troitsa];

Молитвы — жертвы приносим,
    У Бога благословенья просим;
Он нас не оставит,
    Во всем на истину наставит.
We brought prayers and sacrifices (offerings),
    We ask for God's blessing;
He will not leave us,
    And guide us to the righteous path.
Праздники Богу жертвы — хвала,
    Писание нам силу подала.
Богу слава и держава,
    Во веки веков. Аминь.
God's holidays are praised with offerings
    The Scriptures gave us strength.
God is the glory and power,
    Unto the ages of ages. Amen.
   * OT : Old Testament, Law of Moses
** Скинопигия (Greek: σκηνοπηγία = skenopegia) : "the pitching of the tent" (John 7:2)

Several Dukhovnye-Prygun congregations migrated to America, but by the 1950s were forced, along with Molokane and the United Molokan Christian Association (U.M.C.A., a Sunday school and youth social center), to either join a Dukh-i-zhiznik faith group, join the 2 Molokan congregations (San Francisco, or Sheridan), or leave to other faiths. By 2007, as many as 90% of descendants of Spiritual Christian immigrants to North America appeared to have their heritage transformed faiths. In the Former Soviet Union, several Dukhovnye-Prygun congregations are members of the registered U.S.C.M. (to gain the privilege of official recognition) and have good relations with Molokane. Most welcome visitors, photography, conversion, but mostly retain closed communion. About 30 Pryguny congregations counted world-wide since 1950.
  • Subbotniki-Molokane — See for extensive history and maps. Original Subbotniki did not call themselves Dukhovnye Khristiane, but many Dukhovnye Khristiane (Spiritual Christians) merged with Subbotniki and chose Saturday for their sabbath, and Subbotniki joined Molokane by intermarriage. Many were counted “Saturday Molokans” (subbotniki-molokane) in the Russian Empire Census of 1897. Many Subbotniki have migrated to the Portland, Oregon, area, whose youth affiliate with the Molokan-Adventisty youth in Washington. A large group emerged about 1920 in Russki Borisi village, Azerbaijan, led by presviter Rybkin, whose congregation split, half remaining Dukhovnye-Prygun, the other half Subbotnik, performing identical services on different days, but joining for holidays. Some descendants of this Subbotnik congregation converted to Adventist upon resettlement in Russia where they have a meeting hall in the Kapelnitsa suburb, Inozemtsvo, Stavropol province, RF. 2 congregations, Russia (Stavropol province), U.S.A. (Portland).

  • Young Russian Christian Association (YRCA), YRCA-ers, “Jack Greeners” — Assimilated(19) American descendants of Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles who in their youth were members of the YRCA clubhouse. Many maintain affiliation with each other. It began as a "home mission" in Boyle Heights sponsored by 3 women missionaries to serve the immigrant poor. Older kids got Bible lessons, younger ones learned to read and speak English, like a pre-school. In the second year, the women solicited student volunteers from the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA) to help teach. Mostly local Russian youth attended events held nearly everyday of the week, at different times, for different ages. Soon the Russians named and claimed the organization as their Young Christian Association, then inserted "Russian" into the title. The most dedicated of the volunteers, Jack Ted Green, first taught Bible class on Tuesday night, then focused most of his missionary work on these urban youth. After he graduated college, his living expenses were donated mainly by his Grace Brethren Church, family and friends, so he could minister to these ghetto kids. The growing Y.R.C.A. clubhouse moved to occupy the vacated dilapidated wooden Buchenak Dukh-i-zhiznik meeting hall in the Flats, and later bought a vacated American church in East L.A., across the I-5 (Santa Ana Freeway from the U.M.C.A. Weekly attendance grew to over 200 regulars in 20 years with social events, camps, clubs, sports, library, donations to immigrants from Russia in Mexico, singing on local radio and Brethren churches, counseling and the Anchor newsletter. At their peak, nearly 20,000 visitations occurred during the year (some came many times). In the early 1940s, when several of the YRCA-ers enrolled in BIOLA (tuition free), the struggling U.M.C.A. invited them to teach Sunday school, which they did in English. In 20 years the YRCA-ers boosted the U.M.C.A. to become the 3rd largest Sunday school in California and 10th in the nation. Zealot Dukh-i-zhizniki in Los Angeles believed the Y.R.C.A. competed with their “Young Church” (molodoe sobranie), nicknamed Chulok sobranie, while others supported their wholesome activities. In the 1960s the Chuloshniki pushed their heretic "Jack Greeners" out of the U.M.C.A. and the Y.R.C.A. East LA building was sold, with funds donated to member missionary Dave C. Shinen for his work in Alaska. Some members reorganized as G.I.V.E., to support missionaries in the U.S. of Dukh-i-zhiznik descent. In the 1970s a Y.R.C.A. English-speaking Montebello Community Church (2000 W Olympic Blvd.) was incorporated, but failed after 4 leaders/ministers were tried. (Since the 1990s, the building is used by an immigrant Evangelical Christian Church.) In 1979 many YRCA-ers formed and joined a new businessmen social organization, The Heritage Club. Many maintain membership in Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations, but attend when mandatory, like a family funeral or kitchen duty. In 2002 the Heritage Club secretly paid a $600,000 bribe using charity donations to silence sensational news about their club. History in-progress. One clubhouse dissolved in 1960s, East Los Angeles, California U.S.A., somewhat reemerged as the Heritage Club.

