Khlyst(redirected from Khlysts)
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a member of the religious sect of the Khlysty (“flagellators”). The sect emerged in Russia in the late 17th century among the peasants of the nonchernozem zones. The Kostroma peasant Daniil Filippovich is considered to be its founder.
The Khlysty refuse to acknowledge priests or the veneration of saints; they reject the Scriptures and church books, although they attend Orthodox churches. Their doctrine is based on the idea that man may come in direct contact with the Holy Spirit and that this Spirit may be incarnated in actual persons, who for the Khlysty then become Christs and Mothers of God. The preaching of asceticism is foremost in the ideology of the Khlysty. Their meetings are conducted in the form of radeniia (prayers accompanied by dancing); the participants reach a point of religious ecstasy.
In prerevolutionary Russia in the early 20th century there were approximately 40,000 members of the Khlysty; their number has sharply declined in the USSR. In the RSFSR (in the Tambov, Kuibyshev, and Orenburg oblasts and in the Northern Caucasus) and in the Ukrainian SSR there are small isolated communities of Khlysty, who lead a secluded life.