Monday, 29 May 2017

Q79: Different Doukhobor groups?

Jack Tarasoff, Calgary AB writes:

Our family is having a family re-union, and I was asked to make a short presentation about the different groups of Doukhobors, i.e. their titles, major beliefs and positions. J.J. Verigin has offered some help, but I feel I need a little more for the family.

Jack was former chairman of the Council of Doukhobors in Canada.


Answer by Koozma

Doukhobor groups and personal identities and affiliations varied by time, place, environment and individuals. People could form new groups, intermarry, and join and leave groups. Our social evolution since 1886 (death of Luker'ia Kalmykova) has evolved in many directions — primarily from Russian heterodox to a multi-faceted religious and social movement.

However, the 1895 arms burning and the dropping of sectarian roots towards a nonkilling social movement ethic has remained stable as the defining element of Doukhoborism in the 21st Century. This evolution has incapsulated Lev N. Tolstoy's attempt at a real reformation in the formal church as well as a strong message to the military industrial complex to get rid of wars once and for all.

Here are some useful references:
The category 'Sons of Freedom' is omitted because historically they opted out of the Doukhobor movement, but some have returned, more so in recent years.

All of this should help you designing your talk on the Doukhobors.

12 comments:

  1. Each of us has a slightly different viewpoint defining the word "Doukhobor." A lady from Tula, Russia, addressed her Canadian visitors thus, " Мы Духоборцы, у нас Душа одна."
    Alex

    Alex

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    1. Alex, It's the phrase Game of words and nothing more...

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  2. Dear Koozma,
    In my opinion the evolution of the Doukhobors is primarily determined by the changes and evolutions of their beliefs and religions, and only to some lesser extent – by their environment and lifestyle. Their beliefs formed their way of living and social situation. I believe that religion was the key factor in their self-conscience and their self-determination as a group. Consequently, the development of the Doukhobor society so far can be divided into two stages: before the 1886 (the split) and after it.
    Why so? Before 1886 the religious dogmas of the Doukhobors hadn’t undergone significant changes due to their spiritual leader Lukeria Kalmykova also serving as a personification of Mother of God on earth, whose authority prevented any changes from happening.
    The second stage of the Doukhobor development began when Verigin tried to impose his newly-acquired ideas that he had learned from Leo Tolstoy on the rest of the Doukhobors society. It happened during the change of Ages, after Lukeriya died and when no other equal spiritual leader was on the horizon.
    After that, every aspect of the Doukhobor belief in Canada found itself under the immense influence of the Tolstoy teachings. The non-violence, vegetarianism, had never been typical for the Doukhobors before the split.
    All other currents of the Doukhobors society in Canada can hardly be called “Doukhobor” at all. Sons of Freedom are, in fact, an extreme-right radical group of the Tolstoy teachings, who never had anything to do with the Doukhoborism, and, consequently, they couldn’t have proceeded from the Doukhoborism.
    Remember your roots.
    With love.
    Faithfully yours,
    Valeriy.
    Dear Koozma,
    In my opinion the evolution of the Doukhobors is primarily determined by the changes and evolutions of their beliefs and religions, and only to some lesser extent – by their environment and lifestyle. Their beliefs formed their way of living and social situation. I believe that religion was the key factor in their self-conscience and their self-determination as a group. Consequently, the development of the Doukhobor society so far can be divided into two stages: before the 1886 (the split) and after it.
    Why so? Before 1886 the religious dogmas of the Doukhobors hadn’t undergone significant changes due to their spiritual leader Lukeria Kalmykova also serving as a personification of Mother of God on earth, whose authority prevented any changes from happening.
    The second stage of the Doukhobor development began when Verigin tried to impose his newly-acquired ideas that he had learned from Leo Tolstoy on the rest of the Doukhobors society. It happened during the change of Ages, after Lukeriya died and when no other equal spiritual leader was on the horizon.
    After that, every aspect of the Doukhobor belief in Canada found itself under the immense influence of the Tolstoy teachings. The non-violence, vegetarianism, had never been typical for the Doukhobors before the split.
    All other currents of the Doukhobors society in Canada can hardly be called “Doukhobor” at all. Sons of Freedom are, in fact, an extreme-right radical group of the Tolstoy teachings, who never had anything to do with the Doukhoborism, and, consequently, they couldn’t have proceeded from the Doukhoborism.
    Remember your roots.
    With love.
    Faithfully yours,
    Valeriy.

