a group of “spiritual Christians” (dukhovnye khristiane), a religious sect in Russia.

The sect of the Molokans evolved in Tambov Province in the late 18th century and then spread to a number of other regions of Russia. Its founder is considered to be Semen Uklein, originally a member of the Dukhobors. The Molokans rejected the church, the church hierarchy, fasting, icons, and the Eastern Orthodox ritual of worship. Their prayer meetings were held in houses of prayer, and the sect was led by presbyter-elders. Biblical texts were sung at prayer meetings.

The Molokan movement was one of the forms taken by the peasant anticlerical movement. It arose in the atmosphere of the growing crisis of the feudal serfholding system. The forms of worship showed Baptist influences. Having challenged the official church, the Molokans were persecuted by the tsarist government. A process of social stratification among the Molokans and the emergence of a wealthy elite and its usurpation of authority within the sect led to the corruption of the sect; a number of its members joined the Baptists. In the early 20th century, there were 1.2 million Molokans. The sect began to disintegrate after the October Revolution of 1917. Only small groups of Molokans remain in the USSR—in Transcaucasia, the Ukraine, and a few places in the RSFSR (such as Stavropol’ Krai and Tambov Oblast).


Druzhinin, V. Molokane. [Leningrad] 1930.
Bonch-Bruevich, V. D. “Sektantstvo i staroobriadnichestvo v pervoi polovine XIX v.” Izbr. soch., vol. 1. Moscow, 1959.
Klibanov, A. I. Religioznoe sektantstvo i sovremennost’, Moscow, 1969.
Malakhova, I. A. Dukhovnye khristiane. Moscow, 1970.
References in periodicals archive ?
Instead, Geraldine Fagan introduces us to Russian Molokans, a homegrown form of Christianity.
To Molokans who have transferred to other Protestant denominations, the exchanges between Tolstoy and Zheltov about the Christian life might awaken a response.
80) This category protects members of an organized religion with a recognized record of objecting to the photograph requirement, such as the Amish, Molokans, and Hutterites.
The Dukhobors emphasized the indwelling spirit of God in each individual; the Molokans insisted on the authority of the written Bible.
By the late 1860s, a growing number of Molokans had begun to have doubts about the Molokan teaching that baptism and other sacraments were to be understood in a purely spiritual sense and to suggest that the physical ritual of water baptism was, in fact, essential to salvation.
Groups that constitute less than 5 percent of the population include Yezidis, an ethnic Kurd cultural group whose religion includes elements derived from Zoroastrianism, Islam, and animism; unspecified "charismatic" Christians; the Armenian Evangelical Church; Molokans, an ethnic Russian pacifist Christian group that split from the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th-century; Baptists; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons); Orthodox Christians; Seventh-day Adventists; Pentecostals; Jews; and Baha'is.
The Molokans derived their name from "moloko," the Russian word for "milk," because they proclaimed their teachings to be "pure spiritual milk" (and, contrary to the Orthodox, they drank milk during Lent).
These were not only Orthodox Russians, but also Armenians fleeing the Ottoman empire, and even Protestants like the Molokans.
Efseaff's family are Russian Molokans, who not only follow the New Testament of the Bible like most Christians but also all tenets of the Old Testament, as traditional Jews do.
The third contribution on a Russian theme comes from Margarita Mazo, whose tracing of developments in the liturgical music of the Molokan Christian sect both in Russia and among the expatriate Molokans in the USA is only very loosely connected with the themes of this volume.
These include the Jehovah's Witnesses,(2) some Mennonite groups,(3) the Jehovites, the Elijah Voice Society, the Church of God, the Amish, the Christadelphians, and the Molokans.