Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Q41: What Does Spirit Wrestlers Mean?

From: Donald Simonds

I am curious, and perhaps you can help me. Why are the Doukhobors called "ghost" or "spirit wrestlers?"  I can find much in the literature about the interesting history of the group, but no explanations of the designation. Can you explain?


Answer

See page one of my latest book Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers' Strategies for Living (2002):

'The term Doukhobor is derived from [Russian] Dukho-borets, or Spirit Wrestler. It was first formulated in 1785 by the Russian Orthodox archbishop of Ekaterinoslav in the southern region (present-day Ukraine) of the Russian Empire, who used the term in a derogatory manner, implying that it referred to those who wrestled against the spirit of the church and God. The group itself, however, adopted the name with the understanding that it referred to people who "wrestle with the spirit of truth". Although comprising elements of religion and a distinct way of life, Doukhobors might best be described as a social movement characterized by love, human goodness, and justice....'

More: Questions and Answers, Comments

1 comment: