духовных христианских групп: молокане, прыгуны и
— книги, общение, песни, праздники, пророки
by Andrei Conovaloff
Draft In-Progress: (Updated: 13 November 2016) Comments, corrections welcome — Administrator @ Molokane. org — Link: goo.gl/oGJX0U
For more than a century, since 1900, the Russian term molokan(1) unfortunately has too often been confusingly and vaguely misused to identify diverse a religious groups or any dissident —
For clarity and historic accuracy, the umbrella terms dukhovnye khristiane, Spiritual Christians in/ from Russia or sectarians in/ 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 faiths and/or groups in, or from, Old Russia, and/ or their descendants, whose ancestry is a mixture of Caucasian and Asiatic peoples; including Armenian, Chuvash, Finn, German, Russian, Tatar, Ukrainian, Mordvin, etc.
* "Sect" and "sectarian" as derived from the Latin secare, meaning "to cut or cut off."
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.
The purpose of this simple Taxonomy (classification system) is to
Other Spiritual Christian (non-Orthodox, sectarian) groups with origins in Old Russia that resettled in North America (Adventisty, Baptisti, Dukhobortsy,* Evangeliki, Pyatidesyatniki, Shalaputi, Subbotniki, Svobodniki, etc.) are not the focus of this taxonomy, though they are also sometimes mixed with, intermarried, and naively mislabeled as "Molokan" (umbrella term) along with other faiths and people around the world.
* Dukhobor is a romanized spelling of the Russian духобор, Canadian spelling: "Doukhobor." The most accurate plural is is Dukhobortsy
Spelling and Pronunciation Guide, and Relative Distribution
** For Spiritual Christians who retained their ancestral Southern Russian dialects, Prygun/ Pryguny must be pronounced as Prihun/ Prihuny (Pree-hoon/ Pree-hoo-NEE).(6)
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.
1. Founded in America. All Maksimisty are Dukh-i-zhizniki, but not all Dukh-i-zhizniki are Maksimisty.
2. 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.
5. 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 holy book). Over 100 prophesies are written in secret notebooks, which are shown only to members who believe in their holy spirit.
Эти три группы духовных христиан можно легко определить по их различним характеристикам.
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.
3. Поют во время обеда на свадьбах, похоронах, кстинах и праздниках..
4. 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.
1. Fundada en los Estados Unidos. Todos los Maksimisty son Dukh-i-zhizniki, pero no todos los Dukh-i-zhizniki son Maksimisty.
2. La mayoría fueron tomadas de canciones populares rusas y tomadas de los protestantes alemanes.
3. No durante el servicio, pero a menudo durante las comidas en las bodas, funerales, dedicación niño, días de fiesta.
4. 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 Kniga 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.
1. Amerika Birleşik Devletleri'nde kurulmuştur. Her Maksimist bir Dukh-i-zhizniki olan; bazı Dukh-i-zhizniki Maksimisty olan.
2. En çok Rus halk şarkıları uyarlanan ve Alman Protestanlar ödünç.
3. 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.
This Taxonomy answers 2 questions :
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; and, it is a safe easy incorrect word to use in English.
Captain P. A. Demens and Dr. P. V. Young, independently at different times intervened to help diverse groups of immigrants from Russia to resettle in the United States and Mexico. They intentionally mislabeled all Spiritual Christians from Russia in Southern California as "Molokans" for their own different altruistic reasons.
Short answer to question 2: What and who are they?
They are more than 3 different general categories of faiths/ religions with different histories. Only the one of the many is Molokan.
Why should I care about this simple Taxonomy?
To get a little education, just a little, so your vocabulary will be clear and you will know what you are talking about.
Selling Dukh-i-zhizniki or Pryguny as Molokane is false advertising. It's also big problem among Doukhobors in Canada: Selling Freedomites as Doukhobors is False Advertising. (28)
Can you imagine working with someone who has very little vocabulary and refuses to learn any new words?
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 10" ceramic frying pan "hammer," or a 15" pipe-wrench "hammer"? How can you work with them? Would you get the tools yourself, or teach them a few new words?
Imagine that your spiritual friends hear "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?
Many habitually continue the mistake to be consistent with previous mistakes, to not confuse the listener-reader. To me, this is like Socrates "for clarity" would continue to say the earth is flat, because most uneducated people still think that way, and he did not want to upset or confuse them. It is a monument to their stupidity, like people who continue to say that Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples, Native Americans, Tribes, First Nations, etc. are from India — Indians.
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" because it has a stick handle.
Not knowing alternatives is dangerous in professions where we expect expertise. Would you trust a dentist who only fixes teeth by pulling them because he/she does not know what else to do? What about a doctor who diagnoses every ailment the same and always prescribes one remedy? But you trust the 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 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:
Who are Spiritual Christian Milk-drinkers?
Dukhovnye khristiane-molokane (Духовные христиане-молокане : Spiritual Christian Milk-drinkers) 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."
Molokane (named about 1765 in Central Russia) are the oldest, largest and the most documented and organized of these 3 confused Spiritual Christian groups. Molokane have a central hierarchy (a bureaucracy), 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 Christians in Russia, not Orthodox, who kept about 10% of Orthodox ritual.
A more accurate label for this faith is Ne-postniki (Non-Fasters), because they were Christian people in Russia who did not comply with the ~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 products, like milk (moloko, молоко).
Much misunderstanding results from erroneous history about migration to North America about 1900. Too often Molokane are confused with Dukhobortsy and many other sects 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 Molokane outside of Northern California are false.
Who/What are Dukh-i-zhizniki and Pryguny?
They are not Molokane, and most never were. Their histories are very different, and they are not new custodians of a New Molokan faith or identity.
Dukh-i-zhizniki were founded about 1928 in the U.S.A., not in Russia, as new religious movements which use the Russian language holy (divine scripture) book Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' in addition to the Old Russian Bible. Congregations that use the Dukh i zhizn' (short title) are loosely networked transformed 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 public phone number, no official representatives or central organization,(7) no official website or centralized world-wide network, and no printed journal or newsletter. Though each Dukh-i-zhiznik congregation has one or more prophets, only the writings of 4 prophets (+1 added in supplement) from Russia are published in their holy book: Kniga solnste, dukh i zhin' (Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life, 1928) which separates them from all other faiths. Oral and notebook prophecies of perhaps 100 other prophets exist, and about 200 prophets have been active in the past century. Since no inter-congregational congresses are held, leadership is often entrenched and authoritarian by location. 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 (few have easy-to-find agents or addresses), even if they they personally know you, or are required by law. 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. While the diaspora formally prohibits (or scorns) inter-faith and public exchanges, those in the Northern Caucasus typically participate in events organized by regional government.(8) Some of the most zealous practicing diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki today have internalized their historic oppression from the 1800s, and many express group behavior similar to a selfish herd and an "introversionist sect."(9)
Pryguny or Skakuny probably began in Central Russia due to contact with Protestants from Europe, then aggregated about 1833 in South Ukraine, but not were not consistently named until about 1856 in the Southern Caucasus. They are historically a somewhat intermediary weak evolutionary link between many sectarian groups and Dukh-i-zhizniki. The Prygun faiths were further influenced and formed 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 it was isolated, fragmented, illegal and hid. Reports variously described congregants in Russian as beguny, pryguny, shalaputy, sionisty, skakuny, stranniki, vedentsy, among other terms; and in English as jumpers, leapers, noisy-nose-breathers, knowers, hoppers, bouncers and dancers. Probably more than half 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 Caucasus, and from local Protestants. 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) 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. 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. 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. All 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 a prayer hall. In the U.S.A., coreligionists are hired for meeting hall janitorial services. Among diaspora, only the Dukh-i-zhiznik elementary school, Hacienda Heights CA, has paid staff; and their cemeteries hire non-white laborers because many believers obey a commandment in their Dukh i zhizn' to hire "Arabs" (people of color) to become wealthy, therefore zealous adherents refuse to volunteer to perform community service manual labor. Some Dukh-i-zhizniki forbid their members from aiding members of other faiths ("non-believers", heretics).