  • Re-Formed — 6 holidays. Former Dukh-i-zhizniki who founded a new congregaton in Oregon in the 1970s. Attacked for abandoning the ritual book Dukh i zhizn', using English translated services and songs (Russian is not banned), yet maintain Dukh-i-zhizniki holidays plus Rozhestvo (Birth of Christ, Christmas). The existence of this congregation divided American Dukh-i-zhizniki into praises and scorners. Newsletter Besednyik (discontinued), scorned as the Bestidnik ("without shame") and "enchilada church" (for once serving Mexican food) by zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki. Website registered May 25, 2010 (offline mid-2012). Most welcome visitors, photography, conversion, and are the first congregation of Pryguny to host a web site, temporarily. One congregation counted in 2007, Woodburn, Oregon, USA.
C. Dukh-i-zhizniki5-6 holidays. Dukh-i-zhizniki is a Russian term for “people who use the book Dukh i zhizn'.” In English they could be called "Spirit-and-Lifers," but Dukh-i-zhizniki is a much more specific term. They are descendants of various zealous, religious enthusiastic, Spiritual Christian faiths from Russia who transformed in America beginning in the 1930s to a variety of new faiths all using the holy ritual book Dukh i zhizn' (short for Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life; Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn'; Книга солнце, дух и жизнь).

Dukh-i-zhizniki evolved from descendants of mixtures of non-Molokan Spiritual Christian congregations and faiths (Prygun, Khristovoverie, Stundisti, Sionist, Klubnikinist, Maksimisty, Noviy israil', etc.) mainly from what is now central Armenia, and northern Turkey. The most aggressive were followers of the Prygun presviter Maksim G. Rudomyotkin (MGR), called Maksimisty, who instructed them to abandon half of their Prygun holidays — the holidays shared with Molokane (Christ's holidays) — because they were adapted from Orthodoxy, to keep only the Old Testament holidays (God's holidays) adapted from Subbotniki, and to shun Molokane and Subbotniki — forming a new sect. Followers of prophet Efim G. Klubnikin, and immigration organizer Filip M. Shubin initially joined in Los Angeles along with other zealots and non-zealots.  When they began to established a new life in the city, from the late 1910 into the 1960s, more than 50 years, various individuals and factions confronted each other, most leaving the faiths, many splitting to form a new congregation.     

Dukh-i-zhizniki somewhat solidified after 1928 when these diverse congregations in the U.S. allowed the book Dukh i zhizn' to be placed on their their altar tables (prestol), as a Third Testament to the Bible, and used it for worship and rituals. The editors of the 1928 edition signed as Братскiй Союзъ Духовныхъ Прыгуновъ (Bratskii Soiuz Dukhovykh Prygunov : Fraternal Union of Spiritual Jumpers), but in the introductory pages the misnomer Molokan is used. The book was undoubtedly a spiritual victory by the Maksimisty to have their prophet dominate the book with 66% of the pages, and impose their "new rituals" (novye obryady) upon all congregations, though many members in all congregations did not believe in the divinity of MGR.

Some also called themselves “Zionists” and/or “New Israel”, though they did not share communion with New Israel nor did they migrate to Palestine as did many Subbotniki. Molokane and Pryguny commonly call them Maksimisty (Russian for: “followers of Maksim G. Rudomyotkin”, maksimisty, максимисты), but not all Dukh-i-zhizniki are Maksimisty. Rudomyotkin was registered in a Suzdal monastery as a prygun, where his death was documented by Nikolai Ilyin in 1877, yet disputed by some followers who believe he rose to heaven like Jesus Christ (on a white horse, in a chariot) or returned to his home village in disguise.

The precursors to the Dukh-i-zhiznik faith were transported to Los Angeles beginning in 1904, and begun to solidify in 1915 when a few Maksimisty who moved to the state of Arizona published in Los Angeles some of Rudomyotkin's notes in the Russian language in the book: Утренняя звезда (Utrennyaya zvezda : Morning Star), then published a Prayerbook (Russian: Molitvennik, Молитвенникъ), and a songbook. They ignored the prayer books used by Molokane ( a different faith) that began to settled in San Francisco in August 1906. In the Former Soviet Union the Dukh-i-zhiznik books are often collectively called obryadniki (обрядники : ritual, ceremony books).

