Saturday, 20 February 2016

Q68: What is the Doukhobor Legacy?

From Valery Kalmykov, Rostov-on-Don, Russia (February 3, 2016):

В современных официальных изданиях посвященных духоборцам, а также на различных собраниях и мероприятиях очень много говориться о наследии духоборцев, которые им оставили их великие предки. Наследие, идеи и веры, которых пытается придерживаться современное поколение их потомков. Сформировать основные тезисы или понятия этого наследия, я неоднократно просил духоборцев проживающих в Канаде, но ответа внятного так и не получил. Прошу вас и читателей ответить на вопрос. ЧТО ЯВЛЯЕТСЯ ДУХОБОРЧЕСКИМ НАСЛЕДИЕМ?In today’s official publications dedicated to the Doukhobors, as well as at various meetings and events there is a lot of talk about Doukhobor heritage that was left to them by their ancestors. They strive to follow the heritage, ideas and beliefs of their descendants. To form the main points or basis of this legacy, I have repeatedly asked Canadian Doukhobors about this, but received no clear answers. I ask you and your readers to answer this question: WHAT COMPRISES DOUKHOBOR LEGACY/HERITAGE?


I believe I answered this question in my paper: ‘Doukhobor Nonkilling Legacy’, similar to Wisdom of the Ages: Unified Doukhobor Beliefs, revised from Chapter IV of my book: Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers’ Strategies for Living (2002), pages 361-378.

Context of the Doukhobor legacy
Spirit-Wrestlers or Doukhobors have been around for several centuries. ... [and now live around the world] ...
  • What have we learned from the wanderings of this group around the world?
  • What useful insights have we gained?
  • What wisdom have we discovered from the Doukhobor experience as we begin the new century?
  • Has this social movement transformed the way we look at the world?
... [My] answers take the form of a summary of 10 central Doukhobor values, propositions or commandments. The numbers of people involved in this social experiment are very small, but their ideas are pregnant with possibilities for a world without war. ...
  1. The Spirit Within
  2. The Peace Act
  3. The Work Ethic
  4. Cooperation is the Way
  5. Creativity and Inventiveness
  1. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
  2. Singing from the Soul
  3. The Spirit of Sharing and Hospitality
  4. The Bridge-Building Tradition
  5. Roots for Survival
For me, the most important Doukhobor legacy today and in the future is 'nonkilling'.

More about Doukhobor legacy and heritage

Q21. Current Beliefs and Aspirations of Doukhobors — Feb. 20, 2009.
Q35. Why the public is interested in the Doukhobors today? — Aug. 15, 2010.
Q38. Doukhobors and Christian Mysticism? — Dec. 12, 2010.
Q57. Myth of Biblical Christianity — June 2, 2013.

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Monday, 1 February 2016

Q66: Man Seeks Doukhobor Farm Work

From: Lawrence Donegan, Toronto, Ontario

Can you help me find work on a Doukhobor farm, or any farm?

I want to learn more about pacifism, Doukhobors and preserve the environment.

I have spent about eight months of my life farming and am interested in farming again this year. I have an interest in the Doukhobors and wonder whether there are any Doukhobor farms in Canada that are in need of workers. ...

I am from Toronto, 30, live with my parents in a big Catholic family, and work as a dishwasher at a restaurant. While studying philosophy at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland, I first read about Doukhobors in George Woodcock's book Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements, 2004. I also learnt from a professor that Tolstoy may have derived much of his inspiration for agricultural communes from the Doukhobors. ...

I am concerned for the welfare of the environment and the integrity of my own person. These factors, among others, have led to my desire to possibly work on a Doukhobor farm.


If any Doukhobor, Mennonite, or other farmers need a farm hand, or know of anyone who does, please contact Lawrence Donegan by email :

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Q67: P. V. Verigin against Independent Doukhobors?