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). Their new ritual holy books (which transformed through at least 7 versions, 1915-1928) and faiths were exported (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 holy book sent from Los Angeles, they mostly remained separate faiths to this day because each faith has its own lead elders and prophets.
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 holy books 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 diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki as heresy and apostasy which was inflamed when they mailed a free newsletter, The Bessednik (sic), for more than a decade (1980-1990s) to over 4,500 households listed in the mislabeled 1980 Молокан Directory (1980 Spiritual Christian Directory), of mostly diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki. The intense verbal attacks deterred much wanted similar congregations from forming in Southern California.
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-fifth of their total populations in 1900. See: Reasons for migration, Dukh-i-zhizniki in America.
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 Canada from the Southern Caucasus, and by 1930 a total of 8,800 had arrived in Canada. The majority 2/3 remained in Russia.
The second slower wave began in 1904 among non-dukhobor Spiritual Christians, to Los Angeles, California, where a third as many (less than 3,000) 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. In Canada the collective term for Spiritual Christian was simplified by outsiders to various spellings of "Doukhobor" (30+). 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.
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.
The false Molokan label became ingrained into the collective memory of the Dukh-i-zhiznik diaspora 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, 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, 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.
The false single simple label probably allowed the advisers and agents:
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, 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 that 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 and described them by various alleged characteristic heresies (eresi) and traits —
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-Washington", "fruit-apple-Granny", "fruit-banana-Plantain", 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 uses illegal drugs, and about 1% uses cocaine. 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 hide in Old Russia they can worship in non-Orthodox way. If people hide in the U.S.A., they can use drugs.
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) 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. Some diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki hate this Taxonomy you are now reading because it involuntarily outs them, reveals their secret identities and gives them an accurate collective label.
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 family and business.
Demens was probably most impressed with the real Molokane who probably came in early 1905 from Harbin, China. 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.
[Photo of first 34 Molokane]
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 near 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 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 sectarian population 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 falsely continues today.
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 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, 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 fluent Russian, were excluded from sobranie politics because they were not married, and most were not interested in mystical rituals in a foreign language.
Young predicted the immigrant cultures 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.
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 diaspora 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, 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 the word 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 (molokane.org) is the only website in English with extensive content about Molokans around the world. Many temporary web sites were started by diaspora 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 Christians — Molokan(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.
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 liturgy — songs, holidays, books and rituals.
In the Americas, they are also easily identified by location.
1. All Maksimisty are Dukh-i-zhizniki, but not all Dukh-i-zhizniki are Maksimisty.
2. 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.
5. About 200 prophets since 1900, but only 4 major prophets in their Dukh i zhizn' (holy book). 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 both Orthodox/Catholics and Protestants, but not in Russia where only the Orthodox faith was legal. Because non-Orthodox faiths were illegal, 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 brethren. Currently in Ivanovka, Azerbaijan, the term tserkva (церква : church) is being used during interviews with young reporters who typically do not know their Russian historical terminology.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 totaled at least 10% of the Russian population.
In 1900, sectarians (non-Orthodox Russian) 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 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, and probably did, described themselves by many terms used in Russia in 1900 and upon immigration when they first met other faiths (tribes, bands), such as:
Some of these labels (1-28 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, #6 (Ierusalem) and #19 (Sion) are opposites in diaspora Prygun and Dukh-i-zhizniki history. Some diaspora 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. These definitions have nothing to do with the use of "Zion" by outsiders. 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 sometimes defined with their own religious terms. The only obvious commonality is their holy book, which is variously interpreted, like 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.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 Russian Jews, 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.
Widespread confusion 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 these different groups. It appears that she may have intentionally camouflaged her 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 Russian Jews, Russian Orthodox, and non-Orthodox non-Jewish 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 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"
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 and jumping (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 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 loud 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.
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 before he was jailed. 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 holy book 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 Jumpers (Heufers) in Tavria. (Citation) Many of the behaviors of Bezayeff, as reported by Berokoff and the press, appear similar to symptoms of brain disorders.
In Los Angeles, the Americanizing Spiritual Christian youth needed a neutral unique identity for several critical reasons, if they were to stay in the city:
They did not use the English translation, “Milk-Drinker,” which is confusing if used for a group identity; rather, they kept the Russian term which Demens repeatedly used. Explaining that Molokan means "milk-drinker" could enhance association with whiteness, goodness. By habit and wide misuse, the 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) diminished rapidly, falsely replaced by "Molokan" and variant combinations. 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 diaspora 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) and 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 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 most 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 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.
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 (Mennonites), and immediately divided into groups and quarreled, causing a farm colony to fail before it could start.
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 holy book 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.”
The "Molokan" label was desired because is was unique, simple, and translated as “milk-drinkers,” 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 "Milk-Drinker," while all other labels are translated, or transformed into more socially acceptable English forms — like "church" for meeting / prayer hall / assembly.
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.
After 1933, the label “Spiritual Jumpers” in English only remained in public view on the front sign (above) of "Big Church" (Bol'shaya sobraniya, 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 Dukhizhinik congregations in Southern California.
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.
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 pryunov = 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.
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.He falsely narrated that his "Molokan" martyr Maksim Rudomyotkin stayed in this room, which he could not believe was so nice. The sign says: пригунов, genitive plural for пригун : prygun. Russian literate viewers could see 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.
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.
In the caption (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 sign or shown on official documents he 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 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 reads the death notice literally, that upon death Rudomyotkin abandoned his Prygun faith and converted to the Molokan faith, as written, then his writings must be edited to show that at the end of his life he accepted the Molokan faith as better than his, and abandoned his 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 in small script was a mistake; the word should have been Prygun.In contrast, the term Molokan(s) appears 108 times in his 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 and corrections for labeling bias, translation, and irregular and missing citations, this book can become a good study guide for diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki, unless they believe he converted before he died.
Are these 2 Dukh-i-zhiznik teachers (preceptors, front-row speakers) — Pivovaroff and Shubin — intentionally misleading their students, confused about their religious history and identity, both, or something else?
4. Is Molokan one faith, many faiths, an ethnic group, or a non-Russian nationality?
Answer: all of the above, depending on who is using the term. After a century of misuse in North America the Russian term “molokan” has unfortunately lost it's original meaning, which must be restored to make sense of the history of Spiritual Christians and to intelligently discuss them. It's like saying dogs are cats, or bananas are apples, or girls are boys; because you don't 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 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.
6 Definitions used for the term "Molokan"
The wide and long-term misuse of the word "Molokan"
produced broad-spectrum religious and political
arguments about "who is a Molokan."
A liberal(18) use allows anyone, whether of descent from the Former Soviet Union or not, to mistakenly declare they are “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 Molokan Picnic, everyone is 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 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 diaspora households (~20,000 descendants, assuming
4 per household) were willing to be listed in an English
language unpublished diaspora English 1985 Молокан Directory,
though about half were neither practicing Dukh-i-zhizniki nor Molokane by faith. People affiliated
with the "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
Because zealots protested that ne nashi
(outsiders) were listed in the dispora 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 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,
etc. His request for membership lists from all
congregations was rejected by many and the project
dropped. When I asked my father, the presbyter in
Arizona, for such a list, 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
Molokane in the Former Soviet Union have no
trouble listing members, keeping log books, and some
post a membership roster on their assembly wall. Many Dukhizhzinik
congregations now keep a private membership roster
to contact members, and a donation ledger to maintain
their non-profit legal status to avoid taxes.
This seemingly silly and ironic question was discovered
more that 40 years ago by Mike M. Podsakoff, Fresno,
while attending a U.M.C.A. summer camp at Hume
Lake, Fresno County, in the Sierra-Nevada
Mountains. Mike 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
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 Mike founded what became
the "Our Gang" singles club. I was hired to be Athletic
Director, and Mike was appointed to the Recreation
Committee with Willie Steve Evseff (Alhambra CA) and Jay
Kalpakoff (Huntington Beach). We worked well together.