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1928 Russian
1976 English
1983 English

After about half a dozen or more revisions, the final and current version of the Dukh i zhizn' was published in 1928 (758 pages) in Los Angeles by «Братскiй Союзъ Духовныхъ Прыгуновъ» (Bratskii Suiz Dukhhovnykh Prygunov : Fraternal Union of Spiritual Jumpers), not by "Molokans." About 66% of the pages are credited to Rudomyotkin, with debate, plus sections by 3 prophets (Klubnikin, Sokolov, Yesseivich), and a short history by I. G. Samarin. About 60 pages of controversial text previously published was omitted. Since then the book has remained constant, unchanged (postoyanniye)

Another 60 pages by M.P. Pivovaroff were not included which enraged him such that he published his own prophetic writings, purchased several cases of the new book, and inserted his missing chapter, fabricating a second version in 1928. The book was disputed by some during every revision and printed version.

The Dukh i zhizn' was placed “by the Holy Spirit” by the Prygun prophet Afanasy T. Beziaev (Bezayeff, Bezaieff), not by a democratic vote of members, on all Prygun altar tables in the U.S., except the Selimsky congregation in Arizona, and the Holy Jumper congregation in San Francisco. The book was allowed into the Guadalupe, Mexico, prayer house as a reference, not on the table. The two Molokan congregations in America (San Freancisco and Sheridan) were not approached or refused the book. Pressure to adopt the "new rituals" of Rudomyotkin took decades. Non-believers in the new book left the Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths.

Before a failed migration back to the base of Mount Ararat in 1939, diaspora elders declared no need to translate their books into English. To continue the Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths in America, translations were needed to retain the youth. In 1944 John K. Berokoff in Los Angeles, conlcuded that migration to Russia is unlikely and began to re-publish the Arizona prayerbook translated in 1915 for Americans in Arizona, and his own translations.

In 1947, a 3rd edition was edited and published by molodoe sobranie (the youth assembly) in the Flat(s) neighborhood, changing pages 747 to 758. (Research in-progress.)

About 1964-66, John Wm. Volkov, while a graduate student in Slavic languages at the University of California Berkeley (U.C.B.), translated the entire book himself with some help from elder Russians in the San Francisco Bay area. Most difficult were numerous mystery "spiritual" words. In the summer of 1966 in Los Angeles, after Wednesday Night assembly, John Volkov, driven by Andrei A. Shubin, by uncle, arrived at the LA-UMCA (Gage Ave) after everyone left but 3 board members and me, Andrei Conovaloff. Volkov hand-delivered a typed carbon copy of a sample first section of his translation to LA-UMCA president Paul Lukianov, vice-president Mike Planin, and former president Alex Tolmas, with instructions to publish the book and donate all proceeds to the U.M.C.A. general fund. He said they could pass it around to anyone to proofread. That summer I was given a sample copy to take to Arizona elders to proofread, which I delivered to Alex L. Conovaloff. All groups apparently refused and/or were afraid to publish it. The project stagnated for more than a decade.

I met John Volkov several times when he visited my maternal grandmother's house in Boyle Heights. He told me that the book title as printed on the cover in 1928 was inverted, and that the proper translated title is Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life, but in the triangular diagram, the words "Spirit and Life" appeared on top. This changed the commonly used short title, as published in 1915, from Дух и жизнь (Dukh i zhizn' ) to Книга солнце, дух и жизнь (Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn' ).

Volkov was respected by few Dukh-i-zhiznik elders. He was unmarried, college graduate, an alcoholic, and at times homeless. The late presbyter Harry Shubin often bought him to speak at the Wednesday night youth assembly at the UMCA, always drunk. He had no permanent address or phone number that I could find in 1980. He was a friend of my late uncle Andy A. Shubin who told me none of Volkov's relatives knew where he was or if he died. If anyone knows, please reply.

Though very few read Russian, the book was symbolically bought and given as a wedding gift, an icon of their faith. As in their meeting halls, this book must be placed next to the Bible, typically on the formal dining table (not in a kitchen) to symbolize their adherence to the Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths. To the most zealous, not displaying the book at home is near-heresy.