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  3. I find the preceding analysis by Valeriy objectionable. It is my opinion that Mr. Kalmykov misplaces an understanding of a "religious group" which was attached to the sectarian movement described by the rigid and heirarchical interpretation of a Russian Orthodox archbishop. The fact appears that this derisive label helped create one of several "protestant" religious movements that depended on a social protest/rebellion (Molokans, Doukhobors,etc.). The social phenomenon / movement --Doukhobors-- in rejecting a heirachical clerical leadership seen in many Western European protestant movements/denominations evolved/was destined to be led by community leaders whose own understanding of the need of spiritual (religious?) input to create cohesion within the Doukhobor community. Every social community, to remain viable, needs structures to remain cohesive. Every social community will tend to evolve in order to survive. Every social community will tend to divide (called "entropy") with time, and for various reasons. However, I also object to your exclusionary qualification, Koozma, that the "Sons of Freedom" are no longer part of the "Doukhobor movement". Not only is such a description divisive to the reconciliation that has been noteable in the Canadian Doukhobor community, but there appears to be a lack of application of social psychological principles in the understanding of what social and personal traumas that Doukhobor immigrants to Canada (read: PTSD) experienced from their migration and the influences these traumas had on the adaptability of various individuals within the community to external and internal pressures. If Mr. Kalmykov continues to believe that Lev Tolstoy's "external" influences on the Doukhobor spiritual social movement ultimately disgraced Doukhobor immigrants from continuing to describe themselves in terms defined by original conditions within the Russian Empire, then I would suggest that he is displaying a superiority complex that fails to appreciate the longevity of the Doukhobor movement (whatever its present condition) and the ecumenical nature of Doukhobor beliefs and goals!

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  4. Kind greetings Jack. It is great that you will have an opportunity to speak about this with your family. With regard to presentations on our heritage, a person would have to decide what criteria is used to define the divisions. There is allot of quantifiable information that is useful for knowing things like: What villages were certain families from, or what number of people followed this leader or that leader, what dates did they do this or that, etc. These surface details are good and certainly have important value which is needed to recount the actions of the people during various times, but they are not enough on their own. Today we are faced with how to define the group of people that other’s from the outside labelled as spirit wrestlers. Even though they adjusted the understanding of the label, it was not what they originally used to define themselves. Our ancestors defined themselves as Christians. That was the label they gave themselves. They made the division between themselves as a faith community who tried their best to follow the true teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and genuine apostolic spiritual understanding which was in contrast to “the world” which did not try to follow in the spiritual understanding. So today as in the past we see much offence taken when one “faction” claims that another is not really a Doukhobor. We saw it when PV Verigin wrote the government to claim the “independents” were not part of the real group deserving military exemption and we see it still today when another says that a person from the Sons of Freedom was never a Doukhobor. So by what authority have we been given the right to label another person in this way? I would think that if we are to be true to our heritage, we must make the division as our ancestors did, and when we do this we can understand where they were and also where we are now. Their spiritual understanding is not subject to the confines of the Russian border and the truth is the truth in any language and in any era. The pure apostolic faith was understood and held by many of our ancestors and it was their faith that effected their thoughts which was displayed by their physical deeds. So if we define and state divisions as our ancestors did this surely would be following in their footsteps with our presentations. When we look at the physical actions, words and deeds of anyone who identifies with the Doukhobor label, we can check this against the early apostolic understanding and see if this is in keeping with it or making division from it. Our ancestors were followers of Jesus Christ, and this is why they labelled themselves as Christians. So today the division is as it always has been: Do we obey, follow and worship Jesus of Nazareth or do we obey, follow and worship someone else being Lukeria, Tolstoy, Verigin, or any other who came and went. Examination of the beliefs which are held will shed the most light on the “different groups” or individuals in any presentation. With Kindest and most respectful regards, Kim

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  5. Hello Alex Wishlow, Valeriy Kalmakov, Fred Samarodin, and Kim Kanigan. Thank you for thinking about the meaning of being a Doukhobor. The historical record as indicated in the select reading list should be basic reading for anyone trying to unravel this somewhat complex issue.

