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The woman clothed in the sun: pacifism and apocalyptic discourse among Russian spiritual Christian Molokan-jumpers.

WITH its violent images of heavenly and earthly combat, the book of Revelation has been criticized for promoting a vengeful and distorted version of Christ's teachings. Gerd Ludemann, for example, has attacked the book as part of the "dark side of the Bible," and Jonathan Kirsch believes that the pernicious influence of Revelation "can be detected in some of the worst atrocities and excesses of every age, including our own." (1) Yet, surprisingly, nonviolent pacifists have also drawn on the Apocalypse for encouragement and support. This was especially true for generations of Russian Spiritual Christians (dukhovnye khristiane), a significant religious minority whose roots trace at least as far back as the 1760s, when the first "spirituals" (dukhovnye) were arrested and tried in Russia's southern provinces of Tambov and Voronezh. Although they drew upon apocalyptic martial imagery, the Spiritual Christians were pacifists, some of whom came to identify themselves with the Woman Clothed in the Sun of Revelation 12.

Spiritual Christians refused to recognize the sacraments, clergy, and icons of the state church; rather than kiss and bow to icons, they kissed and bowed to one another, and thus venerated human beings, who were the true image--or icon (ikona, obraz)--of God. Convinced that the world was coming to an end, these Spiritual Christians openly ridiculed the most sacred Orthodox rituals, and they looked forward to the return of Christ and God's direct instruction by the Holy Spirit. Although they recognized the Bible, these Spiritual Christians--later labeled "spirit-wrestlers" (dukhobortsy or Dukhobors) by heresiologists after the (completely unrelated) fourth-century heresy of the pneumatomakhoi--believed that their own oral tradition and contemporary divine inspiration took precedence over the scriptures. (2)

By the end of the eighteenth century, Spiritual Christianity had split into two major branches, the Dukhobors and the Molokans, who were divided over the authority of the canonical scriptures. The Dukhobors emphasized the indwelling spirit of God in each individual; the Molokans insisted on the authority of the written Bible. The Molokans received their name because they ignored the extrabiblical fasting rules of the Orthodox Church and drank milk (moloko) and ate other dairy products on the days that such foods were forbidden. Although they preferred the term Spiritual Christians, they also used the term Molokan, which could signify not only their liberation from Orthodox tradition but also their commitment to the pure spiritual milk of God's word (1 Peter 2:2).

In the early nineteenth century, the Molokan commitment to biblical authority helped them to fashion their particular understanding of the Woman Clothed in the Sun, who became a particularly poignant symbol for persecuted Spiritual Christians. Pictured as a heavenly figure attacked by an evil dragon, the Woman of the Apocalypse has traditionally been seen by Christian commentators as symbolic of an embattled righteous community. In the narrative of the Apocalypse, the Woman, who is thrice rescued from the attacks of the serpent, serves as a parenesis--moral encouragement for a persecuted community that identifies itself with her. (3) Envisioning themselves as the Woman Clothed in the Sun, some Spiritual Christians fashioned the answers to their very real dilemmas of plague, famine, and state persecution by placing themselves within the apocalyptic narrative. The Apocalypse provided the discursive tools for understanding and responding to their predicaments, and the drama of the Woman Clothed in the Sun served as a cultural script, suggesting possibilities for responding to the crises that they faced. (4)

As an image drawn from the Bible, the Apocalyptic Woman also illustrated two major features that distinguished the Molokans from the state church: (1) their commitment not only to the Bible, but also to its spiritual interpretation; and (2) their ecclesiology, which reserved the term church to the assembly of the faithful, not to some sacred space or building. Understood in a spiritual sense, the Woman represented the community of true believers. Some time before 1820, the Molokan merchant Semen Andreevich Shvetsov of Tambov province, in an effort to gain recognition for his faith, outlined the main tenets of Spiritual Christianity for the provincial governor. Citing John 4:2324, Shvetsov contended that the Molokans worshiped God in spirit, unlike the Orthodox priests. Secondly, Shvetsov noted that "we regard the church, in accordance with the words of holy scripture, as an assembly of people, for the holy apostle Paul in the second epistle to the Corinthians, in the sixth chapter, says 'you are the church of the living God.'" In the same way, Shvetsov argued that the sacraments had to be understood and celebrated spiritually: "baptism consists in the teaching of the word of God"; confession was to be done among fellow believers, not to priests; communion meant "studying the words of God and the fulfillment and observance of his holy commandments"; and the only hierarch among the Spiritual Christians was Christ himself. (5) For his pains, Shvetsov ultimately ended up in monastic confinement in the Suzdal' Spaso-Evfimiev monastery. (6)

Over the course of the nineteenth century, the most radical Dukhobors and Molokans also embraced an uncompromising pacifism, which was expressed most dramatically in 1895 when Dukhobors organized a mass burning of arms as a protest against war. (7) Shortly afterward, in 1898 to 1899, some 7,500 Dukhobors emigrated to Canada, their voyage financed in part by the writer Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), who devoted the profits from his last long novel, Resurrection, to the Dukhobor cause. The Molokans likewise began a mass emigration in 1904, in part to escape military service in the Russo-Japanese War. In their new home in the United States, the Spiritual Christian-Molokans called on the images of Revelation--especially the Woman Clothed in the Sun of Revelation 12--to express their conception of their community and to support their fierce opposition to registration for the draft in 1917. (8)


By using the image of the Woman Clothed in the Sun, Spiritual Christians drew on a long history that stretched back to John's original vision in the late first century. In Revelation, John sees a door open in heaven and has a vision of God on his throne surrounded by twenty-four elders. God holds a scroll with seven seals, which he gives to the Lamb, a symbol of Christ, who opens them one by one. After the seventh seal has been broken, seven angels begin to blow seven trumpets, one after another. As each seal is broken and each trumpet blown, new and terrible misfortunes rain down upon the earth.

When the notes of the last trumpet have faded away, John witnesses a remarkable cosmic drama: the conflict between a heavenly woman clothed in the sun and her enemy, Satan. "And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child, and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery" (Revelation 12:1-2, RSV). Satan, pictured as a seven-headed, ten-horned red dragon, attacks the woman three times. First, he waits for the woman to give birth to her male child, whom he wishes to devour. But Satan fails: the woman successfully gives birth to a son "who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron" (a reference to the messianic second Psalm), and the son is "caught up to God and to his throne" (12:5). The woman, on the other hand, flees not into heaven but into the desert, where God has prepared a place for her "to be nourished for 1260 days" (12:6).

The drama continues in heaven, where the Archangel Michael and the hosts of heaven cast the dragon down to earth. On earth, the Devil attacks the woman a second time, but she miraculously flies away on eagle's wings (12:13-14). Satan then tries for a third time to destroy the woman; he spews a flood of water out of his mouth, which the earth obligingly swallows up in order to protect the woman. Furious at his failure, Satan turns from the woman "to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus" (12:17).

To carry out his attack upon the woman's offspring, Satan raises two beasts, one from the sea and one from the land. The more powerful of the two beasts rises from the sea and, with its ten horns and seven heads, bears a striking resemblance to John's depiction of Satan. The beast from the sea "was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them" (13:7). The second beast, the beast from the land, "makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast" and "works great signs" (13:12, 13).

Early Christian commentaries on this passage identified the woman with the church. In his treatise on Christ and Antichrist, which was later copied and recopied in Slavonic translations in Russia, Hippolytus (ca. 170-ca. 236) wrote that the woman was "the Church, endued with the Father's word, whose brightness is above the sun." The twelve stars in her crown represented the twelve apostles by whom the Church was founded; her pregnancy signified that "the Church will not cease to bear from her heart the Word that is persecuted by the unbelieving in the world." (9) Victorinus (d. 303 or 304), the author of the earliest commentary on Revelation, agreed, calling her "the ancient church of the fathers, and prophets, and saints, and apostles." (10) In the seventh century, Andreas, the bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, penned the most influential Orthodox commentary on Revelation; he, too, identified the Woman Clothed in the Sun as the Church, the righteous community. (11) The Russian Orthodox Church inherited this hermeneutical approach to the Apocalypse. Andreas's interpreted version of Revelation appears in multiple copies from the fourteenth century. (12) By the sixteenth century, Russian iconographers incorporated Andreas's interpretations in their complex versions of the Apocalypse icon. (13) About the same time, the Muscovite monk Filofei, reflecting on the destruction of all Orthodox kingdoms outside of Moscow, compared his country to the Woman Clothed in the Sun:
   According to the Great Theologian, the Woman is Clothed in the Sun,
   and the moon is under her feet, and the infant is in her arms. And
   immediately the serpent with seven heads and seven crowns, emerged
   from the abyss, and wanted to swallow the woman's baby. And the
   woman was given the wings of a great eagle, so that she could flee
   into the desert, and then the serpent poured out water like a river
   from its lips, to drown her in this river. By water the Theologian
   means unbelief; you see, O Elect of God, how all Christian kingdoms
   have been trampled by the unbelievers, and only our kingdom alone
   stands by the grace of Christ. (14)

Two centuries later, the Spiritual Christians also saw themselves as embattled by unbelief and looked to God for their salvation.


From its very beginnings in the 1760s, Spiritual Christianity was marked by powerful apocalyptic expectations, but the "Woman Clothed in the Sun" began to occupy a special place in the discourse of the most radical Russian Molokans during a series of revivals in the 1830s, which were punctuated by crises of persecution, famine, and cholera epidemics. In the messages of these radical Molokan prophets, the Woman of Revelation represented the spiritual community that had embraced a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit, who revealed himself through miraculous glossolalia, prophecy, trances, and inspired dance. These new spiritual manifestations split the Molokans: most Molokans rejected them and became known as Constant Molokans (postoiannye molokane), but a significant minority, who became known as the Leapers (skakuny) and Jumpers (pryguny), wholeheartedly accepted these signs as supernatural evidence of the Holy Spirit. As their name implies, the Holy Spirit led the Leapers and Jumpers in ecstatic and inspired dances.