Efforts to publish the Volkov's translation was delayed about a decade, until 2 talented young men at the U.M.C.A. discovered that the translation existed (mostly in secret) and began the publication project, which was delayed nearly another decade by zealots. Credit for this project goes to buddies George G. Shubin and John Karnoff. John Karnoff died young in 2001. George G. Shubin edited the following (indented section) in July 2017.
While getting married in 1969, George G. Shubin was told that he was lucky to get one of the last copies of the Russian "Spirit and Life" from the U.M.C.A. inventory. More were needed. He was editor of the U.M.C.A. newsletter The Molokan, and volunteered to organize a reprinting of the Russian Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn'. With the help of his buddy John Karnoff, they spent a year soliciting money from the community that would go towards the publishing of the book. Elder publisher Paul I. Samarin provided much guidance and the printing facilities to reprint the original 1928 edition. They added a much needed 8-page index at the end and kept a 1-page insert Samarin added in 1958 to explain the various versions. The 1975 edition has 766 pages, 1500 copies were published. Their names did not appear, credit was given to Samarin.

After this project, G. Shubin voiced a common complaint: Why not an English version? The typical answers were:
  • the meanings would change if translated,
  • Russian was their holy language, and
  • it must be interpreted "in the spirit" only in the original Russian text.
Daniel H. Shubin, aware of George's complaint, revealed the existence of the Volkov translation, apparently known by few.  D. Shubin suggested to G. Shubin and J. Karnoff to form a volunteer committee including others to finally produce the first English version of the Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life, despite intense objections from zealots. In 1976 many objections by zealots dissolved due to competition from Australia.

Independently in 1976, the first complete translation of Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' was published in South Australia (2 versions) by James M. Pivovaroff, with an untitled red cover and 11 gold stars (photo above). It included the 1928 M.P. Pivovaroff insert. J. Pivovaroff did not use (or know?) about the Volkov translation, and told Andrei Conovaloff (about 2000) that he consulted Russian-born immigrants in Australia for help with translating and proofreading his text using language similar to the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. Critics in America who claim that he could not possibly have done it himself, allege that he paid ne nashi  to do his translating, and they emphasize the word ne nashi as a pejorative, meaning it was translated by “not our own” or "pork-eaters" and "non-believers", therefore it is an unclean, non-spiritual book. The existence of a competing book motivated a critical mass of Dukh-i-zhizniki in Los Angeles County to approve the Volkov translation for publication and fund it.

D.H. Shubin solicited funds and wanted to publish the complete unedited pre-1928 transcripts, but zealots insisted that only the 1928-edition should be done "as is," page for page, no changes. But changes were made anyway. The Russian versions had about 63 footnotes, very few referring to the Bible; and Pivovaroff's translations had no footnotes. To Christianize the English version, D.H. Shubin decided that Biblical footnotes should be added, and enlisted at least one assistant to locate words and phrases in the text which could be linked to anything in the Bible, as footnotes. The more references to the Bible the better, to present the English version as coming from the word of God, to counter critics. They added thousands of footnotes, on nearly every page, up to 11 per page. Dr. William J. Samarin examined a few pages and commented that many Biblical references were missed, and some footnotes made no sense. The added Biblical footnoting was amateur. (Statistical analyses of footnotes in-progress.)

In July 2017, George G. Shubin stated: "I had no further involvement with the English translation project beyond 1975 after moving my family to Oregon, and as far as I know neither did John Karnoff. It was all of Daniel Shubin. But I could be wrong, since I was pretty much out of the loop after moving to Oregon."

When all Biblical footnotes were pasted into the page-by-page 768-page manuscript, a few complete photocopies were made for proofreading. The 8-page index added in 1975 was reduced to 2 pages and moved to the front, and some of the Klubnikin drawings were changed. Then typesetting, proofing, and publication was completed in 1983 — 17 years after Volkov submitted his manuscript. All published copies became property of the U.M.C.A., which was now controlled by Dukh-i-zhizniki.(39)

Early during the English translation project, G. Shubin had opportunity to study the book first-hand, which shocked him and his wife so much that they decided to abandoned their heritage Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths, and moved to Oregon to raise a family, where they joined a congregation for which he became the newsletter editor, and then later an ordained elder.

Karnoff remained in the Los Angeles area, and unfortunately died young in 2001. His widow and kids collect and send news items and update an American Dukh-i-zhiznki calendar to less than 1000 email addresses, all text falsely claiming to be "Molokan."

D.H. Shubin expanded his influence by publishing more books and web pages supporting his versions of Spiritual Christian and  Dukh-i-zhiznik history. The most notable is Guide to the [Book of the Sun,] Spirit and Life with Supplements, 1999, 253 pages, in which he falsely claims their faiths are "Molokan," and translates Prygyn on Russian documents as Molokan.  See Sign in Suzdal, Russia (above).