During that time, Mike told me about what appeared to
be a paradox. He discovered a question that always
immediately divided the group asked. Half answer yes,
half no, 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. Mike's
It proved to be a fascinating repeatable social
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.
How could they always disagree about being Christian,
and why? 40 years ago we proved the phenomenon existed,
but could not explain it.
Mike 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 be explained using
Both kinds mixed at the L.A.-U.M.C.A.
in the 1970s.
The 2 groups (social and practicing) did not clash much
because the L.A.-U.M.C.A. was 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 since 1938. There were
many who easily straddled both realms, like the late
"Little Al" Shubin.
The most zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki never entered
the L.A.-U.M.C.A. grounds (Gage
Ave, East Los Angeles) because of a prophecy that
the "devil danced on the roof." Children of the zealots
would gather on the street across from the north
entrance to socialize while not disobeying their
parents' orders to not step inside the fence. Drinking
vegetarian beer and wine was permitted, evidenced by the
many bottles left on the curbs and thrown in the parking
lot. I helped fill a trash can with bottles and cans one
summer after Wednesday Chai Nite. 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/
burn rubber on the street, rather than go inside, and
sometimes their smoke filled the assembly hall.
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."* In reality,
about half the families only attended the L.A.-U.M.C.A.
and went home, while the Dukh-i-zhizniki
attended their "mother" sobrania and believed
they remotely controlled the organization via the
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
radiating closer to the new neighborhoods of the 3rd and
4th generation in East Los Angeles County. Families who
of Los Angeles were confronted in the 1970s with
neighborhood integration facilitated by the Housing
and Community Development Act of 1974 (sections 8
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 quests 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 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 (M.E.S.) and chulok molodoi sobranie ("Young Church", youth assembly) continued, mostly replacing the former activities of the traditional Sunday School and "Wednesday Night Church."
If tried in San Francisco, this social experiment 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 Christians;" and, probably give the questioner a Christian lesson.
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, ExChristian.net (7/22/2009), 42 comments. (Backup
copy.) Such abuses are more common than he knows.
mistaken use of the term "Molokan" for an ethnic group
or nationality must stop and be restored to the
original term (dukhovnye
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.
5. Three Faiths Today
This is a summary 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.
Less than 1% of Molokane have ever witnessed charismatic religious jumping, and fewer have seen or even read any part of the book: 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.
In Summer 1992, a 30-year anniversary of the 1962 resettlement of Old Ritualists and Spiritual Christians from Kars Turkey to Levokumskoe region, Stavropol territory, was celebrated in the town of Levokumskoe. 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 (readers) do have a term. Use it to make sense out of non-sense.
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 congregation. The Dukh-i-zhiznik label appears to be the best fit for their lexicon. (Send comments to <Adminstrator @ Molokane.org>) 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."
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, Novyi Izrail', 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.
This section is for diaspora 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 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, Novyi Izrail', 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 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.
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 Wikipedia.org, 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
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 areDukh-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. 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 (Wikipedia.org), 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 MolokansAn 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.
Instead, there is a host of separate assemblies
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?
The 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).
6. Pancakes — How ca n 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.
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 Russian heritage, hence reducing identity with the Russian Empire and language, replacing Russian 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 education anyone should learn to identify the fewer faiths of Spiritual Christians.
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.
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 diaspora in Los Angeles county, who only 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.
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.
They never met and worked for 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.
(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 appears 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 or another faith, the simple false label propagated by Demens, the local Russian expert, spread and stuck, until corrected by this Taxonomy.
Demens probably used the shorter and false code-switched label, rather than the English "milk-drinker," to help dispel fear and doubt about a huge immigration wave to Los Angeles. He whitewashed(25) them for promotion as one huge group of the most desirable all-literate citizens, White Protestants, not Jews, neither anarchists nor fanatics nor pagans, neither terrorists nor revolutionaries — apolitical, clean Christians. 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 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.
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, a writer, the oldest of his 5 kids was starting college, his wife was active in women's clubs, and he was THE local pundit about Russia in Los Angeles newspapers. Though born and christened Orthodox, his humanitarianism was Tolstoyan. He knew Russian and American culture, and he 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 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 central Russia, but was not satisfied. While attending the 1878 Paris Exhibition he met a relative who was living in Florida, and praised America and Florida. In 1881 Demens sold his land in Russia to move to Florida intending to farm, but opened a lumber mill with 2 partners in Longwood, Florida, near Orlando, where he was elected mayor, and ran for the 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, 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 knew 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 planing mill. From 1891 to 1895, he moved his family to Los Angeles, intending to move to San Francisco, after an economic recession when prices were relatively low. He opened a steam laundry in the Flat(s), and used the profits to buy a citrus grove in Alta Loma (now Rancho Cucamonga), in west San Bernadino County.
In October 1893 he 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 success. 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 will form the expert committee to aid the Spiritual Christians who arrive a decade later.
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 ("from Tver oblast" his home), 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 Russo-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 Doukhobor history because he protested directly to those coordinating the Doukhobor migration to central Canada, but all the historians and journalists focusing on Doukhobors in Canada missed the story that Demens was actively recruiting Doukhobors to the U.S. and 3 visited him in Los Angeles.
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.
Canada 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, 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.
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. (Maps by Jonathan Kalmakoff, Doukhobor Genealogy Website)
If the non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians would have chosen Canada instead of obeying Demens, many more could have emigrated with financial support for travel, large land allotments and military exemption for 99 years, but they would have to sign for their land as individuals. One can speculate about the possible interaction among the most zealous individuals from each immigration group if they all met in Canada.
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 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 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.
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 Novye Israil, not Maksimist, etc.
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 as Molokans.
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. If he could have separated them, as he would have done to employees, into their own identity 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.
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 from Russia, similar to Dukhobortsy, mostly Pryguny, Klubnikinisty, Maksimisty, Pivovarovtsy with minor groups of Molokane, Subbotniki, Stundisti, Sionisty and 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 (Blumenthals, Cherbak, Dr. Kryshtofovich, ...). 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. 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. Decades later, as their Russian language diminished, the assimilated/ intergrated descendants of these immigrants may have internalized and expressed affinity for only this simple code-switched loan-word, instead of "milk-drinker," to the extent of excluding all historical and accurate alternatives, which may be harder to pronounce with more consonants, and have less emotional appeal (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 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 fall 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 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. The contract only identified them as "Russian settlers" (colonos rusos), 2 times. They signed and 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 them as the “cream of Russia’s population — a desirable class of White residents.” (See: Demens Introduces “Molokans” to Hawaii)
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. In February 1906 only about one-sixth (110 of ~700 who signed up, 16%) 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. Shubin returned from Texas disappointed, then extensively scouted Mexico and most of the U.S., but resided in Los Angeles, opposed the new holy book: Kniga solntse, dukh i zhizn', and died in 1932.
Both colonization groups (obschiny) in Hawaii and Mexico argued upon arrival, and 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, 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. Their camp shacks were trashed by angry Japanese workers ordered to vacate. Familiar vegetables for borshch (potatoes, cabbage, carrots) were not available, and some claimed their profession was wagon drivers 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 secured. 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 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 to meet with 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 colling themselves svobodniki (free people) protested against a rule change to take oaths, own land, mandatory government controlled education, but are not deported.
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 in Sinaloa, Mexico.
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 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, and the largest fraction (mixed Spiritual Christians, with few Molokane) were content in Los Angeles slums — their new poly-ethnic enclave — a "kingdom in the city" which perplexed historian Ethel Dunn for decades. She could not understand why the majority of these Spiritual Christians stayed in large American cities while leaders and prophets exclaimed they were seeking a "refuge, away from the world."
When Demens and/or Verigin were in Russia, did they recommend to the government that the expected huge migration of non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians to North America be stopped? Research in-progress.