One of the prophetic leaders of the Molokan-Jumpers, Fedor Osipovich Bulgakov (1809-1876), took the messianic name David, the son of Jesse, and wrote several works from the 1830s until his death. Bulgakov, a peasant whose grandfather had left the state church in 1783 to become a Molokan, grew up in a Molokan home in Tauride province. In 1833, at the age of twenty-four, Bulgakov participated in the spiritual and apocalyptic revival that split the Molokan community:
   At that time there was a famine, but they [our brothers] held
   money, food, clothing, etc., in common, sharing with each person as
   a need arose. Many preached about the end of this age and about the
   imminent Last Judgment of Christ: that the sinners will perish, but
   the righteous will reign with Christ on earth for a thousand years!
   The authorities arrested these prophets and placed them in prison
   for two years; many died. But in large numbers we, seeing their
   righteous suffering and great zeal toward God in prayer and in the
   activity of the Holy Spirit, joined them and from burning prayer
   and faith, without studying, began to speak by the Holy Spirit in
   various tongues about the greatness of God, unmasking many in
   secret sins; we explained to people that what was written in the
   Acts of the Apostles chapter 2, verse 16, and in many other places
   was written about us. (15)

Denounced for his preaching by the Constant Molokans ("our brothers who lead a dissolute life" (16)) to the tsarist authorities, Bulgakov began writing his Book of Zion while in prison and drew on the message of Revelation to explain the schism in the Molokan community. Believing that "the end times have arrived; yes, soon and very soon it will be too late to wake up," Bulgakov interpreted the bitter split between Constants and Jumpers in the light of the imminent end of the world. (17) The Jumper prophet identified the two conflicting Molokan parties with the two groups of saints described in the seventh chapter of the Apocalypse: the Jumpers were the 144,000 Israelites sealed by the Holy Spirit (Revelation 7:4-8), while Constant Molokans were "the great multitude, which no man can number, from every nation, from all tribes, peoples, and tongues" (Revelation 7:9). (18) Identifying the Jumpers with the Woman Clothed in the Sun and with the temple mount of Zion, Bulgakov insisted on their superiority to the Constant Molokans, whom he called "Jerusalem." Unlike "Zion," whose members had submitted their hearts completely to God's will, "Jerusalem" had allowed itself to be deceived by Satan: "they do not await the Day of Judgment, they do not understand the Holy Spirit, who works in many ways through Zion's members, whom, moreover, they curse, abuse, and mock." (19) For the moment, the Woman Clothed in the Sun suffered persecution, slander, and torment--even from her fellow Molokans--but soon she would give birth to her male child, "who will subdue all nations and who even now secretly by the spirit of his power, humiliated before men, acts through his faithful ones." (20) At this moment of vindication, in accordance with the prophecies about the Woman, God would gather Zion and take her to a place of refuge for 1,260 days.

Confronted by this supernatural affirmation of "Zion," the members of Jerusalem would repent of their unbelief and turn in remorse to the Jumpers whom they had heretofore mocked: "We now see that you are the faithful servants of the living God and that the Holy Spirit truly worked through you .... Now we with a pure conscience and great humility tearfully ask you to forgive us all our insults against you and intercede for us with our Almighty Creator and Savior that He might have mercy on us, who deserve eternal judgment and torment." (21) Although saved from the final judgment, "Jerusalem" will not escape all punishment. For their slanders, insults, and rejection of the Holy Spirit's work, the members of "Jerusalem" must suffer through the great tribulation of Antichrist's reign, while "Zion," the Apocalyptic Woman, is safely nourished by God in his refuge. (22)

This new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 1833 was framed by collective cataclysms of disease, famine, and persecution. Ten years earlier, Russia's first cholera epidemic hit Astrakhan province, where many Molokans had settled; the disease returned with a vengeance in 1829-1831, when it ravaged the Volga basin and reached as far as the Crimea, Kiev, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Poland. The government's inadequate response to the crisis provoked a series of cholera riots in 1830-1831 in Tauride province (where Bulgakov first experienced the outpouring of the Spirit), as well as in the lower Volga and black-earth provinces, where Molokans were particularly numerous. Mass famine, prompted by crop failures in 1832 and 1833, exacerbated an already difficult situation. (23)

In addition to these natural disasters, the Russian government under Nicholas I (r. 1825-1855) began to deport the "most harmful" religious dissenters, including Molokans and Dukhobors, to the increasingly troublesome Caucasian frontier. Nicholas began to implement this policy in 1826, when he decreed that Dukhobors among the Don Cossacks should be forcibly settled in military colonies in the Caucasus, and on October 20, 1830, he extended this policy to include all of the "most dangerous" heretics: "Dukhobors, iconoclasts, Molokans, judaizers, and other heresies recognized as especially harmful." (24) By separating these potentially dangerous sectarians from Russian Orthodox peasants in the central provinces, Nicholas hoped to limit their damaging influence. Moreover these ethnically Russian--although heterodox--colonies could help the empire to assimilate the strategically important area of Transcaucasia. By placing pacifist sectarians in hostile regions, the government also hoped to "cure" them of their opposition to war and military service; as General Aleksei Petrovich Ermolov (1772-1861), the commander of Russian forces in the Caucasus from 1816 to 1827, put it, "when these people find themselves always on the front line facing the mountaineers, they will necessarily be forced to defend their families and property." (25)

Despite the government's best efforts to destroy Spiritual Christianity and dishearten its adherents, Nicholas I and his advisors found themselves unwittingly playing a divinely ordained role in the apocalyptic drama of the Woman Clothed in the Sun. Instead of sending the Molokans into a dangerous exile, the Russian government was gathering the faithful into the promised place of refuge--Mount Ararat, where Noah's ark had come to rest, and where Christ's millennial reign would begin. Many Spiritual Christians did not wait to be exiled to the Caucasus, but voluntarily moved there in anticipation of God's redemption. (26) The expectation, shared by many Molokans, that the millennial kingdom would begin near Ararat was inspired in part by the speculations of the prolific German Pietist Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling (1740-1817) and the Baltic Baroness Juliane von Krudener (1764-1824). In his popular 1794 novel Homesickness, which was published in a five-volume Russian translation in 1817-1818, Jung-Stilling had located the divine kingdom of "Solyma" in Central Asia on the Russian border; in his commentaries on Revelation, The Victorious History of the Christian Religion (1799) and The First Supplement to the Voctorious History of the Christian Religion (1805), he prophesied that all Christians would overcome their sinful divisions to unite into a single community of faith, arising in the east, with the Moravian Brotherhood as its nucleus. (27) Von Krudener accepted the idea that Christ's kingdom would arise in the east, but located its beginning in Ararat, where God had once before begun the restoration of the world. Following the chronology and reasoning of the great biblical scholar Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687-1752), Jung-Stilling foresaw Christ's terrestrial, millennial kingdom that would begin in 1836. (28) In 1815, the mystical Martinist freemason, Aleksandr Fedorovich Labzin (1766-1825), made a free translation and abridgment of Jung-Stilling's commentaries on Revelation that he published in a single volume under the title The Victorious Tale, or the Triumph of the Christian Religion. (29) Labzin's version of Jung-Stilling's work proved immensely popular, not only among the Molokans, but also among Russian Orthodox and Old Believers, who spread the book by copying it in manuscript. (30) Jung-Stilling's vision had encouraged German chiliastic Separatists to migrate to the Caucasus from Wurttemburg beginning in 1816; using the same texts, the Molokans continued this migration and even interpreted their forced exile as part of God's divine plan. (31) For example, one inspired Jumper prophet, Luk'ian Petrov Sokolov, "began to preach the end of the world in 1836 and encouraged his followers to go, in accordance with God's command, to the Caucasus and unite at Mount Ararat to build the New Jerusalem." (32) In his prophetic works, Bulgakov also often cited Jung-Stilling, whose mystical and pietistic works continue to be read and valued by Molokans to this day. (33)

Using the images of Revelation, Bulgakov also encouraged his fellow believers to migrate to the Caucasus, the refuge promised to John the Theologian. The narrative about the Woman Clothed in the Sun provided Bulgakov and his followers, the Zionites, a cultural script, which served, in Clifford Geertz's words, as both a model of and a model for reality. (34) The story gave a ready explanation for the schism within the Molokan community: the Woman, in her birth travails, represented the "Zionites" who were laboring to bring forth the salvation of the world; "Jerusalem," or the Constant Molokans who rejected the prophetic outpouring of the Holy Spirit, were the Woman's other offspring (Revelation 12:7) who had to face the attacks of the Dragon and his beasts alone. The narrative also provided a strategy of action; rather than remain in the famine-plagued lower Volga, the Spiritual Christians deliberately sought to build their community on the Caucasian frontier.

Over the course of writing his prophecies, Bulgakov had himself moved to the Caucasus. As punishment for his religious activities, he was drafted into the army and sent to fight against Imam Shamil (1797-1871, r. 1834-1859) and his Muslim warriors. (35) Despite his hostility toward the tsarist authorities, Bulgakov had a successful army career, rising to the rank of sergeant major (fel'dfebel') before retiring to Khachinka village in Elisavetpol' district of Azerbaijan, where he continued to preach as the "spiritual tsar" David, the son of Jesse, until his death in 1876. (36) Molokan prophets continued to use his narrative about the Apocalyptic Woman to understand the destiny of their faith and their community.


In 1853, another revival of the Molokans broke out in the Transcaucasian villages where they had settled. Beginning in the village of Nikitino in Erevan province (Armenia), the prophets of the Spiritual Christians began once again to preach the imminent judgment of the world. (37) Their sermons were accompanied by an intense outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which led the prophets to dance to exhaustion. In preparation for the new kingdom, the Spiritual Christians engaged in severe fasts lasting as long as a week.

A major leader of this revival was the state peasant Maksim Gavrilovich Rudometkin (ca. 1832-1877), one of the most uncompromising and influential of all the Spiritual Christian prophets. Born in Algasovo village in Morshansk district of Tambov province, he converted to Spiritual Christianity at the age of eight when his parents left the official church to join the "Zionites." Forcibly deported to Armenia, the Molokans of Algasovo established the new settlement of Nikitino in 1842; this village became Maksim Rudometkin's headquarters. (38) In the 1850s, he established a chapel in the home of his follower Ivan Manuseev where he held tong sermons urging his listeners to repent since the end of the world was near. (39)

According to one oral tradition, Rudometkin received a revelation for the brotherhood to fast and pray for three days at his home. He invited all the elders from surrounding villages to attend. While they sang Isaiah 51, a great darkness descended, and the Spiritual Christians heard one hundred claps of thunder. Rushing outside, the Spiritual Christians saw a brilliant light and a choir of angels. Rudometkin ordered everyone to sing "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God," an adaptation of Revelation 4:8. A great outpouring of the Holy Spirit caused everyone to dance, and many spoke in tongues. Brought out to the center of the assembly, Rudometkin was declared to be the "king of spirits" and the leader of Zion. (40)

Alarmed by Rudometkin's preaching, Russian officials arrested this inspired prophet in September 1858 and placed him in monastic confinement, first in the remote island monastery of Solovetskii in the White Sea, and then in the Suzdal' Spaso-Evfimiev monastery, where he died in 1877. (Some of his followers hold that he never died but ascended to heaven, or returned incognito to Prompted by his imprisonment to put his prophetic utterances into writing, Rudometkin provided his followers with regular instruction, preserved in fourteen notebooks that were smuggled out from his cells and carried to his distant followers in the Caucasus. In the 1860s, Rudometkin also introduced new rituals for the Molokan-Jumpers, and ordered them to cease celebrating Orthodox holidays and instead to observe the Old Testament holy days of Paskha (Passover), Pentecost, Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. Although Rudometkin promoted this Mosaic calendar, he and his followers gave these fasts and feasts Christian meanings. (42) Rudometkin's Old Testament ritual calendar sharply distinguished his followers from both Orthodox Christianity and other Molokans.