    See my update to my revised answer:

    Doukhobor groups and personal identities and affiliations varied by time, place, environment and individuals. People could form new groups, intermarry, and join and leave groups. Our social evolution since 1886 (death of Luker'ia Kalmykova) has evolved in many directions — primarily from Russian heterodox to a multi-faceted religious and social movement.

    However, the 1895 arms burning and the dropping of sectarian roots towards a nonkilling social movement ethic has remained stable as the defining element of Doukhoborism in the 21st Century. This evolution has incapsulated Lev N. Tolstoy's attempt at a real reformation in the formal church as well as a strong message to the military industrial complex to get rid of wars once and for all.

    The category 'Sons of Freedom' is omitted because historically they opted out of the Doukhobor movement, but some have returned, more so in recent years.

    Keep the discussion going, but do take time to read the historical record, as found in the basic documents above.

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  6. Дорогие, друзья. Позвольте мне несколько слов. Возможно, меня не поняли некоторые оппоненты, Прошу прощения, мой английский язык только в начале изучения. Напишу на русском, языке. Истинные духоборцы меня поймут, а остальным переведет уважаемый Кузьма, если посчитает нужным. Отвечу Alex Wishlow, Fred Samarodin, and Kim Kanigan. Все ваши доводы по поводу развития духоборчества в современном мире, для меня не только не убедительны, их вообще нет или мы разговариваем на разных языках, или вы не можете донести до меня вашу мысль. Нет Аргументированных выводов, нет анализа ситуации. По большому счету ваши тирады это просто набор слов, за которым нет ничего кроме сотрясания воздуха. Энтропия, эволюция выживания, заповеди Христова…. Вроде и слова умные, а смысла в них не улавливаю…
    Любая религия основана на догмах. Догмы это утверждённое церковью (у духоборцев внутренней церковью) положение вероучения, объявленное обязательной и неизменяемой истиной, не подлежащей критике (сомнению). Духоборчество это вероучение, со своими догмами, которые по истечении лет не могут подвергаться энтропии, ни каким либо изменениям. Если мы рассматриваем духоборческое общество с позиции вероисповедания, то надо понимать, как сложились эти догматы, как духоборчество стало религией, на чем основана их вера. Ответы на сложные вопросы вероисповедания заключены в определенных фундаментальных рукописях у Христиан в Библии, у иудеев в Талмуде, у мусульман в Коране. У меня вопрос; где основы и описания понятий духоборческого вероучения, записанные у духоборцев? Как передали религиозное наследие духоборцев наши родители и как передать их нашим детям?
    Со слов, Kim Kanigan, наследие духоборцев, заключено в исполнении заповедей Христа из Назарета, что собственно говорят большое количество духоборцев проживающих в Канаде. И больше, ничего пояснить не могут.