In 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 in mansions, some in Pasadena. 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. Many moved south of the Flat(s) closer to Demens' businesses to live in 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.
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 Lev Tolstoy consultant) 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, 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 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.
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 in Central California failed. 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. 15 years later, H.E. Huntington again offered about a 50-square-mile tract near the Central California coast for all to settle, probably the Santa Ynez Valley (Solvang), as many elders had requested. 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, the overcrowding 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 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 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.
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, 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)
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.
In 1914 the Bethlehem Institutions were closed by the new city charity commission for mismanagement. 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.
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 holy book(s) by 2 new graduate students.
In January 1916 military exception expired in Mexico. The congregation there from Novo-Mikhailovka (Tiukma, Diukma), Kars, departed for 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 (but one who 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."
In St. Petersburg, Florida, he 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.
(1896-1977), married to Dr. Erle F. Young. Both were sociology professors at U.S.C. 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.
Her goals apparently were divided, outward to reassure society the immigrants were safe, and inward to understand and change the behaviors of the immigrants. Her main task was to investigate if these immigrants were an anarchist political sect or a religious cult. 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 work was thorough in some ways, but lacking in other ways.
Young only identified them as "Jumpers" 9 times and the Russian term Pryguny (Prygunov) is in the book title, but she extensively misused the term Molokan(s) nearly exclusively in all of her 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?
No evidence can be found that anyone ever questioned her reports or false labeling, until here and now (year 2010). 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.
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 provided 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. Compare to their Russian villages, big city life was much easier if you had a job.
On the other hand, 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 advise nor guide the 12 various religious leaders from Russia who moved away from his neighborhood as he moved farther east. In the Flat(s), charities and government expanded services for aliens (Armenians, Chinese, Italians, Japanese, Mexicans, Russians, Slavs, etc.) and the poor.
In 1913 the Vislick family left Russian-Poland, when "Pola" was about 17. Within 5 years, by 1918, Pauline Vislick (age ~22) was an undergraduate student, majoring in sociology at the University of Chicago. In September 1918, she married graduate student, Erle F. Young (age 30), born in America. Both were Jewish. The following year, 1919, she graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree (Ph.B.) in Sociology. She became a naturalized citizen in 1920. He earned his Ph.D. about 1922 while teaching at the same college. She transformed into a professional American in less than 10 years..
In Chicago, they were near the Canadian border during W.W.I where about 5,000 Ukrainians were arrested trying to cross into the U.S., and 8600 interned (jailed from 1914 to 1920) 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 "Old [sectarian] 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.
In January 1916, 130 Pryguny moved from Mexico to Central Arizona. The leader V.G. Pivovaroff believed all in Mexico will soon follow. 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 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 labeled 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 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, 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:
In 1920 during the post war depression, most of the distant rural colonies formed by Spiritual Christians, who fled from the "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.
In 1922 Russia expected most of their citizens who migrated out to return, by the thousands. About 20 Molokane from San Francisco rejoined Kars relatives who were relocated to eastern Rostov Oblast. Doukhobors in Canada
By the 1920s, the University of Southern California (U.S.C.) in Los Angeles had the most robust sociology program on the west coast with close connections with the University of Chicago. The Youngs appear to have been recruited to U.S.C., he as a teacher and she as a graduate student. About 1923, Pauline V. Young, age 29, enrolled in the sociology graduate program at the U.S.C. She arrived nearly 20 years after the first Spiritual Christians from Russia came to Los Angeles, and 10 years after most all had arrived. Most Spiritual Christians from Russia had been integrating and assimilating(19) for 15 years, and about 2000 poor failed colonists 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 again move away to farms.
Mrs. Pola Young was born in the Russian Partition (Russian Poland), 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 continue the research begun by Lillian Sokoloff a decade earlier on the fragmented 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
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, and understood many of their holidays. She also arrived about decade after the educated Russians (Demens, Cherbak, de Blumenthal, etc.) gave up, Bethlehem closed (1914), and Sokoloff reported (1918), during a long lull in sincere outsider interest by a Russian-speaker. Her first task involved examining the book they were debating and trying to republish about 7 times, which they called Dukh i zhizn'.
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 from Kerman.
In October 1924, Peter V. Verigin, the leader of the Christian Community of Universal Brother hood (C.C.U.B., communal Doukhobors in Canada) 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. Also this year, 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).
Young finished her master thesis in 1925, which focused on the new holy book project — Dukh i zhizn' — being debated and revised. She then worked as a social economist for the State of California, and the next year 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 gather the Los Angeles data.
Also in 1925, a book about juvenile delinquency, Youth in Conflict by Miriam Van Waters, was published, in which the first case 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
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. The Department of Sociology at U.S.C. was a growing team of scientists trying to guide the diagnosis and cure of social ills — alcoholism, poverty, illiteracy, crime, unemployment, teen pregnancy, prostitution, etc.
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 the poorest neighborhood 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-current slang name for her subjects' territory — Russian-Town — in the title of her book.
In 1926, Spiritual Christians, 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), the deal probably failed because they would have to fund their own travel and supplies, which those in Mexico could not do. Those in Los Angeles, were probably not interested in leaving the city for any reason.
In 1928 the final version of Kniga solnste, dukh i zhizn' was published and placed (by the Holy Spirit in T. Bezayeff) on the tables of all congregations in Southern California forcing them to eventually convert to Dukh-i-zhizniki.
In 1932, approximately 600 Sons of Freedom including 365 children were arrested, and 546 convicted, for public nudity. In 1933, 570 were jailed, costing many millions of dollars.
In 1932, her book The Pilgrims of Russian-Town was published. It was a combination of her master's and Ph.D. theses. The secondary title 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 correctly defines her subjects as immigrants from Russia who call themselves Spiritual Christian Pryguny 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.
It's a mystery why she never met real Molokane in San Francisco. Was it intentional, or due to lack of interest or time? Did she assume they were all the same without checking? Why were the Spiritual Christians in Los Angeles the focus of her work and not the real Molokane in San Francisco? Was it because the govenment was more interested in the Los Angeles immigrants? Certainly the city government and schools were interested in interventions for juvenile delinquency, truancy, and other crimes.
Her mislabeling broadly spread the misnomer initiated by Demens 2 decades earlier, providing a false scholarly endorsement 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.
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), though 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 mostly saying they are "cats" — grossly, totally deceptive!
She mentions Postoyannie only 7 times, 35% as often as Prygun (7/20 = 0.35). She defines this term only citing the Dukh i zhizn':
" ... the Postoyannye, or Steady, who do not jump, denying any religious validity of the estasy which sweeps over the individual when under the influence of the Holy Ghost.(4)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 understand that Postoyannie was a Maksimist pejorative for Molokane, nor that Maksimisty and Pryguny are a different faith from Molokane, 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.
Diaspora Molokane and Pryguny could marry diaspora 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. 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 front of her, but she could not distinguish who was what.
Only one case interview mentioned Postoyannie. A woman married out, divorced and married a "Steady." She is quoted:
"... 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. 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 holy book, 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 Dukh-i-zhizniki.
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 holy book Spirit and Life and jump during services. A myth. Disinformation. Bad Science.
Closer examination, or a historical revision, shows that her subjects were Spiritual Christian Pryguny, as stated in her title, who are producing a new holy book they first titled Dukh i zhizn'. They were sectarians (non-Orthodox Russian citizens, heretics) who identify themselves 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 holy book, 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." ..She did not recognize, or refused to recognize, that her subjects were a new faith based on a new holy book, a faith now accurately called 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, either not seen 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 pioneered social research about urban juvenile delinquency.
While appearing credible due to affiliations and credentials, her research had major flaws. Perhaps her focus on juvenile delinquency was so narrow that it limited a broader perspective, 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.
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.
From 1926 to 1928, Pryguny in Mexico and Los Angeles planned a joint migration to Alberta, Canada. This event was missed and/or omitted by Young and Berokoff.
In 1933 [in-progress]
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.