In his prophecies, Rudometkin personalizes the apocalyptic narrative, identifying himself as the Woman's male child, "God's chosen one, who will be anointed by the Spirit of power for the subjugation of the heathen." (43) He also sharpens the polemic against his enemies, both external and internal. The seven-headed serpent is the Russian Orthodox Church, which holds to the "seven-headed ecumenical councils," a perversion of the true Christianity maintained by the Woman; the "bestial lying prophet" who arises from the land is "the cunning ecumenical clergy." (44) A local official is "an evil carnivorous beast," "an exemplary servant of Antichrist." (45) God's Last Judgment "will soon fall suddenly on the Russian tsar, just as it once fell unexpectedly on Pharaoh, the Egyptian." (46) "Drunk with blood," the Russian tsar and his evil hosts will meet destruction when at Armageddon they go to battle against Rudometkin, "the innocent sufferer and leader of New Israel." (47) Rudometkin also attacks those Molokans who reject his leadership: the "erring" Constant Molokans "are under the numbers of the multicolored beast." Drawing from the images of Revelation, Rudometkin appeals to his opponents within the Molokan community: "anoint your eyes with eyesalve, take off the name and number of the beast, discard this science of the seven-headed ecumenical council, and place your feet with me onto the glassy sea." (48) Yet throughout this terrible imminent conflict between good and evil, between Jumpers and Constants, God is preparing a refuge for the Woman Clothed in the Sun, and She must be ready to migrate: "And see that you flee from this into the place of refuge: for the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob" (cf. Psalm 87:2). (49) Rudometkin's prophecies affirmed the promise of a divinely appointed refuge and the possibility of a mass migration (pokhod) to escape destruction. (50)


The narrative of the Woman Clothed in the Sun ultimately led thousands of Molokans to immigrate to the United States, as they sought their refuge promised in Revelation. Universal military conscription, initially introduced into Russia by the military reform of 1874 and extended to Transcaucasia in 1887, helped to drive some Molokans away from Ararat to a new refuge in the New World. (51) The new measures pushed the pacifist Molokans to request exemption from military service, but these petitions were routinely denied. (52) By 1900, inspired by the pacifist Dukhobors who were immigrating to Canada to escape military service, Molokan leaders began to explore the possibility of settling in America. One of the Molokans, Ivan Gur'evich Samarin, had gained valuable experience as secretary to the Dukhobor community and became a major proponent of the migration. (53) Oral traditions about the great migration to the Caucasus and prophecies concerning future migrations encouraged the move. In the spring of 1900, a Molokan delegation from Kars province that included Samarin, Filipp Mikhailovich Shubin (1855-1932), and Fedot Semenovich Buchnev traveled to North America to prepare for the migration. (54) A second delegation also traveled to Canada and California and returned with a strong recommendation to immigrate.

With the onset of the Russo-Japanese war in 1904, Molokans began to leave Russia in large numbers. The first group left in the fall of that year for California, where they established themselves first in Los Angeles (1904) and then in San Francisco (1906). (55) In 1909, Ivan Samarin, writing from his new home in California, reflected on the divine nature of this new Molokan colony. In an article entitled, "The Migration of Spiritual Christians to America by Revelation," which was published in the main Molokan journal The Spiritual Christian in the Russian imperial capital of St. Petersburg, Samarin began by reciting the ancient story: "A woman clothed in the Sun, the Moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars.... By the name of the woman clothed in the sun, we mean the church of the 'leapers and jumpers,' ... the sons of light and the sons of the day who await the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His accession to the throne on earth for a thousand years." (56)

This powerful apocalyptic impulse also made the Molokan-Jumpers dissatisfied with their new urban home, and many of them wished to return to the land where they could grow their own food in a Christian community. Rudometkin had predicted a worldwide famine that would allow the Antichrist to seize power. Such a famine would naturally affect the cities, but Rudometkin had promised that the Spiritual Christians, "the true people of the Lamb," would neither turn to the Antichrist nor starve, "for God will not starve his people to death with famine." (57) Molokans left the cities to establish rural agrarian colonies in California, Mexico, Utah, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona. (58)

The settlement in Glendale, ten miles north of the state capital, Phoenix, was one of the more successful of these enterprises. The town had been founded as a temperance colony in 1892 by members of the Church of the Brethren who had moved there from Illinois. (59) The growth of the colony emphasized its common life. Rather than create separate individual homesteads, the elders of the community, led by their presbyter Mikhail Petrovich Pivovarov (Mike Pivovaroff, 1871-1934), set aside forty acres in the middle of the land for a village. Each family received a one-acre plot, another plot was set aside for the prayer house (sobranie), and the farmers commuted to their fields, as they had in Russia. In a highly significant act, the Molokans first built a communal oven to bake bread. Because the Molokans kept the Mosaic dietary laws, they dared not eat food prepared by others. The construction of the oven made their common life a possibility. Likewise when building their houses, the Molokans first dug cellars for food storage, and they oriented the houses lengthwise along the lot with the gable end facing the street. (60) The community first built a home for their presbyter, which served as a meeting place until the completion of the prayer house. (61)

In its first decade, the Glendale colony flourished economically. The outbreak of World War I created strong demand for cotton, which became the Molokans' main cash crop. By 1918, the Molokan colony numbered seven hundred persons, with an average of five to six children in each family. (62) The Glendale colony also flourished spiritually and participated in a regional revival that climaxed in courageous resistance to draft registration during the World War I. In late May 1912, Aleksei Sergeevich Tolmachev (1861-1937), a peasant of the important Molokan center of Nikitino village in Erevan province of Armenia, contributed to the revival when he immigrated to Glendale bringing Rudometkin's manuscripts. According to one tradition, Tolmachev became the caretaker of the sacred writings through his kinship by marriage to Rudometkin. (63) In another tradition, an angel showed Tolmachev the location of the hidden manuscripts, which he stole in order to take to the New World. (64) However Tolmachev obtained the notebooks, he gave them to his wife, Mariia, who baked them into two loaves of bread to smuggle them out of the Russian empire.

After arriving in Arizona, Tolmachev was surprisingly reluctant to share Rudometkin's prophecies, although he did allow the Glendale presbyter, Mikhail Pivovarov, to take the notebooks and study them. Secretly Pivovarov had Aleksei Osipovich Valov (Alex Joseph Valoff, 1893-1980), the son of one of the colony's prophets, copy the notebooks and prepare them for publication. Once Valov had completed the copies, Pivovarov convinced an initially angry Tolmachev to consent to his plan. In Los Angeles in 1915 under Pivovarov's editorship, the notebooks were printed under the title Utrenniaia zvezda (The Morning Star). (65)

World War I seemed to confirm Rudometkin's prophecies of a coming Armageddon between the kings of the world, and it intensified religious fervor among the Molokans, especially those in the rural colonies. In Arizona, the revival began in 1914 with a young woman, Gania Alekseevna Novikova, who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, abstained from all food and water for seven days "to gain strength in this Living Faith and to avoid the temptations of the flesh." After completing her fast, the entire community celebrated the event with a feast (zherwa). (66) The seven-day fast was a traditional, although difficult, practice for the Transcaucasian Molokans; the desert heat of Arizona made the feat especially strenuous. Nevertheless, more and more members of the colony felt supernaturally called to undertake this fast. In the words of one of the participants, Alex J. Valoff (Aleksei Osipovich Valov):
   The next to feel the power of the Spirit and this flame of love
   were a young couple (Feodor Feodorich and Masha Esaievna Wren). On
   their way from Sobranie (Church) they were discussing the momentous
   event that had taken place when they both had a burning desire to
   begin this fast. At the end of seven days they also brought forth a
   prayer and sacrifice of thanksgiving.

      The vial from which came the flame of love did not miss us.
   During the same week, I had a dream where it was revealed to begin
   this fast. When I told my wife, Katya Petrovna, what I had seen she
   expressed the same desire. We could hardly wait for Sunday evening
   so that we could begin. On the following Sunday we also brought
   forth a prayer of thanksgiving. I was 21 years old.

      If one has never attempted this fast, seven days without food or
   drink, he cannot begin to understand how difficult it is. For a day
   or so one is hungry and then hunger disappears but as the days
   prolong the thirst for water becomes acute. (67)

Over the course of the revival, fifty-four people undertook these seven-day fasts. Some performed the feat twice, so that the colonists completed a total of sixty-two weeklong fasts. The Holy Spirit also worked through miracles and prophecies during this time. Masha Menaevna Uren, who had lost her sight, regained it, and a crippled man was healed. The prophet Osip II'ich Belikov had a revelation, confirmed by two other prophets (Masha Petrovna Valova and Vasilii Sergeevich Tolmachev), that the Molokans were to abstain from meat. Sugar and tea were also forbidden, as was photography, which violated the commandment against making images. Burdened by these new revelations, some members even burned the pictures that they had in their possession. Others, such as the elder Isai Grigor'evich Valov, were moved to fall on their knees and ask forgiveness of every member of the community. (68)

The revival also affected other Molokan colonies. In 1915 on the second day of Paskha, the weeklong celebration of Christ's resurrection, the prophet Grigorii Ivanovich Mokhov (1861-1926) of the Guadalupe Valley colony in Mexico had a revelation that was soon circulated by letter among all the Molokan communities. Fifty years later, Molokans continued to remember and discuss this revelation. (69) During the communal celebration, Mokhov, inspired by the Holy Spirit, turned to the elders and asked them whether all the Molokans were dressed alike. The elders answered that everyone was wearing clothes of different colors. "In the same way," the prophet responded, "everyone has come here with carnal thoughts and various sins hidden in their hearts." Instead, he went on, Molokans should enter the prayer house wearing only white clothing from head to toe, "for we must all merge into a single new person and dress in the white sincere clothing of heavenly cloth." No one should wear shoes of "bloody leather." (70) To enforce the new command, two prophets were to stand before the prayer house and examine each person who entered. Those dressed inappropriately and those who had committed some sin were to be taken aside and corrected before they could enter the assembly. (71)

Mokhov's apocalyptic imagery, drawn directly from Revelation, emphasized both communal purity and solidarity. The appointment of prophets as guardians of the prayer house recalled Jesus' parables of the eschatological wedding feast, in which the guest without wedding clothes is tied hand and foot and thrown into the darkness (Matthew 22:11-13). Powerfully alluding to the last judgment, Mokhov encouraged the Molokans to maintain their cultural values against a world that discounted them.