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  7. А знает ли Kim, что по заветам Христовым, живут все православные христиане, и западноевропейские католики, и египетские копты? Так в чем уникальность духоборческого вероисповедания? В чем наследие? В чем вера?
    Может ли современное поколение духоборцев, растолковать каким способом духоборец получит спасение души? Как происходит духовное крещение и от кого исходит святой дух от Бога-отца и от Бога-сына? Что есть Бог в понимании духоборца? Пусть Kim ответить на эти вопросы, а мы послушает, очень интересно. Какое ей наследие передали её предки. Может наследие заключается, как варить по субботам борщ и петь в хоре песни на воскресной молитве (которых они не понимают смысл). Может быть, наследие это принятие вегетарианства? Пусть объяснит?
    По моему убеждению, весь смысл духоборческих догматов о спасения души и понятий божественных откровений, были прописаны в Голубиной книге. Духоборец, был одним из носителей этой книги, её одним из тысячи листов, живым носителем веры. Старички толкователи могли донести понятия прочитанных псалмов до сознания духоборца. Объяснить ему, как поступать в жизненных ситуациях, чтобы каноны вероисповедания небыли нарушены.
    Лукерья Калмыкова, была не просто лидером. Это было божественное воплощение Богородицы в человеке. Духовным пастырем, провидицей. Все остальные лидеры духоборцев уже не обладали такими способностями ни в Канаде, ни в России. Все последующие предводители это, грубо говоря, менеджеры, разного уровня образованности и интеллектуальных способностей. Выродились толкователи псалмов. В 1886 году из Живой Книги, начали выпадать листы, писание устное начало терять смысл. Развалилось и общие понятия веры. Все бубнили псалмы, но смысла их уже не понимали.
    Попугая можно научить читать «Отче Наш» три раза в день, но можно ли считать попугая христианином?
    Это несколько грубая аналогия, но очень точно выраженная.
    Кто может считать себя духоборцем, по каким религиозным канонам он живет, в чем его вера? Не тот кто, варит борщ по старинным духоборским рецептам, и красиво поёт в хоре, а тот, кто верует во спасение души по духоборским понятиям, кто может истолковать истину духоборского вероисповедания и понимает смысл молитвенных слов в псалмах и песнях. Если будет желание, я могу растолковать основные понятия духоборческого вероисповедания и соотнести их с Библией и основой христианства.
    Развитие и метаморфозы, которые происходили с духоборческой общиной на протяжении последнего века на территории Канады к классическому или если хотите истинному духоборческому учению, никакого отношения не имеет. Как бы вам всем не было это обидно слышать. Последователи движения «Сынов Свободы», могли считать семя кем угодно, духоборцами, индейцами, террористами, но идея и вера их никак не отображается на духоборческой вере. Могу это все обосновать, если это кому-то интересно. В России духоборчество еще быстрее зашло в тупик после установления Советской Власти, но это уже совсем другая история………..

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    Replies
    1. Dear Valeriy, greetings and hope you are well. I am interested to hear these comments and questions you pose. Your comments are clearly understood and I am grateful for the opportunity to reply. Thank you Koozma for your permission and venue to respond. Please know and accept my words in kindness, as I have no opponent but the darkness which keeps men from the salvation of our Lord. Please accept my comments as written with respect to all concerned. I am sorry that you were unable to understand the previous comments, but when speaking of spiritual things one must use spiritual language. It is written that the message of the cross is foolishness to the ones who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. I am certain that if you ask the Lord in humbleness, He will give you the discernment you are seeking to understand. We transmit our heritage to our children by careful study of scripture, showing them the accounts of our ancestors, and seeking the words of the Holy Spirit to provide the truth and teaching they require to receive life. Regarding the fulfilment of Christ’s commands and the precepts: You somehow equate these with the observances created by the organisations of the Orthodox, Catholics and Copts. The commands of our Lord are to love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbour as yourself. When asked by the disciples of Jesus “what must we do to do the works required of God?” He replied “This is the work of God: to believe in the One He has sent” How do you justify to equate the commands and precepts of Christ along with the ordinances of these organizations, yet the checklists of penance, rituals, indulgences, and mystic sacraments are absent from His lips. You inquire how does one receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and where does it come from. Jesus asked the Father to send us the Comforter – the Spirit of Truth. His request was granted and the Holy Spirit given to all those who love Him. Jesus request was granted as He is the only advocate and high priest to the Father who is Holy enough to be heard on our behalf. I am sorry Valeriy, but I do not know how to cook borscht and my singing is quite poor. I spend my time in study of ancient scripture and seeking the wisdom, discernment, and fruit of the Holy Spirit. So possibly these are the legacy I have inherited from my ancestor Romasha “the shackled one”. The fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. All things worth seeking. I sincerely pray that the prideful undertones of your commentaries toward the brothers and sisters outside of Russia as borscht eaters and hollow recitalists are from lack of translation rather than the fruit of your heart. For we know it is what comes out of our mouth which defiles us, not what is taken in. This is also my answer to your question regarding vegetarianism. Be assured, many outside your locality understand that all things created by God are good and nothing is to be rejected if received in prayers of thanks. Many of us also understand that imposing of man made ordinances and tradition which Christ did not command lead only to bear the fruit of strife and division. I sincerely hope the ones in Russia steeped in tradition have not fallen to haughty eyes when viewing those in Canada who humbly seek the Lord, for as we also know the Lord will use the humble to shame those thinking themselves wise.