Only Russian editions of Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' are used by Dukh-i-zhizniki for singing. Occasionally the English versions are read when giving speeches, depending on the congregation, Russian literacy of speaker and guests present. Some claim the Dukh i zhizn' can only be understood in Russian by a few chosen with the gift of the Holy Spirit because many unknown mystical words appear in it. (Research in-progress.)

Dukh-i-zhizniki in America apparently outwardly claimed the religious label Molokan for many reasons, including:
  • to avoid being confused with indigenous American Pentecostal “Holy Jumpers” who were being bullied in the early 1900s when they immigrated to Los Angeles;
  • to camouflage their embarrassing religion because Spiritual Christian Pryguny were investigated, reported in the news, and some arrested for illegal activities (bride-selling; not registering births, marriages or deaths; disturbing the peace with loud ecstatic jumping to exhaustion; unusually long public funerals; declaring the end of the world has arrived and fleeing to the mountains; semi-nude children in public; refusing to allow children to attend school; exorcisms; failed resurrections; etc.);
  • to obey a prophesy by Afanasy Tim. Bezayiff in his later years (1920s, 1930s? Does anyone know?) in reaction to the scandals to hide their faith from the world, non-believers and the government;
  • a false belief that the Molokan faith perished in Russia and in San Francisco, hence the label was free for false use without opposition;
  • failed attempts to follow their prophesies back to the base of Mount Ararat in 1939; 
  • to appease Molokan and Prygun families to join their “true” faith by using a fabricated hybrid neutral label;
  • and more.
By the 1940s, an effort to unify all denominations in the U.S. created a new five-word nonsense phrase label: “Russian Molokan Spiritual Christian Jumpers,” which was shortened to “Molokan,” a complete camouflage.

The largest cemetery in the U.S. operated by Dukh-i-zhizniki (Commerce CA) posts the label “Spiritual Jumper” only in Russian, not in English. (See image above.) The signs on the gate and street display “Russian Molokan Christian,” as does an internal sign in Russian and English, but the Russian words are not completely translated, hiding the embarrasing Prygun identity from descendants and Americans who cannot read Russian. The original historic label “Spiritual Christian” is also notably absent in English.

Variety of Dukh-i-zhizniki

A wide spectrum of diverse Dukh-i-zhizniki exist around the world in the 2000s. Divisions occur within and between congregations, and many remain irreversibly divided, by geography, by the extent of use and acceptance of the Dukh i zhizn', various old Russian rituals and traditions, hoidays, and after a dominate elder dies. All efforts to unify Spiritual Christians in the Americas into apocalyptic agricultural colonies failed. In 1933, the effort to unify all in Los Angeles into the “Big Church” failed mainly due to objections by Maksimisty and other zealous faiths against the komitet (Russian “the committee,” board of directors), their Prygun holidays and probably a few actual Molokan or other "unclean" members.

By the 1950s, all Prygun congregations in the U.S.A. (not Mexico) were officially, though not intrinsically, converted to a Dukh-i-zhiznik faith. In 1950 many immigrant Pryguny who arrived in Los Angeles from Iran (Persia) were rejected by locally established zealot Dukh-i-zhizniki, until the immigrants placed the Dukh i zhizn' on their table and abandoned half of their holidays. This was a major surprise to the immigrants who were initially misled that they were being hosted by Spiritual Christian Molokane. Until the immigrants were fully converted, American Dukh-i-zhizniki who attended the "Persian" Prygyn services were severely reprimanded for attending a heresy faith, even if only suspected of attending. See: Dukh-i-zhizniki in America: Chapter 8 — Aid to Brethren in Iran.

In his autobiography The Memiors of Paul John Orloff (2008, self published, 568 pages) the elder singer documented how he was falsely accused and extensively harassed for allegedly attending a "Persian" Prygun holiday in 1961. In "The Story of Why I avoided Big Church Since Sept. 14, 1965" (pages 427-456), Orloff (dob-dod) detailed the sequence of actions against him for allegedly attending a "Persian" Rozhestvo service (Birth of Christ, Christmas). This false accusation was easy to verify because witnesses could testify that Orloff actually attended a Dukh-i-zhiznik pomenki (memorial service) that same day in Porterville, Central California, about 170 miles away. His accusers repeatedly refused to check the facts, talk with witnesses and intensified their bullying until Orloff's left to join another congregation (Akhtinskii, Samarin's, Percy St). For more than 50 years the "Big Church" board and prestol have refused to review this case and never apologized. (If they ever do, I'll post the date.)

In the 1980s Dukh-i-zhiznik relatives of founders of the “Re-Formed” congregation in Orgeon (above) were harassed. The elder lead singer John Alex Efseaff was removed from his position at Novaya Romonovka sobranie (Beswick st) because his son Phillip co-founded an English Prygun congregation, not using the religious text Dukh i zhizn', and co-published the Besednyik (sic) newsletter in the 1980s which critically examined Dukh-i-zhiznik history. The sin of the elder Efseaff was not publicly ostracizing his son.