The religious revival also led the Molokans to renew their commitment to pacifism. A few weeks after Mokhov's revelation, in the summer of 1915, after conducting a three-day fast, the community received a revelation to conduct a burning of arms, much as the Dukhobors had famously done in 1895, twenty years earlier. (72) During the three-day fast, the prophetess Masha Petrovna Valoff, inspired by the Holy Spirit, proclaimed, "So saith the God of Sabaoth, bring forth a weapon, a gun, and place it in the center." Only a single gun could be found in the community, a gun that a young Jumper had purchased to scare away the birds from his milo maize. When the gun had been brought to the meeting house, the prophetess declared, "Listen everyone with great care, very soon there shall be kindled in the hearts of the Kings a fierce wrath against one another and this will lead to a great war .... The Kings shall shed rivers of blood. America, a peaceful land, shall also join in this carnage. Take this gun to Phoenix and bum it in front of the people, let this be a sign to them." (73)

On the third day of the fast, Fedor Fedorovich Uren (74) (Fred Wren, 1886-1961), Mikhail Sergeevich Tolmachev (Mike Tolmachoff), and Aleksei Osipovich Valov (Alex Joseph Valoff) volunteered to burn the gun in a public ritual in front of Phoenix City Hall. The trip from the Jumper colony in Glendale to downtown Phoenix took three hours in their horse-drawn cart. Leaving about noon, they arrived at the central park by 3 p.m. Fedor Uren carried the gun, Aleksei Valov brought kerosene and kindling, and Mikhail Tolmachev took the Bible. In a deliberate public procession, the three men circled the park, beginning at the east entrance, where they had tied and watered their horse. After completing their procession--and gaining the attention of the visitors to the park--Fedor informed his companions that the Holy Spirit had instructed them to burn the gun on top of the cannon that stood before City Hall. Demonstrably, the three men smashed the gun against the sidewalk, then took the pieces, placed them on the cannon, and burned them. A crowd of curious onlookers included both sympathizers, who were clearly concerned about the world war that had just begun a year ago, and detractors, who verbally abused the Jumpers for their demonstration. Attracted by the flame, the crowd, and the intense discussion before City Hall, three policemen questioned the young men about their activities. Valov explained, "We are a religious people. We do not believe in wars or killing of people. We left Russia and came to America because we want to avoid wars and practice our religion in peace. Our prophets are testifying that soon a great war shall start and America shall also be in this war. We are burning the gun as a testimony to all the people that we do not believe in war, nor do we take up weapons for our defense as we cannot take the life of another." (75)

When the Jumpers suggested that the policemen consign his own weapon to the flames, the officer declined and argued in favor of violence for self-defense. After briefly considering arresting the three young men for disturbing the peace, the police permitted them to return to their farms and families in Glendale. Welcomed home in the evening by their anxious families, the young men finally broke their fast with a communal sacrificial feast. (76)

The religious revival also led to an attempt to found a Christian commune. Convinced that Christians should live by holding all things in common, as recounted in Acts 2, the leader of the Glendale colony, Mikhail Pivovarov, traveled in 1916 to San Francisco to recruit others to join an agricultural commune. Perhaps he was also inspired by earlier Molokan efforts to live communally. (77) A group of recent immigrants from Selim, a village in the Kars district, who had arrived only four years earlier, was dissatisfied with urban life and decided to try the Christian commune. Several months later during the Feast of Tabernacles (Kushcha), a fall harvest festival that usually occurs in October, a delegation from the Selim immigrants arrived to survey the land. The delegation included the elders Markel Andreevich Bogdanov, Lukian Ivanovich Konovalov (1877-1940), and a younger member, Iakov Danilovich Konovalov (1887-1970).

In January 1917, twenty families from Selim arrived from San Francisco. But only seven families from the original Glendale colony agreed to join Pivovarov's experiment. The disparity from the impoverished urban immigrants and their relatively wealthy Glendale co-religionists proved to be the greatest impediment. Until the United States entered the war, the international demand for resources proved extremely beneficial to the pacifist Molokan-Jumper farmers of Arizona, who saw prices for their crops, especially cotton, rise dramatically as the war machines of the great European powers required ever more of their product. On the other hand, the migrants from Selim had spent their years in the United States as part of an urban proletariat, and they had not had the opportunity to accumulate much wealth. As a result, Pivovarov demanded each of the Selim migrants contribute only five hundred dollars to the new commune; by contrast the established families of Glendale had to provide the bulk of their wealth, which Aleksei Valov estimated at about three thousand dollars per family. (78)

Under such conditions, only seven families--among the most intensely devout of the Glendale colony--chose to enter the new communal experiment. Osip Iakovlevich Valov and his wife, who both served as the community's prophets, joined, as did their son, Aleksei, and his wife, Katia. Aleksei's two comrades, Fedor Fedorovich Uren and Mikhail Sergeevich Tolmachev, who had together ritually destroyed the gun, were also among the commune's founders. Vasilii Rodionich Kulikov and Vasilii Iakovlevich Tregubov headed the last two households to enter the commune from the Glendale settlers.

The disparity in the initial investment between the Selim immigrants and the Glendale colonists was not the only bone of contention between the two groups who were trying to merge into one. Most of the Glendale colonists had originally come from Darachichak (also called Konstantinovka) or Nikitino, Molokan villages in Erevan province of Armenia. The twenty families from Selim hailed from Kars province, near the Turkish border. Local traditions, hierarchies, jealousies, and prejudices amplified the natural social frictions between the two groups. (79) As late as 1970--over fifty years after they had immigrated--Willard Moore noted that "Salim [Selim] residents were known for their middle-class attitudes and economic successes," a reputation that must have rankled the Glendale colonists who had invested so much more of their own wealth into the commune. (80) After the breakup of the commune, the Selim residents formed their own separate assembly led by elders from their own village, Foma Stepanovich Bogdanov and Lukian Ivanovich Konovalov. (81)

The ultimate demise of the commune lay in the toll wrought by the Molokan-Jumpers' resistance to the Selective Service Act of May 18, 1917. In August, thirty-four of the young men from Glendale were sentenced to one year in prison; twenty-three came from the commune, which was left with only nine older adult men. With so much of its labor force imprisoned, the commune was unable to survive, despite the best efforts of its leadership. Ironically, the very religious fervor that had led to the establishment of the commune also caused its dissolution.


The religious revival most dramatically culminated in a communal protest against supporting war in any form. When the United States declared war on Germany in the spring of 1917, Congress quickly passed the Selective Service Act that required all men from twenty-one to thirty-one years of age to register with their local draft boards. Congress appointed June 5 as the national day of registration. (82)

The main Molokan community in Los Angeles, led by Filipp Mikhailovich Shubin and Ivan Gur'evich Samarin--the two men who had led the Molokans to immigrate to the United States in the first place--decided to support the registration effort, for they were convinced that the Molokans, as religious pacifists, would not be asked to serve. Since most Molokans, who regarded themselves as citizens of a heavenly kingdom, had not applied for naturalization, they were also exempt because of their status as aliens. Mikhail Petrovich Pivovarov, the leader of the Glendale colony, traveled to Los Angeles to consult with the other elders about registration; Shubin and Samarin urged him to follow the law. And yet, when Pivovarov returned to Arizona, many of the younger men voiced objections to this course of action. Asking for divine guidance, the colony's leaders called for a three-day fast. During prayer, all the men who were required to register under the law knelt before the altar--a simple table with the Bible and the writings and hymns of the Jumper prophets--to ask for guidance. One of the prophets proclaimed, "Do not register. This is the mark of the Beast." The next day, the prophetess Masha Valova declared, "The Lamb is amongst you. He shall go with you. Do not have any doubts, for not one hair on your head will be lost." (83) In the light of these revelations, the Arizona colony decided to resist registration.

On the national day of registration, the community held a common prayer service. Dressed in their white traditional Russian clothing, each man wore a white kosovorotka, buttoned on the left side, with a short, stand-up collar and long, full sleeves. Women wore white ankle-length skirts with a high-necked blouse and a head scarf. After singing a hymn, the entire community, three hundred strong, marched to the registration site in downtown Glendale. (84) "Coming to town in the quaint garb of their native land," as the reporter for the Arizona Republican phrased it, "they expressed their desire to comply with the law, but could not see their way clear to register." (85)

Alarmed, the Glendale officials called the chairman of the State Council of Defense, the prominent local businessman Dwight B. Heard (1869-1929), who gathered the Jumper community in a local park and for three hours tried to convince them to follow the law. His efforts, hampered by a large language barrier, succeeded in persuading just twenty men to register. The vast majority of the colonists still refused. (86) To explain their resistance to registration and military service, the Russians provided a sworn notarized statement that appealed to the motivating factors that drew them to the United States one decade prior, when they immigrated on grounds "solely because of our religious conviction's and against bearing arms and military service." The sworn statement proceeded to enumerate the role of religion in their actions of recent history: "the tenets of our faith have led us to destroy with fire, in Phoenix, Arizona, in the year 1915, the residue of arms which some of us had, and to abandon the use of all different meats as a food and the killing of animals, and to establish community property, in order that we may be entitled to take good care of widows and orphans." (87)

On the next day, Molokan-Jumper leaders met with the recently installed Governor Thomas Campbell (1878-1944), who tried to convince them to comply with the law and to reassure them of its provisions for religious pacifists. Campbell was hardly a sympathetic figure. After narrowly defeating his Progressive Democratic opponent, the former governor, George W. E Hunt (1859-1934), Campbell, a pro-business Republican, strongly supported the war and had little patience for resisters. The fractious labor movement--especially the radical International Workers of the World--had opposed Campbell's election and now criticized America's entrance into the war. (88) In any case, the Molokan-Jumpers turned a deaf ear to the governor's pleas. "In reply, the Molokana [sic] leaders said in effect that their people were opposed to war and that their religion forbade them taking part in a war in any manner whatever." (89) Registration still demanded non-combatant service from pacifists, service that the Molokan-Jumpers were unwilling to give.

