February 13, 2001

Doukhobors of Russia


Doukhobors of Russia

The Doukhobors did not have worship services or masses as is part of other Christian faith traditions. The center of their religious expression was the gathering or sobraniye. At the gathering, the Doukhobors would come together, sit around a table laden with food and recite or sing passages from the Book of Life. This was a collected oral tradition of hymns and proverbs. Little material symbolism was present in Doukhobor religion, however, bread, salt and water represented the faith and kindness of the Doukhobors.

Doukhobors spiritual dogma is based on the Law of God. This canon is made up of two elements.

  1. Recognize and love God, God's power and role as the only Creator
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

God was defined as word, spirit and love. The soul is that part of each person which reflects the Spirit of God. Where love prevails, God lives. Doukhobors see Christ as a human figure whose Spirit prevails and lives in all who live, not just preach, His teachings. The purpose of Christ's human life was to show that the meaning of all human life was/is a fulfillment of God's Law. Again, God's Law is only achieved/obeyed via love. Thus, hate, war, violence of any kind, etc., is taboo.

In brief, the Doukhobors believe in the following:

  1. They reject all forms of ordained clergy
  2. There is no liturgy or veneration of symbols
  3. No fasting
  4. Marriage is not subject to laws of church or state
  5. Reject Bible as central source of inspiration
  6. No Baptism
  7. Man is redeemed through his/her individual inspiration
  8. Christ did not, literally, rise from the dead
  9. Heaven/Hell are states of mind and conditions on earth
  10. Each person is lead by the Divine Presence in others

Doukhobors believe, without hesitation or doubt, that the Spirit of God dwells in all human beings. Once this is understood, one assumes the responsibility to care for all of God's Creation. All elements of this Creation are spiritually intertwined. Each person's actions and deeds are governed by God's Spirit and Voice from within. This Voice enables the Doukhbor to:

  1. Develop conscious understanding
  2. Use one's ability to reason
  3. Use one's will to take action based on understanding and reasoning.

This is the Doukhobor's understanding of the Trinity.

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