From: Kim Kanigan, Australia, January 26, 2016:

I read in numerous accounts that in 1914 Peter V. Verigin told the Canadian government that Independent Doukhobors, who leave his commune, do not deserve military exemption.
  • What is the source of this statement?
  • Is there a document to proof this?
  • Where can I see this evidence?


This occurred in 1917, not 1914.

In 1899, about 7,500 (1/3) of all Doukhobors had arrived in western Canada. Most but not all were followers of Peter V. Verigin as successor leader to Lukeria Kalmykova in Russia. The majority of those who remained in Russia were not followers of Verigin who was arrested and exiled.

The Society of Friends (Quakers) in London, Canada and USA together with Tolstoyans coordinated their migration, donated food, supplies and volunteers for education and medical care. Thanks to their help, many Doukhobors went to school and quickly adapted to their new home and independent freedom.

In December 1902, more than three years later, P.V. Verigin arrived in Canada to nearly 8,000 Doukhobors already divided. The majority were harassed by a small protesting group, and a minority were not his loyal subjects.

Rather than dealing with the situation in Saskatchewan and accepting homestead land, Verigin evicted his opposition and isolated his followers. In 1906 he returned to Russia (just months before the Canadian Government on June 1, 1907 began to cancel Community lands) claiming all would move back, probably a bluff to pacify zealots. In 1908 he got bank loans to buy land in the interior of British Columbia where he resettled two-thirds of his followers by 1913. He forbid contact with Independents under penalty of expulsion from his Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (CCUB).

In 1916 the ‘Society of Independent Doukhobors’ was formed largely to have a voice in preserving their central core values involving military exemption status.
….The organization was made necessary when the Government demanded that the Doukhobors sign National Service cards, as an acknowledgement of their exemption status. Naturally, this demand brought some uneasiness. In January 1917, Peter G. Makaroff, a young Doukhobor lawyer, led an Independent delegation of five men to Ottawa. They stated that they were quite willing to sign the cards provided their religious beliefs were respected. As an offset to military service, they offered to pay a double measure of taxation if necessary. Moreover, the delegates pointed out that the Doukhobors in Western Canada had been giving active support to the greater production campaign and had placed as much of their land as possible under crop. Before leaving Ottawa, the Honourable Arthur Meighen explained to the delegation the National Service Act and assured them that ‘no interference with the privileges enjoyed by the Doukhobors was intended.’ Upon returning home, the delegates presented a full report at a large one-day conference of Doukhobors in Verigin, Saskatchewan…. (‘No Interference with Doukhobors,’ The Citizen (Ottawa), January 15 1917, cited in Tarasoff, Koozma J. ‘In Search of Brotherhood: The History of the Doukhobors,’ 3 volumes, unpublished, 1963, pages 496-497.)
During the Conscription Crisis of 1917, Verigin petitioned the Government of Canada to not exempt Independent Doukhobors from military service. In October 1917, he wrote to the Minister of Justice:
At the present time, I, Peter Verigin, the representative of Doukhobor community, do not recognize the second party as Doukhobors and consider that these people must be liable to be conscripted for military service on the same basis as other citizens of Canada, because the members of this party have free homesteads of the Dominion land and became British subjects for this particular land, and have firearms in their homes, and, therefore, they have to defend the crown of the British empire the same as all other citizens of Canada. (Petition by Peter V. Verigin to Chas.J. Doherty, Minister of Justice. PAC Photostat, OIP-DLB, R.C. 15, B.1, vol. 494,483 (14); ‘Doukhobors Are Divided in Opinions’, Regina Post, October 12, 1917.)
Ironically, while striving to build a ‘universal brotherhood’ he attempted to persecute his banished brethren with the aid of secular agencies. His petition was denied. To the wisdom of the government, it confirmed the law that all Doukhobors of conscience remain exempt from military service in Canada, free to perform alternative service or, if absolutist, given jail time.

Bushies and Barons: Kuranda Kisses, Blues magazine, September 2010, is an article about Kim and Lesle Kanigan in Kuranda, Queensland, Australia.

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