Faced with the Molokan-Jumpers' recalcitrance, Assistant U.S. Attorney John H. Langston ordered the arrest of the war-resisters. On June 9, after a communal prayer service, the Jumper community accompanied the accused to Glendale, where the police escorted them to a special streetcar headed for Phoenix. On the front and back of the car, large yellow signs proclaimed "Slackers," the term then used for draft-dodgers. At the hearing, as the judge ordered the arrest of the young men--most of whom were married and had children--the Jumpers were filled with the Holy Spirit and began their ecstatic dance.
   Shrill female voices blended with the bass notes of the men. It was
   a woman who started it, and in a twinkling the court room was alive
   with motion. Wild cries such as only a Russian could give mingled
   with the stamping of feet--for the religious dance of ecstacy was

      "Hi-yah," shouted the men and women while in a rythmic whirl
   they individually jumped about. "Jumpers" they had called
   themselves in their affidavit of refusal to register and none who
   witnessed the striking spectacle needed to be told why the name was
   bestowed. (90)

Startled, Langston cleared the courtroom and had the thirty-seven resisters brought to the holding cell.

Media reports of the Molokan-Jumpers' resistance portrayed the believers as aliens, in stark contrast to the welcoming reports that announced the initial arrival of the "progressive men" from Los Angeles in 1911. The Jumpers' songs became no more than "wild, weird noises"; their dances, also "wild, weird." (91) Reporters explicitly excluded the Molokans from the dominant white race. After reporting on the cases against the Molokans and some Mexican resisters, one newspaper article concluded: "So far there has not been a single white man marked as a slacker in this district." (92) Significantly, some reporters compared the Molokans to Native Americans, who had also strongly resisted registration. Navajos had chased the Bureau of Indian Affairs agents off the reservation, and the Utes threatened to declare war if forced to register. (93) In describing the Molokan dance in the courthouse, one journalist observed: "The dance was not unlike that done by Indians at ceremonials. Performed in unison, the effect was to almost rock the building. It brought matters to a standstill for the officials who did not know what might be coming next as it was obvious that deep emotion ruled the band of Russians in an almost mad hysteria of religious devotion." (94)

The powerful rhetoric of race separated the Russian resisters from the newspaper readers who followed the story. In the eyes of the media, the Molokans were one undifferentiated mass of fanatics. When asked to identify one of the resisters during the trial, Edith Jacobs, deputy in the county recorder's office, admitted that she was unable to do so: "A titter crept over the court room when the witness [Edith Jacobs] acknowledged that she couldn't swear that the prisoner before her was Izzy Bogdenoff because 'they all looked alike to her.'" (95)

Released on bail of one hundred dollars each--which the Molokan community easily paid--thirty-four resisters returned to be arraigned and tried from August 6 to 8, when they were quickly found guilty and sentenced to one year in the Yavapai County Jail in Prescott. Given relative freedom by Yavapai County Sheriff Levi Young, who allowed the Molokan prisoners to prepare their own food, hold nightly religious services, and work for seventy-five cents per day, the resisters suffered primarily from the separation from their families, who needed their labor, especially at harvest time. (96) In their absence, the religious commune, which had been formed only a few months earlier, began to dissolve. A request for a furlough to help with the harvest was denied on September 10. In October, the Popov brothers learned that their father had died; Aleksei Osipovich Valov, one of the three men who had ritually burned the gun in Phoenix two years earlier, missed his daughter's birth in December. Even worse, in March his wife Katia, who had never completely recovered from the delivery, died. (97)

During this difficult period, the prisoners turned to their faith. They held prayer meetings each evening in the Prescott jail, celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles (Kushcha, October 1-8), received prophets from other Molokan communities, and corresponded with Canadian Dukhobors. (98) They also collectively fasted for seven days in October and aroused the concern of the sheriff and the local news media. "Russians refusing all food," blared the headline in the Arizona Republican for Friday, October 19, 1917. By identifying the source of revelation as the "Great Spirit" rather than the Christian God, the newspaper distanced the Russians from other Euro-Americans and implicitly compared them to Native Americans: "Claiming to again have received a revelation from the Great Spirit, this time that they are to take neither food nor drink until told to do so, the Molokans sent to the Yavapai County jail for refusing to register, have gone without sustenance since last Saturday and are now on the verge of physical breakdown." (99)

Despite the sincerity of their faith and their pacifist convictions, the enormous personal cost of resisting registration took its toll on the prisoners. By March 1918, most of the war-resisters agreed to fill out a questionnaire in lieu of registration. Six men--Fedor Fedorovich Uren (Fred Wren), Iakov Danilovich Konovalov (Jake Conovaloff), Moisei Efimovich Shubin (Morris Shubin, b. 1892), Andrei Filippovich Shubin (Andrew Shubin, 1889-1980), Ivan Vasilevich Kulikov (John W. Kulikoff, b. 1896), and Ivan Vasilevich Sysoev (John W. Susoeff, b. 1896)--remained recalcitrant, however, refusing to condone war in any way. The twenty-eight who filled out the registration forms were released on June 8, 1918, but the six recalcitrants were forcibly inducted into the army and shipped to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and then to Fort Riley, Kansas.

During this period, the six men engaged in an agonizing correspondence with their friends, families, and co-religionists as they tried to understand the significance of the Woman Clothed in the Sun. Clearly heartbroken, on June 10, 1918, Filipp Mikhailovich Shubin wrote to the prisoners in an effort to convince them to capitulate to the authorities and sign the registration papers that would give them freedom:
   Dear Children, it seems to me, we are the Woman Clothed in the Sun
   who has fled into the wilderness. The Serpent has sent water like a
   fiver to swallow the Woman, but the land has swallowed it, that is
   taken upon itself the responsibility of war, but us it does not
   touch. What more do we need except to live peaceably in this
   sanctuary, in the continuing time, times and half time.

      He the Dragon has the power to make war against others of the
   seed of the Woman, but not with us who are awaiting the Lamb. We
   have not migrated here to make war, but to be saved from the wrath,
   like Noah in the Ark or like Lot in Zoar. Likewise all of us who
   are here, should only praise God and not be in prison .... if God
   finds us at fault in anything, He can punish us as He wills, but
   not to sit in prison for prison is a shame to the Woman of the
   Sanctuary. (100)

In this letter, Shubin used the apocalyptic images to argue for a conciliatory policy toward the state. The Woman Clothed in the Sun should not be in prison, for God has given her wings to flee from the Dragon and a refuge for protection. The Dragon may make war against the Woman's other offspring (Revelation 12:17), but not against the Woman herself or her man-child. The followers of Zion have nothing to do with war: "As for them being at war that is their business." (101)

Shubin's pleas fell on deaf ears. In an answering letter, dated June 23, 1918, the six recalcitrants insisted on following the Holy Spirit's instructions to resist registration: "This very Spirit has proclaimed, 'Do not register.'" (102)

At Fort Riley, Major Walter Guest Kellogg, chairman of a Board of Inquiry into conscientious objectors, examined the six Molokans, who were, in his view, "absolutely sincere and of more than average intelligence. They very probably were good fathers and model husbands whose good citizenship could hardly be questioned until they and their exotic religion were brought plump against the grim realities of war." (103)

Kellogg's positive evaluation had no immediate consequence for the Molokans. Because they refused to wear a uniform, perform any alternative service, or recognize their status as soldiers, they were court-martialed for failing to obey lawful orders. From October through November, military courts sentenced the six men to hard labor at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for terms ranging from fifteen to twenty-five years.

At Leavenworth, the Molokans refused to work under military orders and were immediately placed into solitary confinement, a prison known as the "hole." Until the War Department abolished this practice in December 1918, the prisoners were handcuffed, in standing position, to the bars in their cells for nine hours per day. Every other fortnight they were given only bread and water. In a letter of November 14, 1918, one of the Molokans' fellow prisoners described the abusive treatment that the Russians received:
   Several Russians--Holy Jumpers from Arizona--have been hunger
   striking in the hole. Two of them [Andrei Shubin and Fedor Uren]
   were beaten so bestially that even the authorities were shocked and
   the sentry is to be courtmartialed. The sentry is being tried,
   however, only because he exceeded his authority. The other beatings
   and tortures are matters of general knowledge and are accepted by
   the authorities as justifiable. These Russians were so weak at the
   end of six days that two of them had to be sent to the
   hospital--veritable ghosts.... They are ready to die in this
   dungeon. Their courage, so firm and beautiful, shames the others of
   us. (104)

On April 12, 1919, five months after the signing of the armistice that ended World War I, the six men were released from prison and allowed to return home to the Molokan colony at Glendale, where they were welcomed with a special celebration on the first day of Paskha, April 14, 1919. (105)


One of the many striking images from the canonical book of Revelation, the Woman Clothed in the Sun, has played a special role in Christian history. By 1500, during a time of disputes over eschatology, Muscovite artists and thinkers turned to this image to describe Russia's place as the only remaining Orthodox power in a world overrun by unbelief. These images later served as both a parenesis and a cultural script for Russian Spiritual Christians, who rejected the icons and priesthood of the state. As a persecuted religious minority, Spiritual Christians embraced the Apocalyptic Woman for the powerful moral encouragement that she offered; the Woman's faithfulness in the face of the destructive powers of serpent and flood provided Spiritual Christians with an exemplary model of fidelity as they sought to remain firm in their iconoclastic interpretation of the scriptures. At the same time, the biblical narrative about the Woman gave the Molokans a flexible cultural script that they could use to understand their historical situation and to formulate responses to it. Confronted by a serious internal schism, Molokan prophets drew upon the story to explain it. They identified their community with the Woman and, against arrest, exile, and forced military service, they actively sought the divine refuge that had been promised to her. Although these discursive tools never determined the course of action that the Spiritual Christians ultimately took, these provided encouragement and suggested strategies for facing the difficult dilemmas of a pacifist religious minority.

doi: 10.1017/S0009640710001587

(1) Gerd Ludemann, The Unholy in Holy Scripture. The Dark Side of the Bible, trans. John Bowden (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 1997), 114-17; Jonathan Kitsch, A History of the End of the World." How the Most Controversial Book in the World Changed the Course of Western Civilization (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006), 18. Rebecca Skaggs and Thomas Doyle, "Violence in the Apocalypse of John," Currents in Biblical Research 5, no. 2 (February 2007): 220-34.

