Armenia’s Molokan Christians

Molokan farmers plow their land in the village of Lermontovo. Members of the sect settled here in the 19th century, having been driven out of parts of Russia by the Orthodox Church.
Molokan farmers plow their land in the village of Lermontovo. Members of the sect settled here in the 19th century, having been driven out of parts of Russia by the Orthodox Church.
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Molokans are a Christian sect who split from the Russian Orthodox Church in the late 16th century. The sect’s name, derived from the Russian for milk, refers to their refusal to give up milk and meat on the fast days dictated by the Orthodox clergy. Because of their doctrinal differences, Molokan believers were exiled in the 19th century to remote regions of the Russian Empire, particularly Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine. Today, Molokans in Armenia continue to preserve their beliefs and cultural identity in small rural communities. (13 PHOTOS)

Molokan farmers plow their land in the village of Lermontovo. Members of the sect settled here in the 19th century, having been driven out of parts of Russia by the Orthodox Church.
Samovars are prepared for the funeral dinner.
Mourners wait to attend a memorial dinner following a funeral.
Molokans walk toward the cemetery to attend the funeral of a member of the community.
Molokan communities survive today in Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Smaller groups of immigrants have settled in the western United States.
A student practices her lessons at the village's high school.
Villagers arrive by bus to sell milk early in the morning.
A villager hangs clean linens.
Molokans describe themselves as "spiritual Christians." Members of the faith in tsarist Russia rejected the veneration of icons, as well as the tsar's divine right to rule.
Children watch as a farmer plows his field.
Molokan farmers plow their land in the village of Lermontovo. Members of the sect settled here in the 19th century, having been driven out of parts of Russia by the Orthodox Church.

 

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