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 Novyi izrail' failed to move to Israel. By default the promised land for the majority transformed into a kingdom in the city — a Mother colony in the Flats and Boyle Heights — a melting pot of many 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).
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:
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 “milk-drinkers,” “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.
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” (novyi 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 diaspora 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 diaspora 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
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 diaspora 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:
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 (molokane.org) in the U.S.:
Spiritual Christian Dukh-i-zhizniki
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.
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 widely used.
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 diaspora 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.
1. Founded in America. All Maksimisty are Dukh-i-zhizniki, but not all Dukh-i-zhizniki are Maksimisty.
2. 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.
5. 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 holy book). Over 100 prophesies are written in secret notebooks, which are shown only to members who believe in their holy spirit.
Molokane, Pryguny, and Dukh-i-zhizniki can most easily be differentiated by their religious holidays.
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 cannot sing with them.
2010-2020 Spiritual Christian Molokan Holiday Calendar in Russian (left) and English. (From Vest', 2009 Vol. 6, page 4)
A. Molokane — 10-11 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 drinking milk 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: SDHM.ru), 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.
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), Novyi izrail' (New Israel : Новый Израйль), Skoptsy (Castrates : Скопцы), Shaloputy (Шалопуты), and other sectarians. (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,”these Spiritual Christians belittled original Molokane by saying we are dukhovnye and they are postoyannie (Russian : постоянние, constant, steadfast, unchanged, original, genuine, authentic). This term is either used as an insult by non-Molokan faiths who want the Molokan label, or it is converted semantically as a defensive modifier by Molokane to clarify that their faith is the "unchanged original.'
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
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 diaspora 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.
** 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% appeared to have left the Prygun faith in the diaspora. 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.
3. Dukh-i-zhizniki — 5-6 holidays. Dukh-i-zhizniki is a Russian term for “people who use the book Dukh i zhizn',” or "Spirit-and-Lifers." They are descendants of various zealous Spiritual Christian faiths who transformed to new faiths 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 a mixture of non-Molokan Spiritual Christian congregations (Prygun, Sionist, Klubnikinist, Maksimisty, Novyi israil, etc.) mainly from what is now Central Armenia, among followers of the Prygun presviter Maksim G. Rudomyotkin, also 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 joined in Los Angeles along with other zealous faiths.
Dukh-i-zhizniki 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 rituals on all congregations.
Some 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.
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 organized after 1906 in San Francisco. In the Former Soviet Union the Dukh-i-zhiznik books are often collectively called obryadniki (обрядники : ritual, ceremony books).
After 7(?) 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.
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 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 in 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 ritual" of Rudomyotkin took decades.
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 faith 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), changing pages 747 to 758. (Research in-progress.)
In 1965-66, 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 Russian Jews and other immigrants regarding mystery words. In the summer of 1966 in Los Angeles, after Wednesday Night assembly, John Volkov, driven by Andrei A. Shubin, arrived at the LA-UMCA 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 UMCA 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 said 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 heresy.
While getting married in 1972, George G. Shubin was told that he was lucky to get one of the last copies from the U.M.C.A. inventory. He studied editing and publishing at East Los Angeles Community College and edited the U.M.C.A. newsletter, and volunteered to organize a reprinting. With the help of his buddy John Kornoff, they assisted the elder publisher Paul I. Samarin to reprint the original 1928 edition. They added a much needed 8-page index at the end and kept a 1-page insert Samrain added in 1958 to explain the various versions. The 1975 edition has 766 pages, x 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" in the original form. Daniel H.Shubin heard George's complaint and revealed the existence of the Volkov translation, apparently known by few. G. Shubin insisted that it must be printed, and formed a volunteer committee with J. Kornoff and Daniel Shubin to finally produced the first English version of the Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life, despite intense objections from zealots. In 1976 all objections dissolved due to competition from Australia.
Independently in 1976, the first complete translation was published in South Australia (2 editions) 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 said he consulted Russian-born immigrants in Australia for help with translating and proofreading his translation 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 (outsiders) to do his translating, and they emphasize the word ne nashi as a pejorative implying it was translated by "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 the majority 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. 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 footnoting was amateur. (Statistical analyses of footnotes in-progress.)
When all footnotes were pasted into the page-by-page Volkov manuscript, G. Shubin and J. Kornoff arranged for typesetting, proofing and publication in 1983, x copies, 768 pages. 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. All copies became property of the U.M.C.A., which was now mostly controlled by Dukh-i-zhizniki.
During the project, G. Shubin had a first chance to study the book, which shocked him and his wife so much that they abandoned the Dukh-i-zhiznik faiths, then moved to Oregon to raise a family, where they joined a congregation for which he became the newsletter editor. Kornoff remained in Los Angeles area, and unfortunately died in 19__. D.H. Shubin expanded his influence by publishing more books and web pages supporting his versions of Dukh-i-zhiznik history, most notable is Guide to the [Book of the Sun,]Spirit and Life with Supplements, 1999, 253 pages.
Only the Russian versions 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.)
Diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki apparently outwardly claimed the religious label Molokan for many reasons, including:
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 Americans and diaspora 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. Congregations are divided internally and between congregations and remain irreversibly divided, by geography, by the extent of use and acceptance of the Dukh i zhizn', various old Russian rituals and traditions, 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 Molokan members.
By the 1950s, all Prygun congregations in the U.S.A. (not Mexico) were officially, though not intrinsically, converted to Dukh-i-zhiznik. In 1950 many immigrant Pryguny who arrived in Los Angeles from Iran (Persia) were rejected by locally established zealot Dukh-i-zhizniki, who believed they converted all congregations to their faiths, 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 because his son Phillip co-founded an English Prygun congregation, not using the Dukh i zhizn', and co-published the Bessednik (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. They have bullied people based on allegations and actions of relatives.
Dukh-i-zhizniki around the world have divided for many reasons (not in rank order):
In Los Angeles Maksimist and Prygun-etc. 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. She worked as a maid, and her boyfriend's family 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 reporting religious persecution in Los Angeles as 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 many court cases and the work of Dr. Rev. Bartlett. 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 to be arrested 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, bail paid by congregants) and ordered to re-do all marriages legally. 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 kingdom 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 but avoid and scorn the orgnaized Molokane, S.D.K.M. The most zealous congregations in the Former Soviet Union (F.S.U.) reject all diaspora 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 diaspora 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, the zealous diaspora calls them "Jerusalem," essentially outsiders (ne nashi).
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 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.
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)
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)...
The chart below shows a simple holiday taxonomy of Spiritual Christian Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki.
|Holiday (Christ's, God's)1||Group|
(*character set = Windows-1251)
|1 Bible reference
(more can be found)
(Passion Week, Easter)
|Mark 16:1-8; Acts 1:9||
|Acts 2, Leviticus 23:16-23||
|(Memorial, Blowing of) Trumpets***
Pamiat Trub, Памят Труб
|Fast Day of Atonement***
Post Sudnyi Den', Пост Судный День
|Festival of Shelters/Booths*** 4
Feast of Tabernacles
Kuschei, Kuscha, Кущей, Куща
Urozhai, zhatva : Урожай, жатва
(3-Day Fast, Thanksgiving4)
|Birth of Christ,
Rozhdestvo Khrista, Рождество Христа
(Christmas Eve Youth Program,
Christmas Day Service5)
|Annunciation — March 25, announcement by angel
Gabriel to the Virgin Mary of the incarnation of Christ.
Ascension Day — 40th day after Easter, for the bodily passing of Christ from earth to heaven.
Transfiguration — August 6, festival for the supernatural change in the appearance of Christ on the mountain.
Epiphany — January 6, for the coming of the 3 gentile wise men, Magi, to Jesus at Bethlehem, and baptism.
|***||See Interpretation of American Jumper Holidays (with Jewish comparison)|
|Information is from many
The oldest is an 1874 Spiritual Christian (Molokan) calendar found in the Russian State Historical Archive (RGIA, St. Petersburg) by Edward J. Samarin in summer 1992 and published in Molokan NEWS (1993, San Francisco CA).