(2) On the first Spiritual Christians, see Nikolai Gavrilovich Vysotskii, Materialy iz istorii dukhoborcheskoi sekty (Sergiev Posad: Tipografiia I. I. Ivanova, 1914); Pavel G. Ryndziunskii, "Antitserkovnoe dvizhenie v Tambovskom krae v 60-kb godakh XVIII veka," Voprosy istorii religii i ateizma 2 (1954): 154-93; Svetlana A. Inikova, "Tambovskie dukhobortsy v 60-e gody XVIII veka," Vestnik Tambovskogo universiteta, seriia Gumanitarnye nauki 2, no. 1 (1997): 3953; Inikova, "The Tambov Dukhobors in the 1760s," trans. Liz Bliss, Russian Studies" in History 46, no. 3 (Winter 2007-2008): 10-39. The Spiritual Christians held firm to their iconoclasm, in contrast to most Russians, who deeply and sincerely venerated icons. Vera Shevzov, "Icons, Miracles, and the Ecclesial Identity of Laity in Late Imperial Russian Orthodoxy," Church History 69, no. 3 (September 2000): 610-31. On the fourth-century pneumatomakhoi, see WolfDieter Hauschild, Die Pneumatomachen: Eine Untersuchung zur Dogmengeschichte des vierten Jahrhunderts (Hamburg: Hauschild, 1967).

(3) Dorothy A. Lee, "The Heavenly Woman and the Dragon: Rereadings of Revelation 12," in Feminist Poetics of the Sacred: Creative Suspicions, ed. Frances Devlin-Glass and Lyn McCredden (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 201.

(4) Anna Wierzbicka, "Russian Cultural Scripts: The Theory of Cultural Scripts and Its Applications," Ethos 30, no. 4 (December 2002): 401-32; James D. Fearon and David D. Laitin, "Violence and the Social Construction of Ethnic Identity," International Organization 54, no. 4 (Autumn 2000): 845-77, esp. 852; Ann Swidler, "Culture in Action: Symbols and Strategies," American Sociological Review 51, no. 2 (April 1986): 273-86.

(5) Nikolai Varadinov, Istoriia Ministerstva vnutrennikh del, vol. 8: Istoriia rasporiazhenii po raskolu (St. Petersburg: v Tipografii Vtorogo Otdeleniia Sobstvennoi E. I. V. Kantseliarii, 1863), 350-53.

(6) Shvetsov was imprisoned from 1835 to 1850. T. V. Kokoreva, "Suzdal'skii Spaso-Evfim'ev monastyr' kak mesto zatocheniia raskol'nikov v XIX veke" Vestnik Moskovskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, seriia 8: Istoriia, no. 5 (2000): 112.

(7) Nicholas Breyfogle, Heretics and Colonizers: Forging Russia's Empire in the South Caucasus (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2005); George Woodcock and Ivan Avakumovic, The

Doukhobors (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1977); Orest Markovich Novitskii, O dukhobortsakh (Kiev: V tip. akademicheskoi, pri Kievopecherskoi lavre, 1832); Novitskii, Dukhobortsy: ikh istoriia i verouchenie (Kiev: v Universitetskoi tip., 1882). Individual Molokans and Dukhobors varied in their commitment to pacifism and the extent to which they were willing to provide noncombatant service. Aleksandr Il'ich Klibanov, Istoriia religioznogo sektantstva v Rossii (60-e gody XIX v.-1917g.) (Moscow: Nauka, 1965), 168-69; Breyfogle, Heretics, 217-98.

(8) Jules F. Levin and Steven E. Merritt, "Semiotics of Inspired Illustration in a Molokan Sacred Text," American Journal of Semiotics 9, no. 4 (1992): 89-102. On the Molokans, see [Grigorii Pokrovskii], "Istoricheskiia svedeniia o molokanskoi sekte," Pravoslavnyi sobesednik (September 1858): 42-80; (November 1858): 291-327; Timofei Ivanovich Butkevich, Molokanstvo (Khar'kov: Tipografiia Gubernskogo pravleniia, 1909); Butkevich, Obzor russkikh sekt i ikh tolkov (Khar'kov: Tipografiia Gubernskogo Pravleniia, 1910), 281-461; Fedor Vasil'evich Livanov, Raskol'niki i ostrozhniki: ocherki i razskazy, 4 vols. (St. Petersburg: Tip. M. Khana, 1871-1873); John K. Berokoff, Molokans in America (Los Angeles: Stockton-Doty Trade, 1969); Frederick C. Conybeare, Russian Dissenters (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1921), 289-326; Christel Lane. Christian Religion in the Soviet Union: A Sociological Study (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1978); Klibanov, Istoriia religioznogo sektantstva, 122-83; Irina Aleksandrovna Malakhova, Dukhovnye khristiane (Moscow: Izd-vo politicheskoi literatury, 1970); Roman Lunkin and Anton Prokof'yev, "Molokans And Dukhobors: Living Sources of Russian Protestantism," Religion, State and Society 28, no. 1 (2000): 85-92.

(9) The Ante-Nicene Fathers." Translations of the Writings of the Fathers" Down to A.D. 325, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, 10 vols. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 19691973), 5:217; Hippolytus, Skazaniia ob antikhriste v slavianskikh perevodakh s zamechaniami o slavianskikh perevodakh tvorenii Sv. Ippolita (St. Petersburg: Tip. Imperatorskoi akademii nauk, 1874).

(10) Ante-Nicene Fathers', ed. Roberts and Donaldson, 7:355.

(11) Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou, "Andrew of Caesarea and the Apocalypse in the Ancient Church of the East" (Ph.D. diss., Faculte de theologie et de sciences religieuses, Universite Laval, 2008).

(12) See, for example, Rossiiskaia gosudarstvennaia biblioteka, Otdel rukopisei, fond 304, I, no. 6.

(13) Mikhail Vladimirovich Alpatov, Pamiatnik drevnerusskoi zhivopisi kontsa XV veka." Ikona Apokalipsis Uspenskogo sobora moskovskogo Kremlia (Moscow: Izdatel'stvo "Iskusstvo," 1964); Carolyn Anderson, "Image and Text in the Apocalypse Icon of the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin," (Ph.D. diss., University of Pittsburgh, 1977), 140-53.

(14) Filofei, "Poslanie o zlykh dnekh i chasekh," in Pamiatniki literatury drevnei Rusi: Konets XVpervaia polovina XVI veka, ed. Dmitrii Sergeevich Likhachev and Lev Aleksandrovich Dmitriev (Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia literatura, 1984), 452-53; Vasilii Nikolaevich Malinin, Starets Eleazarova monastyria Filofeia i ego poslaniia: istoriko-literaturnoe issledovanie (Kiev: Tipografiia Kievo-Pecherskoi Uspenskoi Lavry, 1901), prilozhenie.

(15) Fedor Osipovich Bulgakov, "Sionskaia knizhka bogodukhnovennykh izrechenii Davyda Essevicha, on zhe Fedor Osipovich Bulgakov," in Bozhestvennyia izrecheniia nastavnikov i stradal'tsev za slovo bozhie, veru Iisusa i dukh sviatoi religii dukhovnykh khristian molokanprygunov, ed. Ivan Gur'evich Samarin, 2nd ed. (Los Angeles: "Dukh i zhizn'," 1928), 80. This 1928 collection is the canonical edition of the utterances of Molokan-Jumper prophets and is generally known by the title Dukh i zhizn' (Spirit and Life). The editors divided the text into numbered books (knizhka), chapters (glava) or articles (povest'), and verses (stikh), and I give those reference numbers when citing from this work. The translations are my own; there is also a complete English translation: Divine Discourses of the Preceptors and the Martyrs for the Word of God, the Faith of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, of the Religion of the Spiritual Christian Molokan-Jumpers, Including a History of the Religion, trans. John W. Volkov, ed. Daniel H. Shubin (n.p., 1983). See also the translated excerpts by John K. Berokoff, Selections from the Book of Spirit and Life, Including the Book of Prayers and Songs by Maxim G. Rudametkin (Whittier, Calif.: Stockton Trade, 1966).

(16) Bulgakov, "Sionskaia knizhka," 80.

(17) Ibid., 84, 5:6

(18) Ibid., 85, 6:3.

(19) Ibid., 90, 10:4.

(20) Ibid., 87, 8:2

(21) Ibid., 91, 11:3, 7.

(22) Ibid., 92, 11:12.

(23) Roderick E. McGrew, Russia and the Cholera, 1823-1832 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1965), 50-74; Nikolai Mikhailovich Druzhinin, Gosudarstvennye krest 'iane i reforma P D. Kiseleva, 2 vols. (Moscow-Leningrad: IzdateI'stvo Akademii nauk SSSR, 1946), l:196-99; Arcadius Kahan, Russian Economic History: The Nineteenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 121; Andrei D'iakonov, "Istoricheskii ocherk sektantsva v predelakh Astrakhanskoi eparkhii (po dokumentam mestnykh arkhivov)," Natsional'nyi arkhiv Respubliki Tatarstan, fond 10, opis' 2, delo 1390.

(24) Polnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoi imperii: Sobranie vtoroe, 62 vols. (St. Petersburg: Tip. II Otdeleniia Sobstvennoi E.I.V. Kantseliarii, 1830-1884), 1 (1826): 187-92, no. 126; 5 (1830): 16970, no. 4010; Breyfogle, Heretics, 38-45.

(25) Cited in Svetlana A. Inikova, "Vzaimoomosheniia i khoziaswenno-kul'tumye kontakty kavkazskikh dukhobortsev s mestnym naseleniem," in Dukhobortsy i molokane v zakavkaz 'e, ed. V. I. Kozlov and A. R Pavlenko (Moscow: Institut etnologii i antropologii im. N. N. MiklukhoMaklaia, 1992), 45.

(26) Breyfogle, Heretics, 58-74; Varadinov, Istoriia, 8:345.