Ironically the oral history of these Spiritual Christians emphasizes religious freedom as a main reason for fleeing to America, yet many do not tolerate freedom of religion or speech, some to the extent of lying. They have bullied people based on allegations and actions of relatives, and threatened this website.

Dukh-i-zhizniki around the world have divided for many reasons (not in rank order):
  • geography (within the Former Soviet Union, and by those who migrated to California in 1904-1912 or not, village of ancestors, proximity to Mt. Ararat, Australia (SA, WA, QL), Uruguay, etc.)
  • eating communal (obshchaya pisha : общая пиша), or with individual dishes, spoons, forks) (only 1 Prygun sobranie divided)
  • use of technology (photograph; telephone; display / TV / computer (displei : дисплей / yekron : экрон)
  • Russian language (fluency, southern dialect preferred / demanded); use of Old Russian Slavonic language, or not)
  • appearance-dress,
    • men (white or colored, rope belt knot left or right), hair style (parted in middle "like open Bible" or Jesus, length), beard style and size (long, bushy preferred; 100 years ago hair was long, now short)
    • women (white or colored; with or without bonnet (chepchik : чепчик))
  • married into "right" family (spiritual blood-line of clan, patriarchy, or not)
  • intermarriage of kids and relatives into right" families (spiritual blood-line of clan, patriarchy, or not)
  • how many children (5+ preferred)
  • practice spiritual jumping, visions and prophesy, or not
  • extent and quality of singing, number of verses/song memorized, loudness (shout-singing now in vogue)
  • use of the Maksimist identity greeting (Parginal, Assuringal, Yuzgoris! : Паргинал, Ассурингал, Юзгорис!, or not)
  • associations (affiliations, attendance and recognition at other congregations/faiths, etc.)
  • formal/ higher education, none preferred
  • attend other assemblies, faith meetings (faith types are clustered, some off-limits)
  • emphasis of the 4-5 authors of the Kniga solnsta dukh i zhizn' versions (Maksimisty versus Davidisty, versus Pivovaroff, versus others)
  • literal interpretation of Bible and Dukh i zhin' preferred to allegorical
  • interpretation of mystical words in Kniga solnsta dukh i zhizn'
  • veneration of M.G. Rudomyotkin (“King of the Spirits”, never died, Saint in prayer and song, rose to heaven, white horse,  etc.)
  • personal wealth (more the better among all branches); Rudomyotktin instructs path to wealth by hiring many Arabs (people of color)
  • military enlistment (tolerated or not)
  • taking oaths, affirmations, or not
  • joining the collective farm (kolkhoz, sovkhoz), or not. Some believed that collective farm members are marked with the stamp of the Antichrist (29
  • ritual variations (prayers, songs, funerals, holidays, etc.)
  • home and prayer house size, decor and location (in village, city), etc.
  • occupation (rural farmer-preferred; if urban self-employed blue-collar, driver preferred)
  • anticipation or prophesy of nuclear holocaust, Apocalypse, New World Order, etc.
  • ancestral nationality mix (Armenian, Cossack, Chuvash, Finn, Mordva, Russian, Pole, Roman, German, Ukrainian, other)
  • picture on driver's license, or not (when allowed)

around the world have divided for a few reasons:
  • Adopt or reject the new Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn'. Adopters transformed into Dukh-i-zhizniki.
  • Use or non-use of dishes for more sanitary meals. I only know of 1 instance, about 2005 in Levokumskoe, Stavropol territory, Russia, were ritual communal eaters protested so much that they split and bought their own meeting hall, about 2 blocks away.
  • Burial with non-believers in their faith. I only know of 1 instance in San Francisco, were the last presviter of the Prygun congregation refused to be buried with his family (wife) in the Russian Sectarian Cemetery, Colma CA, and was transported to Los Angeles.   
Only one congregation of Molokane voluntarily divided, that I know of, in 2007 in Novokumskoe village (next to Levokumskoe), Stavropol territory, Russia. The division was about rituals and succession after the presviter Loskutov died, who lived nearby. The younger members wanted to eliminate some old rituals, so a minority who wanted to preserve their heritage rituals purchased a house across the street, which they converted to a meeting hall. The Novokumskoe congregation was much larger up to a few years earlier, about 2005, when Sunday bus service between Levokunskoe and Novokumskoe stopped, and the majority in Levokumskoe had to build a new hall, in which Vedat Akçayöz, historian from Turkey of Prygun descent, recorded a wedding on video. The minority isolated in Novokumskoe was stressed and reduced, which caused a leadership division.