In 1997, I photocopied a holiday table typed by the head speaker (Besednik) of the Dukhovnye congregation in Inozemstvo, Stavropol'skii territory, Russia (near Piatigorsk). His table showed their holidays for the entire decade of the 1990s. His congregation resettled from Azerbaijan in the mid-1990s. The use of these holidays was confirmed by elders of the Piatigorsk Dukhovnye, who left Kars in the 1920s, whose elder prophet Botiev added that there are two categories of holidays — Christ's and God's — and that every holiday is important, but the Molokane and Dukh-i-zhizniki each reject half of our holidays.
For comparison see Holidays and Rituals of Doukhobors in the Caucasus, by Svetlana A. Inikova, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Calendar of Doukhobor Holidays in the Caucasus, compiled by Jonathan J. Kalpakoff.
|The first Molokane
kept the major Orthodox Christian holidays, which some now
call Christ's Holidays. Also in the beginning
many judiazers (Sabbatarians. Russian: Subbotniki) joined
the Molokane (See Miluikov)
and the Old Testament God's Holidays were
added. I suspect that early Molokane were allowed to chose their
sabbath day (Saturday or Sunday), and which holidays to
follow (all or some). In the 1700s a large group of
Sabbatarians in Saratov led by Dolmatov joined and many
refused the compromise causing a split — probably into
Constants (Sunday Molokane),
Sabbatarians (Saturday Molokane),
and Dukhovnye. (See Miluikov).
In 1833, many of the Dukhovnye
in the Milky Waters area (See
Hoover & Petrov, chap. 12: “Salt and Light”;
chap 5). In the 1860s in the Caucasus, one leader
among the several Prygun
groups, M.G. Rudomyotkin, removed Christ's
Holidays for his followers (See
Berokoff, Addenda XXX), who were labeled Maksimisty in the
Lane). During the 1910s in America, the American Pryguny, who
dominated all but two American Constant congregations,
began to insist that "Maksim's rituals" (new rituals : novie obriad) be
Berokoff, chap 3) and removed Christ's
Holidays, which caused concern, and jealousy,
among youth who felt deprived of American Christian
celebrations like Christmas. Before WWII, the UMCA
sponsored youth activities during Christmas (carol
singing, gift stockings) and Easter (candy baskets). This
practice was mostly officially stopped by newer elected
officers before the UMCA relocated to East Los Angeles,
about 1950. In the mid-1950s, the Dukhovnye Pryguny who
immigrated from Persia (Iran) were told by the dominant
to abandon Christ's Holidays or be labeled
Berokoff, chap. 8), even though the American
obeyed these holidays. With no freedom of religion allowed
congegations in America became Dukh-i-zhizniki.
|Most descendants of Pyguny
in America (and those who moved to Australia ) who
claim to be ethnic and religious Molokans practice the Dukh-i-zhiznik faith.
In America, some dominant members of the Dukh-i-zhizniki
claimed to be the “center of Molokansim” while ignoring
the real Molokane.
Also confusing is that congegations and individulas who
use the book Dukhi
zhizn' are not in agreement. They differ widely
on interpretation and focus. Some believe Rudomyotkin did
not die, but rose into heaven, some say on a white horse.
Some sing songs to praise Rudomiotkin, others avoid such
songs. Some Dukh-i-zhizniki
primarily follow Klubnikin, or David Esseich, not
Rudomyotkin. Some are ashamed of, or hate the book, yet
tollerate it to be socially accepted, to keep their
position in their congregation, and/or be accepted by
other congregations. Some use the book in place of the
Bible. Despite these differences, all Dukh-i-zhizniki place
the book Dukhi zhizn'
on their altar table and follow the Old Testament
|This major holiday was added by prophesy among Dukh-i-zhiznik
congregations in Armenia as a perpetual Pentecost. Every 7
weeks throughout the year, Armenian Dukh-i-zhizniki
(Russian: Seventh), a spiritual fast and cleansing service
which they started before WWII. This new holiday is
practiced only in that region. Sed'moi became important during
perestroika and the Karabakh war (late 1980s), as families
(90%) were fleeing to safety in Russia. In the Caucasus, 7 is a
symbolic lucky number. Sed'moi promotes intra-group cohesion,
so the refugees and those 10% remaining in Armenia will
rekindle their spiritual faith and identity more often
than on their few traditional major holidays. There is
some concern by a few of the several dozen recent Dukh-i-zhizniki
migrants from Armenia in America and Australia that they
cannot perform this holiday with their new congregations.
In Australia in 2006, recent immigrants from Armenia
purchased their own building to hold their own traditional
services, and may have included Sed'moi
|Some Russian Molokane
celebrate the Harvest Festival (3-day fast) in
place of the Festival of Shelters for 8 days. The American
or substituted, American Thanksgiving because it is a
similar autumn harvest festival, but they schedule the
feast to be on the Sunday before American Thanksgiving
which occurs on Thursdays. In Central California, the Dukh-i-zhiznik
congregations near Kerman have celebrated a version of the
harvest festival, calling it an offering for the crops.
Formerly 2 congregations joined so each could perform the
blessing for the other, but disagreement over how a presviter was removed
has stopped their cooperation. For a history of the
Harvest Festival and the Old Testament, see: Праздник
Сбора Урожая или Праздник Кущей [ДБ34] (Christian
Churches of God, Australia, who may be descendants of Molokane.).
in Russia, as all Russians and Eastern Orthodox,
celebrate the Birth of Christ on January 7, according to
the Julian calendar, but American Molokane adopted the
American Christmas Day, December 25, to take advantage of
the national holiday which had the advantage of showing
they were American Christians.
|The active diaspora Spiritual Christians who mainly
learned spoken and recited Russian from elders, with
minimal or no exposure to other forms of the language,
preserved many characteristics of the oral dialects
imported by their ancestors more than 100 years ago,
before the Russian revolution, and the pre-1918 Russian
Dialect (G > H) — Some Spiritual Christians whose ancestors spoke any of the 4 Southern Russian dialects, and confined their Russian-speaking to their homogeneous introverted communities, have retained the characteristic voiced velar fricative /ɣ/ (audio pronunciation) as sacred meta-communication for over a century. For them Prygun/Pryguny must be reverently pronounced Pryhun/Pryhuny (Pree-HOON/Pree-hoo-NEE), as do all non-loan Russian words with /Г/ (/g/). Those indoctrinated for generations by the most zealous diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki evolved an over-stress (strongly voiced) in their pronunciation dialect; for example, где (gde : where) became хеде (HEH-de).
Within their meta-communication, Russian Standard pronunciations from the outside world (ne nashi) are scorned as disrespectful, sometimes heresy, which explains the over-stress, but their oral history has forgotten the reason. Diaspora Dukhobor oral history reported a belief, adapted from Church Slavonic, that God recognizes his chosen people who pronounce /Г/ (/g/) correctly. (cite Iskra) (Also: Doukhobor Russian, Wikipedia; Q43: Is 'Doukhobor Dialect' Defended? Spirit-Wrestlers blog.)
Dialect (M > N) — In Arizona, the Dukh-i-zhiznik head singer Mike John Tolmachoff scolded anyone who did not pronounce words as he had learned. He insisted that the male name "Nikifor" and his ancestral village "Nikitino" must be pronounced "Mikifor" and "Mikitino." Russians recognize this shift from "M" to "N" as Ukrainian. Mikifor is a Polish variant, and a Russian variant spelling and popular form for Nikifor. M.J. Tolmachoff believed he spoke a sacred dialect. His clan is descended from the sister of M.G. Rudomyotkin (from Nikitino village), and some claimed to have inherited his "spiritual blood."
Dialect (Slavonic) — Diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki retained the pre-1918 Cyrillic alphabet, some archaic words and sacred Old Slavonic vocabulary in their liturgy. To the the most zealous, changing the words, or updating the Russian spelling or alphabet, is heresy.
