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Ukrainian Evangelicals and Russian Jews in Russian Revolutionary Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  which transformed the entire Molokan movement. During the 1820s-1830s, according to official calculations, there were more than 20,000 Subbotniki in European part of the Russian Empire. 4 The first Russian Subotniki introduced Sabbatarian (“Hebraic”) theology and practices to the evangelicals among Russian and Ukrainian peasants and elaborated rituals based on the Old Testament, which became an important component of popular Sabbatarian movement up to the twentieth century. 5 The most numerous sect among the first evangelicals in the Russian Empire was that of the Ukrainian Stundists, who later on became predecessors of different evangelical Christian churches in southern Russia, including Baptists (Stundo-Baptists), Adventists and Pentecostals. From the outset this sect was related to the religious awakening in the German and Mennonite colonies. In it the evangelical movement among the German colonists converged with the religious revival among Orthodox peasants and produced a movement that contemporaries referred to as Stundism. Contemporary authors and historians noted this as a remarkable moment in the popular evangelical movement’s development in the Russian Empire. 6 The German- speaking settlers brought Stundism to Russia as a part of Pietist movement. The word derived from the German “Stunde” (hours). At the beginning of the eighteenth century members of the German Pietist movement, followers of Philip Jacob Spener organized the meetings in their 4 Orthodox missionaries considered Sundukov, a peasant from a village of Dubovka in Saratov province, a founding father of “Subbotniki” sect in imperial Russia. See: N. N. Golitsyn, Istoria zakonodatel’stva o evreiakh (1649-1825) (St.Petersburg, 1886), Vol. 1, 642; T. I. Butkevich, Obzor russkikh sekt i ikh tolkov (Khar’kov, 1910), 368 -387, 393. See also: : Nicholas B. Breyfogle, Heretics and Colonizers: Forging Russia’s Empire in the South Caucasus (Ithaca, N.Y., 2005). 5 See: Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi federatsii (hereafter – GARF), f.109, 1 ekspeditsiia, op.40, d.21, part 2, l.40-41. In the 1860s the creed of the Russian Sabbatarians who followed Hebraic theology and practices included: “1. A complete belief in various acts of the Holy Spirit; 2. Non-admittance of sinful people to the meetings; 3. A public repentance in front of the whole meeting or the elected person; 4. A celebration not only of New Testament holidays, but Old Testament biblical holidays as well (Sabbath). Following the old Jewish tradition, they kept observance of three such days: September 1, Day of Labor (or Pipes); September 10, Day of Purification, and September 15, a celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. They celebrate both the Old Testament and New Testament holidays according to the lunar calendar rather then the general Christian one.” ibid., l.6-8ob. 6 The development of Stundism has been covered in detail by both Russian and Western historians. See: Heather Coleman, Russian Baptists and Spiritual Revolution, 1905-1929 (Bloomington, IN, 2005), and O.V. Beznosova (Kudinova), “Pozdnee protestantskoe sektantstvo Iuga Ukrainy (1850-1905)” (Ph.D. diss., Dniepropetrovsk University, 1998). 3

Authors: Zhuk, Sergei.
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which transformed the entire Molokan movement. During the 1820s-1830s, according to official
calculations, there were more than 20,000 Subbotniki in European part of the Russian Empire.
4
The first Russian Subotniki introduced Sabbatarian (“Hebraic”) theology and practices to the
evangelicals among Russian and Ukrainian peasants and elaborated rituals based on the Old
Testament, which became an important component of popular Sabbatarian movement up to the
twentieth century.
The most numerous sect among the first evangelicals in the Russian Empire was that of
the Ukrainian Stundists, who later on became predecessors of different evangelical Christian
churches in southern Russia, including Baptists (Stundo-Baptists), Adventists and Pentecostals.
From the outset this sect was related to the religious awakening in the German and Mennonite
colonies. In it the evangelical movement among the German colonists converged with the
religious revival among Orthodox peasants and produced a movement that contemporaries
referred to as Stundism. Contemporary authors and historians noted this as a remarkable moment
in the popular evangelical movement’s development in the Russian Empire.
The German-
speaking settlers brought Stundism to Russia as a part of Pietist movement. The word derived
from the German “Stunde” (hours). At the beginning of the eighteenth century members of the
German Pietist movement, followers of Philip Jacob Spener organized the meetings in their
4
Orthodox missionaries considered Sundukov, a peasant from a village of Dubovka in Saratov province, a founding
father of “Subbotniki” sect in imperial Russia. See: N. N. Golitsyn, Istoria zakonodatel’stva o evreiakh (1649-1825)
(St.Petersburg, 1886), Vol. 1, 642; T. I. Butkevich, Obzor russkikh sekt i ikh tolkov (Khar’kov, 1910), 368 -387,
393. See also: : Nicholas B. Breyfogle, Heretics and Colonizers: Forging Russia’s Empire in the South Caucasus
(Ithaca, N.Y., 2005).
5
See: Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi federatsii (hereafter – GARF), f.109, 1 ekspeditsiia, op.40, d.21, part 2,
l.40-41. In the 1860s the creed of the Russian Sabbatarians who followed Hebraic theology and practices included:
“1. A complete belief in various acts of the Holy Spirit; 2. Non-admittance of sinful people to the meetings; 3. A
public repentance in front of the whole meeting or the elected person; 4. A celebration not only of New Testament
holidays, but Old Testament biblical holidays as well (Sabbath). Following the old Jewish tradition, they kept
observance of three such days: September 1, Day of Labor (or Pipes); September 10, Day of Purification, and
September 15, a celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. They celebrate both the Old Testament and New Testament
holidays according to the lunar calendar rather then the general Christian one.” ibid., l.6-8ob.
6
The development of Stundism has been covered in detail by both Russian and Western historians. See: Heather
Coleman, Russian Baptists and Spiritual Revolution, 1905-1929 (Bloomington, IN, 2005), and O.V. Beznosova
(Kudinova), “Pozdnee protestantskoe sektantstvo Iuga Ukrainy (1850-1905)” (Ph.D. diss., Dniepropetrovsk
University, 1998).
3


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