In 1909 during the Pashka holiday in Los Angeles, Alex Kottoff 23 and Lana Sissoeff 18 attempted suicide because Lana's father forbid her marriage to Alex. From 1911 through the 1920s Prygun traditional parental control of free-unregistered marriage became a legal scandal in Los Angeles and near Glendale, Arizona. In contrast the San Francisco Molokane more quickly complied with American laws to register marriages, and allowed mixed marriages. For a century, Dukh-i-zhizniki controlled their families actions with punishments and rewards, ostracism and inheritance, for who they befriended and married.


From 1905 through the 1930s in Los Angeles many Spiritual Christian immigrant families maintained their tradition of a customary "bride price" (kalym : калым) to compensate for their loss of a working daughter, and the expense of her wedding. In Russia the typical amount was 2 dairy cows, and in the U.S.A. it was $200-$500. In December 1911, Elsi Novikoff 17, fell in love with an American boy, though her father had already agreed to marry her to a Prygun boy for the highest price yet of $500 because she was very pretty and was earning money for her family. In 2016, the income relative value of $500 from 1911 is about $78,000, with a relative value range from about $10,000 to $268,000. ( She worked as a maid, and her boyfriend's family and employer advocated for her, hiring an attorney to defend her case in court. The story was national news and the investigation exposed more cases reported for neary 3 years. The court case correlates with mass hasty migrations of families to scattered rural colonies for a decade, until the depression after W.W.I.

To maintain their old world parental controls (marriage, education, dress, language) many Spiritual Christian families fled in groups to other states (Arizona, Washington, Utah, New Mexico), a few went back home to Russia. Some reported that religious persecution in Los Angeles was their major reason for leaving to form remote farm colonies. Very fortunate for the Pryguny in Los Angeles, presiding Judge Curtis Wilbur was also on the board of directors of the Bethlehem Institutions, and intimately knew these immigrants from their other court cases and the work of Dr. Rev. Bartlett to assimilate them. The Spiritual Christians got off easy after agreeing to register all previous marriages and re-do the weddings which the Judge offered to perform for no fee.

In Arizona in 1920, 2 presbyters (presvitery) were arrested and fined for the same crime. Mike P. Pivovaroff spent a night in jail, and Foma ("Homer") S. Bogdanoff turned himself in the next day before their trials. They were each fined $300 (nearly a year's wages each in 1920, bail paid by congregants) and ordered to re-do all marriages legally.  In 2016, the relative value of $300.00 from 1920 ranges from $2,800 to $62,000. ( Within a few years most all the hastily formed farm colonies failed, and most Spiritual Christians decided to tollerate American laws and returned to their "kingdoms" in urban Los Angeles. Statistics on how many actually registered marriages is in-progress.

In the 1930s after being denied mass emigration back to Russia, Dukh-i-zhizniki exported their newly organized faith to the Soviet Union. The ritual books (Dukh i zhizn', with prayer and song books) were mailed to Rostov (U.S.S.R.), Armenia (S.S.R.) and Kars (Turkey), where all Maksimist and some Prygun congregations adopted them and transformed their faiths to somewhat conform with instructions from America, while retaining much of their historic differences of origin.

Dukh-i-zhizniki now in the the North Caucasus, Russian Federation, arrived in two waves — in 1962 from Turkey during a massive resettlement, and 1987-1990s from Armenia during perestroika. They are fractionated and sometimes claim to be the “true” Molokane due to propaganda from America, but avoid and scorn the orgnaized Molokane, S.D.K.M. (U.S.C.M.). The most zealous congregations in the Former Soviet Union (F.S.U.) reject all Dukh-i-zhizniki for abandoning their motherland, the prophesy to stay near Mout Ararat, other prophesies and communal traditions; living in cities; using yekrany (экраны : display screens, T.V., movies, computers). In opposition, many Dukh-i-zhizniki in the U.S.A. and Australia reject those in the F.S.U. for enlisting in the Soviet military (eating non-kosher-like), and because their grandparents did not obey their Klubnikinist prophesy to leave Russia, some calling them "Jerusalem," outsiders (ne nashi) and non-believers.

Since perestoika, about 50 Dukh-i-zhiznik families were imported from Armenia, half to the U.S. and half to Australia, primarily to enhance the local congregations with Russian-speaking co-religionists. The immigrants found that their songs, rituals and a new holiday were not fully accepted. Those in Australia formed their own congregation. Those in the U.S. clustered among a few congregations which showed the most acceptance and need for Russian-speakers.