(27) Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling, Das Heimweh (Marburg: In der neuen akademischen Buchhandlung, 1794-1795); Jung-Stilling, Toska po otchizne, trans. F. Lubianovskii, 5 vols. (Moscow: v Universitetskoi tipografii, 1817-1818); Jung-Stilling, Die Siegsgeschichte der Christlichen Religion in einer gemeinniitzigen Erklarung der Offenbarung Johannis (Nuremburg: Raw'schen, 1799); Jung-Stilling, Erster Nachtrag zur Siegsgeschichte der christlichen Religion in einer gemeinnutzigen Erklarung der Offenbarung Johannis (Nuremburg: Raw'schen, 1805); Rossiiskaia gosudarstvennaia biblioteka, Otdel rukopisei, fond 173, II (Sobranie rukopisnykh knig Moskovskoi dukhovnoi akademii), no. 141; Walter Unger, "Mennonite Millennial Madness: A Case Study," Direction 28, no. 2 (Fall 1999): 201-17; Erich Mertens, "Jung-Stilling und der Kreis um Frau von Krudener," in Zwischen Strassburg und Petersburg: Vortrage aus Anlass des 250 Geburtstages von Johann Heinrich Jung-Stilling, ed. Peter Worster (Siegen: J. G. Herder, 1992), 41-96.

(28) Iurii Evgen'evich Kondakov, Dukhovno-religioznaia politika Aleksandra I i russkaia pravoslavnaia oppozitsiia (1801-1825) (St. Petersburg: Nestor, 1998), 33-34. In his interpretation of Revelation, first published in 1740, Bengel had tentatively calculated 1836 as the beginning of Christ's millennial rule. J. A. Bengel, Erklarte Offenbarung Johannis oder vielmehr Jesu Christi, 3rd ed. (Stuttgart: verlegts Johann Christoph Erhard, Buchhandler, 1758); idem, Bengelius's Introduction to His Exposition of the Apocalypse, trans. John Robertson (London: sold by J. Ryall and R. Withy, 1757).

(29) Pobednaia povest', ili torzhestvo khristianskoi religii (St. Petersburg: v Morskoi tipografii, 1815).

(30) The Old Believers broke from the state church in the seventeenth century when they refused to accept the liturgical reforms of Patriarch Nikon (r. 1652-1658). Sergey V. Petrov, "The JehovistsIl'inites: A Russian Millenarian Movement," Nova Religio 9, no. 3 (February 2006): 83; Petrov, "Nikolai Il'in and His Jehovist Followers: Crossroads of German Pietistic Chiliasm and Russian Religious Dissent," (master's thesis, University of Calgary, 2006), 26-33; Nikolai Nikolaevich Pokrovskii and Natal'ia Dmitrievna Zol'nikova, Starovery-chasovennye na vostoke Rossii v XVIII-XX vv. Problemy tvorchestva i obshehestvennogo soznaniia (Moscow: Pamiatniki istoricheskoi mysli, 2002), 171-76. Even Orthodox monks made copies of Jung-Stilling's commentary: for example, Hilandar Research Library, Ohio State University, Hilandar Monastery Slavic Manuscript Collection, no. 417. Nevertheless, the Russian Orthodox Church regarded the book as so dangerous that it prepared a special rebuttal to its arguments entitled, "The Cry of the Woman Clothed in the Sun, or the Victorious Song of the Greco-Russian Conciliar and Apostolic Church against the Victorious History of Jung-Stilling." Rossiiskaia gosudarstvennaia biblioteka, Otdel rukopisei, fond 304, II, no. 173. See Tatjana Hogy, Jung-Stilling und Russland: Untersuchungen uber Jung-Stillings Verhaltnis zu Russland und zum Osten in der Regierungszeit Kaiser Alexanders I (Siegen: J. G. Herder-Bibliothek, 1984), 101-34.

(31) Georg Leibbrandt, Die Auswanderung aus Schwaben nach Russland, 1816-1823: Ein schwabisches Zeit- und Charakterbild (Stuttgart: Ausland und Heimat Verlags-Uktiengesellschaft, 1928); Hans Petri, "Schwabische Chiliasten in Siidrussland," Kirche im Osten 5 (1962): 75-97; Ralph Tuchtenhagen, "Religioser Dissens, Staat und Auswanderung nach Osteuropa im 18 und fruhen 19. Jahrhundert," in Migration nach Ost- und Sudosteuropa vom 18. bis zum Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts: Ursachen, Formen, Verlauf Ergebnis, ed. Mathias Beer and Dittmar Dahlmann (Stuttgart: Thorbecke, 1999), 151-57; Detlef Brandes, Von den Zaren adoptiert: Die deutschen Kolonisten und die Balkansiedler in Neurussland und Bessarabien, 1715-1914 (Munich: Oldenburg, 1993), 94; Andreas Gestrich, "German Religious Emigration to Russia in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries," in In Search of Peace and Prosperity: New German Settlements in Eighteenth-Century Europe and America, ed. Hartmut Lehmann, Hermann Wellenreuther, and Renate Wilson (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000), 77-98; Robert Pinkerton, Russia or Miscellaneous Observations on the Past and Present State of that Country and Its Inhabitants (London: Hatchard and Son,

1833), 144-52; Maksim Gavrilovich Rudometkin, Utrenniaia zvezda, Izrechenie Maksima Gavrilovicha Rudometkina. Byl v zatochenii v Solovetskom monastyre i Suzdol'skom monostyre [sic], v 1858 godu 12 sentiabria. Zhitel'sel. Nikitino, Aleksandropol'skogo Uezda Erevanskoi Guber Vypisyk slov iz Knigi pamiati, nebesnogo zhurnala, Amin', Alliluia (Los Angeles: Tipografiia T-va Raduga v Amerike pod Tipografiei V.P. Shanin i V. I. Kobzin, 1915), 119.

(32) Varadinov, Istoriia, 8:345; Samarin, "Ocherk religii," in Bozhestvennyia izrecheniia (1928), 47-48; Luk'ian Petrov Sokolov, "Pis'ma Luk'iana Petrovicha," in Bozhestvennyia izrecheniia (1928), 67-75.

(33) Aleksandr Il'ich Klibanov, "K kharakteristike ideinykh dvizhenii v srede gosudarstvennykh i udel'nykh krest'ian v pervoi treti XIX v.," in h istorii ekonomicheskoi i obshchestvennoi zhizni Rossii: Sbornik statei k 90-letiiu akad. Nikolaia Mikhailovicha Druzhinina, ed. Lev Vladimirovich Cherepnin (Moscow: Nauka, 1976), 161-62; Klibanov, Narodnaia sotsial'naia utopiia v Rossii, 2 vols. (Moscow: Nauka 1977-1978), 2:37. Many other Molokan prophets and leaders were deeply influenced by Jung-Stilling's millennial vision and his mystical writings. See Georgii Khitrov, Istoriko-statisticheskoe opisanie Tambovskoi eparkhii (Tambov: Tip. K.I. Zakrzhevskago, 1861), 214. Jung-Stilling continues to maintain a powerful hold on the Molokan imagination: in 2002, Daniel Shubin, an American Molokan, translated Aleksandr Labzin's 1806 Russian translation (Ugroz svetovostokov) of Jung-Stilling's Der graue Mann: Eine Volkschrift (Nuremburg: Raw'schen, 1795) into English as Menace Eastern-Light: The Man in the Grey Suit (Bloomington, Ind.: Xlibris, 2002). John Berokoff also notes that many Molokans regarded Jung-Stilling's work as prophetic. Molokans in America, 92.

(34) Clifford Geertz "Religion as a Cultural System" in Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion, ed. Michael Banton (New York: F. A. Praeger, 1966), 1-46.

(35) Samarin, "Ocherk religii," 48-49. A quite different account, recorded in 1910, holds that Bulgakov deserted, fled to the Caucasus, and managed to get a Turkish passport from the Ottomans. Mikhail Mikhailovich Kuz'min, "Davyd Iesseich syn Iesseev (Dukhovnyi vozhd' zakavkazskikh dukhovnykh khristian)," Dukhovnyi khristianin 5, no. 10 (October 1910): 75-77.

(36) In 1918, Elisavetpol' was renamed Ganja.

(37) Still an important Molokan center, Nikitino is now called Fioletovo, in honor of the Bolshevik commissar Ivan Timofeevich Fioletov of Baku, Azerbaijan. K. I. Kozlova, "Izmeneniia v religioznoi zhizni i deiatel'nosti molokanskikh obshchin," Voprosy nauchnogo ateizma 2 (1966): 305-21.

(38) I.V. Dolzhenko, "Religioznyi i kul'tumo-bytovoi uklad msskikh krest'ian-sektantov vostochnoi Armenii (XIX-nachalo XX vv.)," in Dukhobortsy i molokane v zakavkaz'e, 13-14; idem, "Pervye russkie pereselentsy v Armenii (30-50-e gody XIX v.)" Vestnik Moskovskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, seriia 8: Istoriia, no. 5 (1974): 59.

(39) Nikolai Dingelshtedt, Zakavkazskie sektanty v ikh semeinom i religioznom bytu (St. Petersburg: Tipografiia M. M. Stasiulevicha, 1885), 61.

(40) A. F. Wren, True Believers : Prisoners for Conscience : A History of Molokan Conscientious Objectors in Worm War One : The Absolutists of Arizona : "You Shall not Lose One Hair on Your Head" ([Australia?]: A. F. Wren, 1991), 18-20.

(41) Wren, True Believers, 20; Selections from the Book of Spirit and Life." Including the Book of Prayers and Songs, ed. and trans. J. K. Berokoff (Whittier, Calif.: Stockton Trade, 1966), 18.

(42) Willard B. Moore, Molokan Oral Tradition. Legends and Memorates of an Ethnic Sect (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), 13; Pauline V. Young, Pilgrims of Russiantown: The Community of Spiritual Christian Jumpers in America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1932; repr., New York: Russell and Russell, 1967), 42.

(43) Maksim Gavrilovich Rudometkin, "Bogodukhnovennye izrecheniia Maksima Gavrilovicha Rudometkina, tsaria dukhov i vozhdia Sionskogo naroda dukhovnykh khristian molokan prygunov," in Bozhestvennyia izrecheniia (1928), 250, 3:18:12.

(44) Ibid., 201, 1:33:1; p. 239, 3:7:13.

(45) Ibid., 227, 2:19:1.

(46) Ibid., 451, 9:2:1.

(47) Ibid., 9:2:4.

(48) Ibid., 278-79, 4:6:16.

(49) Ibid., 228, 2:19:7.

(50) Serafima Nikitina, "Sotvorenie mira i kontsept iskhoda/pokhoda v kul'ture molokanprygunov," in Ot bytiia k iskhodu. Otrazhenie bibleiskikh siuzhetov v slavianskoi i evreiskoi narodnoi kul'ture: sbornik statei, ed. V. Ia. Petrukhin, Akadamicheskaia seriia 2 (Moscow: GEOS, 1998), 220-30.