The last 2 examples above appear in the Lord's prayer, which has been updated, reinterpreted and retranslated over time.
No matter what version one memorizes, it will offend others who were indoctrinated differently.
"My deda [grandfather] told me it was this way!" "That's what I learned!
|7.||About 8 of 10 congregations in Los Angeles
County have a volunteer representative on a cemetery
committee, but the committee as an organization avoids
contact with outsiders and representing the faith.
Messages left at the cemetery office may be ignored. A
5-man board of directors at the U.M.C.A., Hacienda
Heights, is also shy of meeting outsiders and has no
public contact. Similarly, messages left at the school
office by outsiders may not be answered. Two of the
congregations nearly exclusively use the Old Cemetery,
which they believe is more holy territory, and reject
membership on any committee (komitet).
The first website to represent Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations, launched in February 2015, is limited to 3 of 5-6 unidentified Dukh-i-zhiznik congregations in Oregon that joined to launch a simple website to list holydays (holidays) and promote their annual picnic. Mislabeled Molokans Northwest (molokansnw.org), the website shows 4 contact names : James M. Berokoff , Gabriel A. Federoff (webmaster?), George G. Sessoyeff, and John G. Sessoyeff; but no contact addresses, phone numbers, or email, except a form to submit with sender's name and email return.(OR)
|8.||Several distinct examples of a
Russian-American dichotomy among Dukh-i-zhizniki
exist, where inter-faith and public group participation
acceptable in Russia is forbidden among the diaspora.
No diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki (of 3 in attendance) would speak at the 1982 Inter-Groups Symposium, hosted by the U.S.C.C. Doukhobors for Molokans, Mennonites, Society of Friends (Quakers), and Doukhobors. (Details later.)
In 1992 and 2013 in Russia, Dukh-i-zhizniki participated in jubilees hosted by the Stavropol Regional Museum of Fine Art, Novokumskoe Branch. And in 1995 they accepted an invitation to perform at the Smithsonian Folklore Festival in Washington DC, a 10-day event, all expenses paid.
In contrast in California, diaspora Dukh-i-zhizniki perpetually harassed the U.M.C.A. choir that performed at the Smithsonian Folklore Festival in 1975 so much that the next invitation, arranged in 1995 to bring choirs from Russian and the U.S. together, was rejected in secret, with no announcement. Instead, Molokan choirs from Russia and California were substituted just in time to make all reservations. Dukh-i-zhizniki in Russia were shocked and disappointed for decades. (Details later.)
|9.||For "introversionist sect" see Wilson,
Bryan R. Religious
Sects: A Sociological Study, 1970, pages 120-122.
When congregations in Southern California have been approached to meet an outsider or make a decision regarding foreign congregations, they either refer the task to the cemetery committee (which avoids response); or, to the "Persian" congregation (Los Angeles) or presviter John Kochergen (Fresno, CA), who are more willing to answer inquiries from "the world." This introverted behavior diverts possible attacks by their own zealots to others.
||Popoff, Eli A., "Stories from Doukhobor
History, Part 8," Iskra, issue #2067, June 1,
2013, page 13.
Peasant Religion and Its Repression: The Christ-Faith
[Kristovshchina] and the Origin of the 'Flagellant'
Myth, 1666-1837." Ph.D dissertation, University of
|12.||"Pavel Grigor’evich Ryndziunskii, who
discovered in the archives [St. Petersburg] a file on the
“Tambov schismatics” dating to 1768–69, did not identify
those schismatics as Dukhobors but instead designated them
as the “Spiritual Christians” and “Tambov
freethinkers” from whom the Dukhobors and Molokans
later gradually diverged. He held that the
anti-ecclesiastical movement in that area had yet to take
any particular sectarian form and that it was still
somewhat pliant in doctrinal terms."
— Inikova, S.E. "The Tambov Dukhobors in the 1760s," Russian Studies in History, vol. 46, no. 3, Winter 2007–8, page 10. Translated by Liv Bliss from the Russian text © 1997 “Vestnik Tambovskogo Universiteta.” “Tambovskie dukhobortsy v 60-e gody XVIII veka,” Vestnik Tambovskogo universiteta. Seriia: Gumanitarnye nauki, no. 1 (1997), pp. 39–53. Cited from P.G. Ryndziunskii, “Antitserkovnoe dvizhenie v Tambovskom krae v 60-e gody XVIII v.,” in Voprosy istorii religii i ateizma (Moscow, 1954), p. 159.
|13.||For more about the origins and evolution of
Pryguny see Dr. Zhuk's book: Russia’s
Lost Reformation: Peasants, Millennialism, and Radical
Sects in Southern Russia and Ukraine, 1830-1917,
For more about a prophesy for Apocalypse at Mount Ararat in 1836, stay tuned to this channel...
PhD thesis, pages 271+
||"... the Czar ... in 1904, issued his ukase
insuring religious freedom to all, with the exception
of the "Dancers" [Pryguny] and one or
two other sects ... " ("The
Molokanye of Russia Seek Asylum in America; ..
Milk-Drinking Quakers ... Tolstoy Finally Secured
Permission for Them to Emigrate," (2nd paragraph), New
York Times, 19 May 1907.) These restrictions were
modified in a later ukaz on April 30, 1905,
to stay in Russia while Pryguny fled
with other zealous sects who also falsely assumed a
disguise as Molokane upon arrival.
Ethnicity in Identity Documents: The Rise and Fall of
Passport Nationality in Russia," Watson Institute,
Brown University, NCEEER, 2006, pages 5, 14.
|17.||The term Postoyannie occurs 3 times
in Young's Pilgrims of
Russian-town (1932), and 16 times in
in America (1969).
|18.|| Isajiw, Wsevolod W. Definitions
And Dimensions Of Ethnicity, in Paul R. Magocsi
(Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
(University of Toronto Press, 1999), pages 413-418.
To coexist in a culture without loosing native language or
culture, not fully assimilating.
Assimilate: For immigrants to become indistinguishable from natives in language and culture.
|20.||духоборцы (Russian: dukhobortsy),
Duchobortzi, Dukhobor, Dukabar, Douk, Doukhobour,
Doukhobour, Doukhobor (most common English),
of Royal Commission on Matters Relating to the Sect of
Doukhobors in the Province of British Columbia, 1912.
pages 64+, Book IV: Objections, General Findings,
Recommendations: Evidence denied most all objections
except refusal to comply with laws for registration and
|22.||Jakobson, R. (1962) "Why
'mama' and 'papa'?" In Jakobson, R. Selected
Writings, Vol. I: Phonological Studies, pp. 538–545.
— Universal forms of babbling "baby talk .. enter into the
general usage of adult society, and build a specific
infantile layer in standard vocabulary. .. and thus follow
the general line of any interlanguage ..." There are "
'cross-language parallels' in the structure of such terms
throughout the world."
Nichols, J. (1999) "Why 'me' and 'thee'?" Historical Linguistics 1999: Selected Papers from the 14th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Vancouver, 9-13 August 1999, ed. Laurel J. Brinton, John Benjamins Publishing, 2001, pages 253-276. — The "mama" terms "... display strikingly cross-linquistic resemblances around the globe ... " and "... are generally regarded as universal-driven and phonosymbolic in their phonology..." (page 253). Map showing distribution of languages sampled on page 254. "Conclusions: ... phonosymbolism in personal pronouns and 'mama' — 'papa' vocabulary is more indirect and abstract than has generally been believed."(page 272)
Bancel, P.J. and A.M. de l'Etang. (2013) "Brave new words," New Perspectives on the Origins of Language, ed. C. Lefebvre, B. Comrie, H. Cohen (John Benjamins Publishing, Nov 15, 2013), pages 333-377. — "the global convergence of mama/papa words in world language cannot be due to chance" and "played a crucial role in the early appearance of articulate speech ..."
at MLA on the Central Asia trek, c a. 1880. (updated
2006), Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College,
North Newton, Kansas, USA. — Source document archive and
bibliography at the library. Some of the articles and
books are online.