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    2. Your offer to share your local teaching would be of much interest as I would like to know how it could be somehow superior to the divine revelation of the gospel freely given as a gift of grace to all of mankind. Do you have some magnificent pearls to cast before us which exceed humble repentance and Christ crucified? Some secret knowledge which is required for salvation as supplement to the abundant and sufficient grace God pours out to those who truly seek Him? Our Lord’s eyes search the earth to strengthen the ones who love Him, whether they be in Russia or not. It is He who has chosen the elect by His sovereign grace and not by the knowledge and clever analysis of created men. Sadly, many in Russia and Canada alike have fallen to the notion of secret mysteries and special gnosis as the vehicle for their salvation. Many have eaten from the scroll sealed by the gnostics which tastes sweet at first but later sours once taken in. You speak of your special leaders which today there is none of such calibre. Please show me your ancient prophecies fulfilled for these newly incarnate christs and virgin mothers. Prophecy which was inspired by the Holy Spirit. I know of a few to start the list: Matthew 24:23, Mark 13:6, Luke 21:8 and 2Peter 2:1. Perhaps you may show us some that you know of that legitimise such grandiose claims. We are told to test all things, so shall we also examine the lives of those who claim special divinity and compare their deeds to that of Jesus? Surely this will shed some light on their purity and claims of equality to Him. Regarding the Sons of Freedom, have you forgotten our dear apostle Paul? He also at one time acted upon what he believed as righteous instruction but was then elected to receive the fullness of the Spirit and new and pure purpose. The Lord considers the intention of the heart as well as the deeds of the hands. How are we then to claim judgement upon what the Lord holds for the future of these? However far one may fall the Lord can choose to raise just as high. What we all share in common with the Sons of Freedom is that we all fall short of the moral perfection and will of God, we all sin, and we all need salvation. May we recount our own transgressions first and then see if we are worthy to cast them out so confidently. Valeriy, I hope that you will be able to be freed of your presumptions about the faith being weak in Canada. I can assure you, the Holy Spirit is moving in every nation and many have received the Spirit and truth of Christ and the strengthening of apostolic discernment. Please know that you and the others of our shared heritage in Russia are in my prayers and I sincerely hope for the greatest of blessings and peace into your lives. Thank you for the opportunity to respond in this limited venue. Please also know I welcome you to write me personally if ever you are inclined, my door is always open. Respectfully, Kim.

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    3. Kim, привет. Сообщите свой e-mail на сайте www.doukhobor.ru У меня 10 дней отпуска. Приеду и вам напишу .

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  8. Gunter Schaarschmidt, University of Victoria10 June 2017 at 13:35

    Thank you, Jack and Koozma, for launching such an interesting discussion of Doukhobor group behaviour. Thank you in particular, Koozma, for providing a list of references. I look forward to the appearance of Andrei Conovaloff’s taxonomy. On balance, the various opinions expressed and the replies to them have shown that things are not as easy any more as they used to be a dozen or so years ago when it was believed that “anybody can be a Doukhobor”. The discussion has also shown that there are now really more questions than answers concerning the meaning of Doukhoborism. And that is a good thing because the topic is worth more investigation by both laymen and experts. Even after Valeriy’s thunderous condemnation of Doukobor “tirades” one must ask: «Валерий, откуда ты знаешь?» But I am all for such debates that end up with everyone asking themselves what their stand is in the topic of discussion. Now I come from a guild where each and every claim has to be exemplified by real-language phenomena in order for that claim to be accepted as a hard and fast rule. I find the various claims made about Doukhobor ritual group behaviour or mentality to be not very convincing and often outright vague. Valeriy mentions that Doukhobors often do not understand the hymns and prayers that they are singing in a choir. As a linguist, I am much more concerned about the imminent death of the Doukhobor language, in whatever form – because even if many English-speaking Doukhobors do not quite fully understand what they are singing – the language is an inseparable part of their culture and belief and thus their group mentality.

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