(51) Nicholas B. Breyfogle, "Swords into Plowshares: Opposition to Military Service among Religious Sectarians, 1770s to 1874," in The Military and Society in Russia, 1450-1917, ed. Eric Lohr and Marshall Poe, History of Warfare 14 (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 48.

(52) Young, Pilgrims, 12; "Pokhod s Zakavkaza i Zakaspiia v Ameriku v 'ubezhishche,'" in Bozhestvennye izrecheniia (1928), 748-50.

(53) Young, Pilgrims, 242.

(54) Ivan Iakovlevich Semenov, Istoriia zakavkazskikh molokan i dukhoborov (Erevan: I. Ia. Semenov, 2001), 74-85.

(55) "Pokhod," 752. Mark Efimovich Vil'chur, Russkie v Amerike (New York: Izd. Pervogo russkogo izdatel'stva v Amerike, 1918), 46-51.

(56) Ivan Gur'evich Samarin, "Pereselenie dukhovnykh khristian v Ameriku po otkroveniiu," Dukhovnyi khristianin 4, no. 2 (February 1909): 50. Samarin notes that the decision to emigrate was highly controversial, with some prophets supporting and others rejecting the move.

(57) Maksim Gavrilovich Rudometkin, Izrechenie Maksima Gavrilovicha Rudometkina (Los Angeles: Izdanie Molokanskoi kolonii, 1910), 9.

(58) Berokoft, Molokans in America, 55-62; Peter A. Speek, A Stake in the Land (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1921), 24-31; Sydney R. Story, "Spiritual Christians in Mexico: Profile of a Russian Village" (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1960); John S. Dewey, "The Colonia Rusa of Guadalupe Valley, Baja California: A Study of Settlement Competition and Change" (master's thesis, California State College, Los Angeles, 1966); Therese A. Muranaka, "The Russian Molokan Colony at Guadalupe, Baja California: Continuity and Change in a Sectarian Community" (Ph.D. diss., University of Arizona, 1992); Eduard L'vovich Nitoburg, "Molokane v Amerike," SShA: Ekonomika, politika, istoriia, no. 10 (1997): 83; Amir Aleksandrovich Khisamutdinov, "Russkie, ischesnuvshie na Gavaiiakh," SShA: Ekonomika, politika, istoriia, no. 1 (2005): 71-86; Marshall Bowen, "Two Russian Molokan Agricultural Villages in the Intermountain West," Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers 68 (2006): 53-78.

(59) Jerry W. Abbitt and Shelly L. Schauberger, "Variety of Ethnic Groups Helped Develop Glendale," Arizona Republic, 12 June 1992.

(60) Sylvia Bender, "The Cultural Landscape of the Russian Molokan Colony--Glendale, Arizona," 1976, unpublished manuscript, Arizona Historical Foundation, 11.

(61) Wren, True Believers, 12.

(62) "Valley Sugar Beet Bust Recalled," Arizona Republic, 18 April 1963; Bender, "Cultural Landscape," 15; Hazel Tompkins, "Russian Immigration in the Salt River Valley," 1917, unpublished typescript, Arizona Historical Foundation, Arizona State University; Speek, A Stake in the Land, 30-31.

(63) Alex J. Valoff claimed that Tolmachev's wife, Mariia Filippovna Novikova, was Rudometkin's niece, and this family connection eventually made him the caretaker of the sacred writings. According to another Molokan genealogy, Aleksei Sergeevich Tolmachev's mother, Tat'iana Arkhipovna Sukovitsyna, was Maksim's niece (Fae Veronin, Molokans in Arizona [n.p., 1999], 32-33).

(64) Wren, True Believers, 15-16.

(65) Rudometkin, Utrenniaia zvezda; Young, Pilgrims, 279; Wren, True Believers, 15-16; Veronin, Molokans, 31-32. A separate edition of Rudometkin's writings was also published in 1915 under the title Kamen' Gorlion: Bogoslovskiia izrecheniia Maksima Gavrilovicha Rudometkina, Vozhdia Sionskogo Naroda Zakavkazskikh Dukhovnykh Khristian-Prygunov, ed. Ivan Gur'evich Samarin (Los Angeles: Dukh i zhizn', 1915).

(66) Wren, True Believers, 21. On the meaning and practice of zhertva among the Molokans, see Dingelshtedt, Zakavkazskie sektanty, 158-83.

(67) Wren, True Believers, 21.

(68) Ibid., 22-23. Some Molokan-Jumpers continued to pose for pictures, however, as many surviving photographs from the 1910s and 1920s show. S. V. Geiman, Tipy russkikh kolonistov v S. Sh.S.A.: Sektanty, fermera, rybaki, uglekopy, i dr.; albom fotograficheskikh snimkov (n.p., [191_?]), available from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery,;

Fae Papin Veronin, Molokans in Arizona (n.p., 1999); Veronin, Lukian and Fenya Conovaloff Family Tree (n.p., 2009), 7.

(69) Moore, Molokan Oral Tradition, 50. Mokhov was a person of considerable prestige who had petitioned the tsar to grant Molokans exemption from military service and later, in 1904, had through his prophecies encouraged his co-religionists to emigrate. George W. Mohoff, The Russian Colony of Guadalupe: Molokans in Mexico (Montebello, Calif.: George W. Mohoff, 1993), 3.

(70) The Glendale Molokans apparently did not receive this particular prohibition, for at his court-martial on November 21, 1918, Ivan Vasil'evich Kulikov (John Kulikoff) wore leather shoes and explained that the Holy Spirit "does not say anything about shoes. When he tells me to take off shoes, I will take the shoes off too." William Haas Moore, "Prisoners in the Promised Land: The Story of the Molokans in World War l" (master's thesis, Arizona State University, 1972), 72.

(71) Wren, True Believers, 25-27.

(72) Breyfogle, Heretics, 217-18. Mikhail Pivovarov admired the Dukhobors' radical pacifism, and the ritual burning of arms seems to be a conscious imitation of the 1895 protest on a much smaller scale. Ethel Dunn, "American Molokans and Canadian Dukhobors: Economic Position and Ethnic Identity," in Ethnicity in the Americas, ed. Frances S. Henry (Chicago: Aldine, 1976), 105.

(73) Wren, True Believers, 28.

(74) Uren's surname is also spelled lurin. "Slovo bozhestvennogo razuma," in Bozhestvennye izrecheniia nastavnikov i stradal'tsev za slovo bozhie, veru lisusa i dukh sviatoi religii dukhovnykh khristian molokan-prygunov, 3rd ed. (Los Angeles: Dukh i zhizn', 1947), 757; Kathy Popoff, "A Descriptive Study of the Russian Molokan Community of Glendale, Arizona" (bachelor's thesis, Arizona State University, 1971), 27.

(75) Wren, True Believers, 30.

(76) Ibid., 28-31; "Molokans Will Go to Jail Rather than Go to War," Arizona Gazette, 26 July 1917.

(77) Klibanov, Narodnaia sotsial'naia utopia, 2:140-210.

(78) Wren, True Believers, 32-39.

(79) Berokoff, Molokans in America, chap. 3; Deliara Ibragim-kyzy Ismail-zade, Russkoe krest'ianstvo v zakavkaz 'e, 30e gody XIX--nachalo XX v. (Moscow: Nauka, 1982), 295, 299.

(80) Moore, Molokan Oral Tradition, 22.

(81) Veronin, Molokans, 19.

(82) Edward M. Coffman, The War to End All Wars." The American Military Experience in Worm War I (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986), 27-29, 74-76.

(83) Wren, True Believers, 41.

(84) Ibid., 42-43.

(85) "Glendale Molokans Decline," Arizona Republican, 6 June 1917.

(86) "Will Swear Out Warrants for Molokanas in County: Russian Members of Religious Sect, Who Refused Yesterday to Register, Must Answer to the Law," Arizona Gazette, 6 June 1917.

(87) "Glendale Molokans Decline."

(88) James W. Byrkit, Forging the Copper Collar: Arizona's Labor-Management War of 1901-1921 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1982), 89-92; John S. Goff, George W. P. Hunt and His Arizona (Pasadena, Calif.: Socio Technical Publications, 1973), 95-97.

(89) "Molokanas Maintain Registering Is an Act of War on Their Part," Arizona Gazette, 7 June 1917; "Gives Molokanas One More Chance," Arizona Gazette, 8 June 1917.

(90) "Jail for the Anti-War Russians," Arizona Republican, 10 June 1917.

(91) "Molokanas in Jail Worship Fervently to the Annoyance of Other Prisoners," Arizona Gazette, 11 June 1917. Compare this to the positive reports when the Molokans first settled in Glendale in 1911: "Many Settlers on Their Way to Glendale," Arizona Gazette, 30 August 1911; "Russian Colonists Find in Salt River Valley an Ideal Place to Make Their Homes and Till the Soil," Arizona Gazette, 8 September 1911; "Arizona Satisfies Russian Colonists," Arizona Republican, 13 September 1911.

(92) "Fifty Slackers Will Face Court Here Tomorrow," Arizona Gazette, 30 July 1917.

(93) "Soldiers Rout Butte Rioters," New York Times, 5 June 1917, p. 1.

(94) "Jail for Anti-War Russians," Arizona Republican, 10 June 1917.

(95) "Trial of Molokanas for Slackering Goes on Today," Arizona Gazette, 7 August 1917.

(96) "Only Blessed Bread for a Holy Jumper," Prescott Journal Miner, 10 August 1917.

(97) Wren, True Believers, 89-90.

(98) Ibid., 100-101.

(99) "Russians Refusing All Food," Arizona Republican, 19 October 1917.

(100) Wren, True Believers, 104-5.

(101) Ibid., 105.

(102) Ibid.

(103) Walter Guest Kellogg, The Conscientious Objector (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1919), 48.

(104) Political Prisoners in Federal Military Prisons (New York: National Civil Liberties Bureau, 1918), 14.

(105) Moore, "Prisoners," 84; Wren, True Believers, 162-63.

Research for this article was supported by the Pew Evangelical Scholars Initiative, by seed grants from the Institute for Humanities Research and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University, and by the International Research and Exchanges Board with funds provided by the U.S. Department of State. 1 would like to express my appreciation to Andrew Conovaloff, who has generously shared his personal library and papers with me and who maintains an excellent website devoted to Molokan history (, and to the Monks of Hilandar Monastery and the Hilandar Research Library of Ohio State University. I alone am responsible for any errors of fact or interpretation in this article.

J. Eugene Clay is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Arizona State University.
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Author:Clay, J. Eugene
Publication:Church History
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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