Dukh-i-zhizniki rarely seek new affiliations with Molokane or Pryguny. Though 100s of Dukh-i-zhizniki work in Moscow, they do not hold prayer meetings and never attend Molokan services, even when personally invited by Molokane. When intermarriage occurs between these 3 denominations the couple must decide which to join, if any. Occasionally a Molokan marries a Dukh-i-zhiznik and joins the mate's congregation, only after conversion and scrutiny. No Dukh-i-zhiznik congregation joined the S.D.K.M. by 2007, or attended the 200th Anniversary in 2005, though some attended the diaspora 150th Anniversary held in San Francisco in 1955, and many Pryguny attended the 100th Anniversary held in 1905 in Vorontsovka, Tiflis governate (1844 Vorontsovka, 1935 Kalinino / Kalinin, 1992 Tashir, Armenia).

Confusing to outsiders and to themselves, many Dukh-i-zhizniki today self-claim to be “true” Molokans by faith. Few welcome visitors, photography, or conversion; and most have closed communion. About 86 Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations, many are small, counted world-wide since 1950.
  • First Armenian Pentecostal ChurchArmenians who joined the Pryguny in Kars Oblast, migrated with them to California, used the book Dukh i zhizn', lived and intermarried in the Los Angeles “Flats” ghetto, are buried in the Dukh-i-zhiznik cemeteries, but now use the label Pentecostal. Now most are unknown or shunned by all Dukhizhnik congregations in California though located near most of the congregations in East Los Angeles County. Ironically, the Demos Shakarian clan, which split and founded the The Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International, is somewhat honored because they credited the Prygun prophet Klubnikin in their published history(24), yet are rejected for joining the “666” false faiths. Most welcome visitors, photography, and conversion. One congregation counted in 2007, La Habra Heights, California, USA

12. Other Classification Systems

See Two Classification Systems for Spiritual Christian Molokane, Pryguny, and others, and Brandjacking the Doukhobors and Molokans. English version In-Progress

Религиозные течения и секты. Справочник (Directory of religious denominations and sectarians)

Discontinued Labels
Though many labels have been used for the varieties of Spiritual Christians, most are now extinct or the labels no longer commonly used, for example: Knowers-Seers, True Spiritual Christians, Zionists, Akinfevs, Water Molokans, Sunday Molokans, Don group, Krylovs, Molokan-Sabbatarians (Molokan-Subbotniki), Saturday Molokans, Communalists, Noisy-nose-breathers, Bouncers, Molokan-Baptists, Molokan-Fasters, Clean, Stundist-Molokans, Evangelicals, Molokan-Presbyterians, New Molokans, Evangelical Christians, Springers (German translation of Pryguny) Shtundo-Evangelicals, New Israel, Tolstoyan, Nemolaky (non-prayers, non-worshipers)...

  1. Hastings, James, “Men of God,” Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. 8., 1916, page 546.
  2. ortho + doxa = right-correct-true-straight-proper + teaching-worship-doctrine-thinking-faith-belief-opinion-glory (Question and Answer : “Orthodox” Revisited - Part 2, The Orthodox Presbyterian Church.)

The chart below shows a simple holiday taxonomy of Spiritual Christian Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki. Compare to Calendar of Doukhobor Holidays in the Caucasus, by Jonathan Kalmakoff, Doukhobor Genealogy Website — arranged from data collected by Svetlana Inikova, Institute of Ethnography and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, in Holidays and Rituals of the Doukhobors in the Caucasus; and compare to Russian Orthodox holidays, feasts and fasts.

Holiday (Christ's, God's)1 Group
Russian, Поруссий*
(*character set = Windows-1251)
1 Bible reference
(more can be found)
Original, Constants,
Steadfast, Postoyannie
(in America)
Blagoveschenie, Благовещение
Luke 1:28-31



Palm Sunday  

(Palm Sunday)

Easter, Passover
 Paskha, Пасха
Leviticus 23:5-10
(Passion Week, Easter)
Ascension Day**
Voznesenie, Вознесение
Mark 16:1-8; Acts 1:9
Pentecost***, Trinity
Piatidesiatnitsa, Пятидесятница
Troitsa, Троица
Acts 2, Leviticus 23:16-23
Preobrazhenie, Преображение
Mathew 17:1-9
(Memorial, Blowing of) Trumpets***
Trubnyi, Трубный
Pamiat Trub, Памят Труб
Leviticus 23:23-25  
Fast Day of Atonement***
Post Sudnyi Den', Пост Судный День
Leviticus 16:29-34  
Festival of Shelters/Booths*** 4
Feast of Tabernacles
Kuschei, Kuscha, Кущей, Куща
Leviticus 23:33-44  
Harvest Festival4
Urozhai, zhatva : Урожай, жатва
Leviticus 23:33-44