Spiritual Christians in Turkey

After the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78), many Spiritual Christian faiths banned in Russia, were given land in Kars province, Turkey. About 1890 the Russian military draft became mandatory in Kars. In 1895 Doukhobors protested against the military and 1/3 of all Doukhobors left to Canada by 1900.

Five years later, by 1904, various non-Doukhobor sectarians who collectively called themselves a "Brotherhood of Spiritual Christians" tried to follow Dukhobortsy to Canada, but were diverted to Los Angeles by P. A. Demens.

Though the territory was greatly impacted by Russo-Turkish Wars, massacres and genocides, by 1915 no more than 1% of all Spiritual Christians in the Russian Empire moved to North America. The highest percentage probably came from Kars, which was the most unstable border area. Of the non-Doukhobors, about 2500, half of the 5000 predicted at the time a to migrate from Russia, actually left. Some villages in Kars may have lost 10% or more, higher percentages than from villages in other provinces in the Southern Caucasus. A plausible estimate is that 1000 non-Doukhobor Spiritual Christians moved from Kars Oblast.

In January 1919, the first parliament in Kars elected one deputy per 10,000 voters, 64 were elected — 60 Muslims, three Greeks, and one Molokan. (Caucasian Knot). This indicates the population of residual Spiritual Christians from Russia may have been as high as 10,000. Due to political ethnic cleansing, many residual Spiritual Christians moved to Russia in the mid-1920s (to Rostov steppes), and again in 1959-1962 (to Stavropol', with Turkey's Nekrasovtsy Old Believers). In the 1970s a few families were discovered in Kars and Istanbul by visiting American Dukh-i-zhizniki and sponsored to Southern California. Several families remain in Kars today.

In Turkish, Molokan is typically spelled "Malakan"and has been used to label all non-Orthodox people from Russia.

Help/donations needed to translate many of the following Turkish articles to English and Russian.

Spiritual Christians Around the World