I was doing a little digging to better acquaint myself with the spiritual origins of the Doukhobor world-view.
Can you confirm or elaborate on the claims from this piece: 'Spiritual Origins and the Beginnings of Doukhobor History', by Svetlana Inikova, on the Doukhobor Genealogy Website?
Answer by Koozma J. Tarasoff and Andrei Conovaloff
We know that Freemasons affected Doukhobor history, but we do not know 'how much' they influenced Doukhobor theology or beliefs.
The documentation of the spiritual history of our Doukhobor ancestors in Russia is sparse, scattered and complex. Much more research is needed to fully answer this question.
Freemasons selected, altered and transmitted ideas gathered from various sources, and interpreted and translated them into local languages. Many books and articles have been published about their influence in Russia.
A key figure in the history of Freemasonry in Russia was Ivan. P. Lopukhin, an aristocrat, attorney, judge, and senator, who was interested in Pietism, the doctrine of the 'inner light'. In 1801 he ‘masterminded’ a plan to protect and reform Doukhobors by gathering them from scattered exiles (maps below) and concentrating them into their own ‘self-contained community’ along the west bank of the Molochna River in Tauride Governate (now south Ukraine).
Click on maps to enlarge. Maps by Johnathan Kalmakoff.
Several historical tracts were attributed (not proved) to Ivan Lopukhin. One of these was the ‘Note of 1791’, which contains one of the earliest descriptions of Doukhobor beliefs. A prominent theme was the ‘inner church’ which later was considered to have been adopted by Lev N. Tolstoy in his ‘Kingdom of God is Within You’ — a conversion to a new non-doctoral Christianity that rejected violence and taught the ‘Spirit Within’.
The Note of 1791 (the original was never found) resembles Freemason ideas, with reference to the ‘inner church’, ‘spiritual knights’, and ‘hidden saints’, but the form of language with the use of ‘church’, ‘knights’ and ‘saints’ is foreign to Doukhobors. Doukhobors broke away from this usage in their formative development while searching for the evolutionary God/ Love Within.
The 'piece' you read was a paper presented in 1999 by Svetlana A. Inikova in Ottawa, at our conference: 'The Doukhobor Centenary in Canada, A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective on their Unity and Diversity’. Because 'Masons' are mentioned 8 times in her paper, you probably became curious for more.
There are 4 articles on the Doukhobor Genealogy Website by Jonathan Kalmakoff, about Freemasons and Doukhobors. Also study references cited.
- More About the History of the Dukhoborsty of Kharkov Province, by V. I. Savva, 1893.
- Additional Information on Doukhobor History, by V. I. Savva, 1909.
- Spiritual Origins and the Beginnings of Doukhobor History, by S. Inikova, 1999.
- Ivan Vladimirovich Lopukhin: His Life and Role in Doukhobor History, by J. Kalmakoff, 2007.
- Icon and Axe: An Interpretative History of Russian Culture, by J. Billington, 1966, 1970, 2010.
- A History of Christian Thought, from Its Judaic and Hellenistic Origins to Existentialism, by P. Tillich, 1972.
- Heretics and Colonizers: Forging Russia's Empire in the South Caucasus, by by N. B. Breyfogle, 2005, pages 27-28. — The book is mostly about Doukhobors in Russia, because more was published about Doukhobors.
- Freemasonry and Fraternalism in Eighteenth-Century Russia, A. Önnerfors and R. Collis (eds.), 2009. — Search for 'Lopukhin' and 'Mason'.
- Russian Bible Wars: Modern Scriptural Translation and Cultural Authority, by S. K. Batalden, 2013, pages 14-22. — Freemasons influenced religion in Russia.
In the meantime, I view the Canadian Doukhobors as a type of 'Tolstoyan social movement' with a focus on creating a compassionate and caring world based on love and nonkilling. Lev Tolstoy is indeed an inspiration for the Doukhobors.
Conovaloff: Both Tolstoy and Gandhi were influenced by Freemasons, and Masons may have impacted the non-Doukhobor sectarians more than the Doukhobors.
Lopukhin’s policy of concentrating Spiritual Christians in New Russia probably caused the formation in 1833 of a zealous movement of religious ecstasy and enthusiasm, that was labeled in 1856 as Pryguny due to their jumping with the Holy Spirit. Doukhobors moving to Canada led to some neighboring non-Doukhobor ecstatic tribes of Spiritual Christians scattered in the Caucasus to concentrate in Southern California and create a new family of faiths called Dukh-i-zhizniki. Research conducted in the 1980s by Phillip and Ludmilla Efseaff (Oregon, USA.) speculated that Russian Freemasons influenced some of the most zealous Spiritual Christian Pryguny (Jumpers), which was transmitted to their offshoot tribes of Dukh-i-zhizniki. The links above and below support their speculation.
- The Pursuit of Solyma: Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling's Letters as Part of His Spiritual Autobiography, by Sergey Petrov, 2007.
- Russian Bible Wars: Modern Scriptural Translation and Cultural Authority, by S. K. Batalden, 2013, Jung-Stilling on pages 16, 22, 105.
At least one Spiritual Christian immigrated to California as a Mason, and in the 1980s his grandson, John Spoldsoff continued the family Mason tradition by joining and being elected to Head Mason in Fresno, California.
Many groups have different terms for these overlapping theological concepts, for example: