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 movements.

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 encapsulated 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 Canadian Doukhobor movement. In recent years, some descendants have reconciled and begun to join in with Community Doukhobors from whom their ancestors split.

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

See all Questions and Answers.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

GREETINGS: 70th USCC Youth Festival

“Celebrating 70 Years ~ A Journey for Peace ~ Past, Present Future”
Grand Forks and Castlegar, British Columbia
May 19-22, 2017 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Spirit —

Congratulations to the USCC, volunteers and visitors who made the annual Doukhobor Youth Festivals happen!

70 years is a lifetime for many people.
Well done our pioneering and younger friends!
In these many years, there have been many achievements:
  • You have shown that cooperation is possible in a world of run-away capitalism and that the road to a ‘win-win’ scenario is important for the sustainability of human life on Earth.
  • By bringing people together, you have achieved a unity of spirit and built bridges of understanding between the East and the West. You have reminded us that we are living in One World where ‘respect’ is a golden word.
  • By bringing together songs from the heart you have made the wider world more beautiful.
  • Finally, and most important, you remind us of the mission statement of our ancestors who sought to develop a world without wars. Burning weapons in 1895 is another way of saying that today we need to work actively to drastically reduce our military industrial complex, get rid of NATO, and encourage the development of an architecture for peace — such as setting up a Department of Peace in Canada’s parliament.
You have made us Doukhobors and non-Doukhobors proud by celebrating our unity of spirit and friendship, the beauty of song, the sound of joy, the sharing of wisdom for a nonkilling society, and the hope for a world at peace.

— Koozma J. Tarasoff and Kristina Kristova, Ottawa, Canada.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

New Russian Thesis on Doukhobor Singing

Anastasia Vladimirovna Zernina
Зернина Анастасия Владимировна
'Singing Tradition of the Doukhobors in Rostov province: Denominational and Regional Aspects', is the translated title of a fresh doctoral thesis by Anastasia V. Zernina, 2017. Rostov, Russian Federation.

She did her field work and research in 2012-2016 among Doukhobor and Molokan villages in Tselinsky district, Rostov province, Russian Federation.

Her work focuses on Doukhobor oral traditions of burial, marriage, beliefs (ideology), calendar events, and singing (religious, worldly), with many references to neighboring Molokane. The phrase "Doukhobors and Molokans" appears about 26 times in the text.

The Russian title: 'Певческая Традиция Духоборов Ростовской Области: Конфессиональный и Региональный аспекты' is online in PDF, and abstract in a separate PDF. It was submitted in 2017 to the C.V. Rakhmanninov State Conservatory, Rostov-na-donu («Ростовская государственная консерватория им. С. В. Рахманинова»).

Table 1 (page 74), 'Singing repertoire of Rostov Dukhobors', summarizes her categorization of all songs, shown below translated.

Click on chart to ENLARGE

Half of the thesis pages (129 to 251) are Bibliography (231 references, 15 Canadian) and Appendixes. Missing in Bibliography are:
Dr. O'Brien-Rothe's analysis is similar to Zernina's in that both report the origin of Spiritual Christian religious song melodies are evolved adaptations of Orthodox church chants and old Russian folk music. Solemn drawn-out (protyazhennaya) singing of religious hymns, like Oche nash, was developed to comply with the Russian law against "infecting" heterodox faiths, to sound non-sensible to an Orthodox who might hear the very slow singing. Doukhobors and Molokane only sing spiritual verses during Sunday service, but Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki added melodies from faster folk song genres, especially for ecstatic spiritual jumping. Zealous Dukh-i-zhizniki in the U.S.A. and Australia scorn singing Russian folk song lyrics for entertainment, though they adapted folk song melodies to their own spiritual words.

A long 24-page chart (pages 164-187) lists 380 songs logged for her study — 157 (41%) religious, and 223 (59%) worldly folk songs. The chart has columns for Song number, Title (first words), Variants, Source (religious) or Author (folk songs), Recording location, and Notes. Below is a summary count of each category in this chart.

Religious chants (157)
  • Psalms (35)
  • Spiritual verses (15)
  • Stishki (spiritual songs) (105)
  • Prayers (2)
Folk songs (223)
  • Lyrical - slow (115)
  • Lyrical - fast (32)
  • Romance (58)
  • Lullabies (10)
  • Chastushki (7)

2 stishki are borrowed from Molokane (page 173, numbers 81 and 91, Dukh-i-zhzinik Sionskii pesennik 64 and 129)

32 examples (including 2 variants) of musically notated songs with lyrics are shown (pages 189 to 244). Maybe a talented reader will record this sheet music for those of us who cannot read music to help create the first notated songbook with audio.

At the end (pages 245+), 91 informants interviewed from 1930 through 2012 are listed alphabetically by 8 villages (82 count) and 1 city (9 count), with the year and location of birth shown for 85 people, not the year interviewed. One man, Vasilii P. Lisichkin, was born among Molokane.

Though many high quality maps of Russia exist online, Zernina reports that she cannot use them because they are not "officially published", per rules for theses in Russia. She apologizes for the inaccurate, approximate Soviet era map on page 163, which was the only map she could use. Here's a list of better maps:


Monday, 1 May 2017

150 Canadian Stories of Peace

Many Canadians reading this have dedicated all or part of their lives for peace, in many ways. For Canada 150 we invite you to submit your stories about building peace in yourself, your home, community and/or beyond. Website: 150 Canadian Stories of Peace.

150 submitted stories will be published this year in a book. More stories may be published in future editions.

Read Book

150 Canadian Stories of Peace: An Anthology Paperback – November 23, 2017 – is available from

  • Share a time when you chose peace over hatred, love over fear, nonviolence over violence, non-killing over killing.
  • Did you build bridges across people of differing ideologies and beliefs?
  • Do you have a story from your culture that inspires actions of peace?
  • Do your beliefs help you or others be at peace even when surrounded by war?
  • How did you stop a bully?

  • No age limit.
  • Language: English or French.
  • Submission deadline: August 31, 2017.
  • Focus on stories by Canadians at home or abroad.
  • Everything to be on one-side of one letter-size page.
  • Photos and illustrations may be published, no guarantee.
  • Your story must be true. Don’t be afraid to speak from the heart.
  • You may use a pen name (fictitious), but must reveal your real name to us.
  • Additional information (video, YouTube, and written) might be used for publicity, not the book.
  • About 1page, maximum 3,650 characters counting spaces, Times New Roman 12 font, including story title, author’s name/pen name, and 1-line bio info (latter if desired by the author).

More information

Send submissions (one page) and questions to

  • Ms. Evelyn Voigt, (613) 721-9829 OR
  • Ms. Mony Dojeiji, (613) 793-1633