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Molokans in Armenia

September 15 2007 at 8:29 PM
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Molokans in Armenia

Filed under: Society — Posted by Onnik on May 24th

Fioletovo, Lori Region, Armenia © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia

As part of work on contract to UNICEF, I visited Arzni and Fioletovo today to research an article on education for national minorities in Armenia. While I’ve spent a lot of time with the Yezidi and Assyrian communities here, the latter of which is especially fascinating (but I’ll leave that for another time), this was only the second time that I’ve visited the Molokans living in Fioletovo.

The Molokans are a Russian sect, often known as the “old believers,” who left Russia for the Southern Caucasus in 1830 although their origins can be traced back to the 16th century. Often considered the Russian equivalent of the Amish, the Molokans are a closed and very strict community.

Many Molokans don’t like their photos taken, for example, and although my last visit to Fioletovo was surprisingly easy, this time was unexpectedly difficult. Today, the impression really was that they are not used to “outsiders” visiting and to make things doubly hard, the children don’t know Armenian — only Russian.

Nonetheless, the Molokans are stereotyped as hard working and there’s no doubt that they have struggled to keep their village very pleasant and clean compared to many Armenian villages that have given up in the face of adversity and limited funds from the community, regional and state budget. Of course, many have left but even in my neighborhood in Yerevan there is still a sizeable community.

Anyway, until the article is ready, just to say that it’s quite a pleasant albeit very bizarre experience to be in a village in Armenia where most of the children are fiercely blonde, blue-eyed and can only speak Russian. Certainly worth a visit.

14 Comments »

  1. A guy that I went to college with was a molokan specialist. I have a lot of info about them if you’re ever interested Onnik.

    Comment by Katy — 5/24/2005 @ 11:47 pm

  2. PS, Molokans are a special sect of Old Believers.

    Comment by Katy — 5/24/2005 @ 11:48 pm

  3. Yeah, sure, I’m interested.

    Comment by Onnik — 5/24/2005 @ 11:55 pm

  4. Oh goodness, I know I’m messing this up, but I did a post way back on Subbotniki and Molokans. I mention in there that some of the Old Believer community in Oregon.* The part I’m screwing up is about the email I got afterwards from a gentleman from the Southern California community of either Subbotniki or Molokans (can’t for the life of me remember which).

    Anyway, here is a collection of recordings and pictures from the San Francisco Molokan community circa 1938.

    *One of my college roommates was from the town, Woodburn, they lived near. Odd place. If Mexico and Canada bordered each other, downtown Woodburn is what one of the bordertowns would look like.

    Comment by Nathan — 5/25/2005 @ 6:06 am

  5. “Russia’s Amish” in Armenia

    Omnik has just been to visit some Molokan’s in Armenia:The Molokans are a Russian sect, often known as the “old believers,” who left Russia for the Southern Caucasus in 1830 although their origins can be traced back to the 16th

    Trackback by SiberianLight — 5/25/2005 @ 6:16 pm

  6. The older Molokans will avoid having their pictures taken. Once there were a young and an old man on a horse driven carriage. When they saw that I was going to take a picture, the old man turned away while the young man didn’t care.

    Comment by Nazarian — 5/25/2005 @ 10:28 pm

  7. Point taken about the Molokans but surprisingly, I found the situation the same for children and adults. What was different was that it appeared that some Molokans are very tradition while the others aren’t. Some children ran and hid in one part of the village while in the other, they didn’t. Same with the adults, even the women.

    That was the first visit, however. The second was almost impossible. Only 6 photos taken whereas before I took ten or even more times that amount, including in some homes.

    Comment by Onnik Krikorian — 5/25/2005 @ 11:57 pm

  8. There are two sects among the Molokans in Lori. One of the sects is more open to change - they are almost like conservative Christians with their willingness to change.

    The other sect is more traditional and try to avoid change.

    You probably encountered the people belonging to the latter on your second visit.

    Comment by Nazarian — 5/26/2005 @ 12:08 am

  9. No doubt and very interesting to note that this division exists within the same village. What you just wrote is really the impression I got on the first visit but on the second, I was just amazed.

    Comment by Onnik — 5/26/2005 @ 12:39 am

  10. The Molokans in Armenia you state are called Old Believers.I’m a Molokan living in Califirnia, USA.I also happened to have lived in Woodburn Oregon when the first Old Believers immigrated in the 1950’s.
    Old Believers and the molokans beliefs and ways of worship are drastically different. The Old Believers in Oregon that you mentioned are of the old Orthodox Russian worship. Which includes Ikons, Idols, tapestrys, insence and high steeples on their Churchs. I speak of the Old Believers in Oregon from personal knowlegde. As a boy I worked side by side with many of the Old Believers. We as,Molokans broke away from the Russian Orthodox Church many years ago. It is curious that the Molokans in Armenia are called Old Believers.

     


 
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(Login robertDepelteau)

Re: Molokans in Armenia

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September 16 2007, 5:29 AM 

Like all christians, they are forced into monogamy by those who pervert the law of God.

Christians must separate themselves from the monogamists, they are not christians as monogamy is not the law of God, and those who enforce this perversion on us are destroying our progeny.


 
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Antranik
(Login JusticeWarrior)

A lot of ignorance in that post

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September 17 2007, 3:17 AM 

The Molokans were kicked out of Russia in the 17th Century because they were Judaizers and they do not resemble the Amish, but the Jehovah's Witnesses in that they do not believe that Jesus Christ is God and they do not worship the Trinity. Now MongolSlob, if you are trying to hold the Molokans up as some kind of admirable example for leaving the Russian Orthodox Church, know that they also reject Christianity entirely and are more like a cult of Russian Jews.

Now the main divisions of Molokans are not "Molokans" and "Old Believers" but "Jumpers and Leapers" (Maximisti) who are like charismatic holy rollers and the more traditional type which are called "Postoiannye" (Constant or Steadfast, i.e., unchanged or original). In Armenia the main type is the Maximisti and in fact we have in our software development company a Molokan woman and her 2 daughters who work here as evening janitors, and they tell me they are of the jumpers and leapers branch, as are most of the Molokans in Armenia. And furthermore, they all speak fluent Armenian.

 
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(Login MACHOSLAV)

Soooooo . ..

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September 21 2007, 9:09 AM 

"in fact we have in our software development company a Molokan woman and her 2 daughters who work here as evening janitors, and they tell me they are of the jumpers and leapers branch, as are most of the Molokans in Armenia. And furthermore, they all speak fluent Armenian."

I was pointing out diversity in Armenia. You have made an issue of ones who are janitors.

I used to be a jumper and a leaper when I played basketball.

 
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Antranik
(Login JusticeWarrior)

Basketball??!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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September 24 2007, 4:04 AM 

The only jumping and leaping you are capable of doing, fatass Mongolslob, is into your bed, which probably has broken legs already from the first time you jumped into it.

Better not try any basketball, MongolSlob, or else ya might get a heart attack from all those cholesterol-clogged arteries. Ya might also stop eating all those shovelfuls of grease-burgers, fries and potato chips.

 
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MACHOSLAV
(Login MACHOSLAV)

Well . . ..

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September 24 2007, 5:47 AM 

Pickled Pork Knuckles have become scarce so I have been forced to cut back. The good news is that Arby's Lean Roast Beef is very low in cholesterol . So you're still consuming those greasy burgers ?


 
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