Bartsch, Franz. Our Trek to Central Asia, 1907, trans. Elizabeth Peters and Gerhard Ens (Winnipeg, MB: CMBC and Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society, 1993) — "The reason for these memoirs ... is ... to prevent us from committing the same errors: of interpreting Scripture capriciously and arbitrarily in order to justify and re-enforce preconceived notions and opinions, and of accepting uncritically the emergence of self-appointed and self-aggrandizing leaders. Rather we are to test all teachings and all leadership through sober use of Scripture as the Word of God so that we will not fall prey to any kind of fanaticism."
Belk, F.R. The Great Trek of the Russian Mennonites to Central Asia 1880-1884, 1976, pages 43-227. — Published master's thesis. — Find in a library.
Janzen, Waldemar, "The Great Trek: Episode or Paradigm?" Mennonite Quarterly Review, v.51, April 1977, pages 127-139. — Lengthy review and analysis of theology missing in Belk's thesis (above).
Doerksen, Victor G. In Search of a Mennonite Imagination, Journal of Mennonite Studies, Vol. 2, 1984, pages 104-112. — Lutheran pastor Clöter was "the principle source of stimulation" who developed the ideas of Bengel on the millennium. Jung-Stilling wrote "religious fiction." Both were interpreted by Epp as factual prophesy. The trek was fragmented, new leaders attacked. Lutherans avoided it. Belk ignored Bartsch (in German). New rituals were required. "A sociological analysis of the movement ... as ... modern-day cults." ... a "fascinating merging of pacifism and millennialism." "... Christians were not to accept the rights and duties of citizenship at all." "The Great Trek: Episode or Paradigm?" "The group ... is looking for a 'gathering place' (Sammlungsort) not a 'place of refuge' (Bergungsort) [to escape from restrictive legislation]."
Dueck, A. J. Claas Epp and the Great Trek Reconsidered, Journal of Mennonite Studies, Vol. 3, 1985, pages 138-147. — Summary of previous publications and new considerations. Epp led the "Bride Community" "super saints" and claimed to be the Son of Christ and the prophet Elijah.
Huebert, Helmut. "Chapter 12. Journey to Central Asia (1880-1882)", in Events and People: Events in Russian Mennonite History and the People that Made Them Happen, 1999, pages 59-63. — In 1881 a huge trek (pakhod) was initiated by Claas Epp who believed he was following Jung-Stillings directions to form refuge colonies in Turkestan to wait for Christ to arrive on March 1, 1889. Believers stood all day in white robes, praying and fasting. Christ did not appear and the prophesy was adjusted. 2 full-page maps illustrate the locations. After Epp died in 1913, some of his followers believed he will return with Christ.
Unger, Walter. Mennonite Millennial Madness: A Case Study, Direction: A Mennonite Brethren Forum, Fall 1999, Vol. 28 No. 2, pages 201–217. — Historic review of failed apocalyptic prophecies 1528, 1530, 1533, 1836, 1889, 1891. As Son of Christ, Epp added himself to Trinity, forming a quadruple god-head. Contemporary prophecy teachers who read current events back into Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation are repeating Claas Epp’s error (and that of legions before him).
Juhnke, James C. Rethinking the Great Trek, Mennonite Life, Fall 2007, Vol. 62 NO. 2 — Update of research published by Belk and Huebert (above), and others. A summary to document a "Great Trek Tour" in the Summer of 2007 by Mennonite historians with heritage tourists who retraced the trek of the 1880s. Professor Juhnke admits he "had not been doing a very good job of teaching this topic in Mennonite history classes at Bethel College over the past quarter century."
Petrov, Sergey. The Pursuit of Solyma: Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling's Letters as Part of His Spiritual Autobiography, in Historical Papers 2007, eds, B. Gobbett, B.L. Guenther, R. Rogers Healey: Canadian Society of Church history, 2007, pages 31-41. — Dr. Petrov, a descendant of Spiritual Christian Molokane, examines how Jung-Stilling's fictional novel and religious fantasy Das Heimweh (1794-1796) was mistakenly interpreted as truth, which alarmed him when fanaticism progressed to mass pilgrimages which he tried to stop.
|24.||From page 90: ... главный распространитель
на кавказкъ секть "о духъ" или "пригунковъ" ... should be
translated as "... chief spreader of the 'Spirituals'
(literally: of the Spirit) or 'Jumpers' sect in the
Caucasus ..." The Russian word распространитель (ras-pro-stra-ni-tel'
: spreader ) was mistranslated (pages 91, 109) as
"preacher." Rudomyotkin was not arrested for preaching in
private homes, which was tolerated though illegal, rather
he was arrested for the seriously illegal act of widely
preaching to non-believers, evangelizing and spreading
(disseminating, broadcasting) his heresy in public to
other villages and faiths. On page 109, the crime date
1858 is missing in translation.
||For younger readers, "whitewash" is jargon
similar in use to the current term "Photoshopped" and the
earlier "air brushed" to describe how a photo or history
is censored, changed, or made politically
Act, 1906, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier
21; Hollihan, K. Tony. 'A
brake upon the wheel': Frank Oliver and the Creation of
the Immigration Act of 1906, Past Imperfect,
v1 (1992), University of Alberta, pages 93-112.
|27||Also called "streetcar suburbs" : suburbs
built along streetcar lines. Relevant references:
Post, Robert C. Chapter 2. The Trolley Ascendant, in Urban Mass Transit: The Life Story of a Technology, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, pages 33-65. — A comprehensive history. Los Angeles on pages 40, 41, 51-62. “In the 1870s, a Los Angeles commuter, a merchant or a clerk, might come in by horsecar from Boyle Heights, a couple of miles away across the Los Angeles River; by the 1890s it seemed reasonable to consider commuting from Garvanza, halfway up the Arroyo Seco to Pasadena, or even from Pasadena itself, 9 miles away in the San Gabriel Valley.”
Malo, Paul. Retrogressive Streetcar Suburbs, Design Community Architecture Discussion (message board), January 9, 2002. — “Electric mass transit provided efficient, non-polluting movement of people. ... ‘inter-urban,’ ... allowing users to travel to other communities of the region and to rural recreation facilities. … served people who could not afford to maintain their own horse and carriage in a barn, ... houses were built on small lots in order to allow as many residents as possible to be within walking distance of the trolley line.”
Xie, Feng and David Levinson. “How streetcars shaped suburbanization: a Granger causality analysis of land use and transit in the Twin Cities,” Journal of Economic Geography 10 (2010) pages 453–470. — Using 1900–1930 data, mathematical models showed that “the rapid expansion of the streetcar system … [was caused by] … technological superiority, monopoly, close connections with real estate business and people’s reliance on the streetcar for mobility.” Most people lived closest to lines, not many farther than half a mile away.
Also in:Burg, William. Chapter 5 : Streetcar Suburbs, Sacramento's Streetcars, Arcadia Publishing, 2006, pages 61-74. — Many photos. “Often developers would partner with the streetcar company in order to subsidize operating costs in neighborhoods where here were not yet enough residents to make streetcar service profitable.”
Funston, Renée. “Streetcar in the City: An Analysis of How Streetcars Affect Gentrification,” master’s thesis Science in Urban Land Development, Department of Public Policy & Administration, California State University, Sacramento, Spring 2016. — “... found that a few years after operation of a streetcar begins there are signs of gentrification, as evidenced by a rise in median household income, proportion of college graduates, and median rent. … However, I cannot be certain that the streetcar caused the changes in the dependent variables or has a correlation with it.”
|28||Tarasoff, Koozma J. and Andrei Conovaloff. Selling Freedomites as Doukhobors is False Advertising, Spirit-Wrestlers Blog, 17 June 2014.|
|29||Viola, Lynne. Peasant
Rebels Under Stalin: Collectivization and the Culture of
Peasant Resistance, 1996, page 63.