The Subbotniki Information Exchange

The Sabbatarian Context

   NOTE: The views represented by the content of external links contained or referenced on this web site are not necessarily those of the web site coordinators but are included only to present the wide range of views surrounding the Subbotniki so that all this information can be viewed in context.
  NEW! item added  March 13, 2013
General Background Information on Sabbatarianism

The term Sabbatarian generally refers Christians who observe the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday rather than Sunday and/or those who follow of the Mosaic laws and traditions as a dominant part of the group's religious practices and observances. However, use of the term can be expanded to refer to non-Christian religious groups (including Jews) that follow similar tenants.

The Russian Subbotniki who emerged from a Christian background that are the focus of this web site most certainly fall within the broader categorization of Sabbatarians. However the Sabbatarian phenomenon is not unique to Russian sectarianism. The movement is quite prominent in Europe and America. Included here are Seventh Day Adventists, Seventh Day Baptists, various Churches of God among others.

This section of the Subbotniki Information Exchange web site is dedicated to exploring and understanding general information relating to Sabbatarianism in order to place the Subbotniki within this context.

To begin with, we can read some of the various on-line definitions of Sabbatarianism.  The definition on presents the more narrow Christian context while Wikipedia discusses the broader perspective.

The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia compares and contrasts Judaizers and Sabbatarians, Sabbatarianism within these two articles on its web site.

Another interesting perspective is provided on a web site on anonymous origin TheSabatarianNetwork (no affiliation with this web site) dedicated to the topic from the group's own perspective.

Although the term Sabbatarian may be found in material referenced in other sections of the Subbotniki Information Exchange web site, we have gathered here those articles where the general topic of Sabbatarians and Sabbatarianism is most dominant.

Material from General Sources

История соблюдающих субботу на Руси  History of Saturday Observers in Russia (Translation in-progress)
E. V. Zaitsev, Dean, Department of  Theology, Zaokskoi Spiritual Academy Means and Similarity,  No.2 (2), 1993, pages 44-50.

Sabbatarianismo (o sabatismo) e semisabbatarianismo (XVII secolo)  in Italian
Dizionario di eresie, eretici, dissidenti religiosi, confessioni cristiane non cattoliche, nuovi movimenti religiosi di ispirazione cristiana:

Material from Ambassador College & Worldwide Church of God

In Search of Thyatira
By Robert J. Thiel
“ with Sabbatarians from Eastern European countries including Romania and the Subbotniki from Ukraine, Russia, Tajikistan and Siberia...The Sabbatarians still exist, both in Transylvania and Transylvania three different groups of Sabbath-keepers....”

Church History, Notes-Lecture 22: “Lollards / Anabaptists / Sabbatarians

History of the Church of God (Out of the Shadows) 
Part 8 of an series that appeared in the Worldwide Church of God's monthly magazine The Plain Truth that was transcribed to the British-Israel Church of God web site which includes a section on The Sabbath in Central Europe with references to Judaizers and Subbotniki in a historical context.
"... We have shown in this series of the history of the Church of God, that there have always been  groups of scattered, often persecuted, Christians apart from the mainstream Church. ...

We have seen that Eastern Europe was the dwelling place of some of the secluded believers of the past. .... Our primary source of knowledge of these Christian Sabbath keepers is The Jewish Quarterly Review, July 1890 edition. An article by I. Abrahams and C.G. Montefiore discusses the part the seventh-day Sabbath plays in different religions..... Sabbath-keeping Christians spread as far north as Russia.

Here's what The Jewish Quarterly Review says about them: "As regards the Russian Sabbath-observers, the so-called Sobotniki or Subbotniki, we have to depend for an account of their origin and present condition, on a few extremely scanty notices."They belong to the Russian sect, Molokani or milk-drinkers, one of the various sects that arose, during the sixteenth century, in those provinces of Southern Russia which were at that time under the supremacy of the Polish crown, all of which sects displayed a Judaizing tendency.

"The Molokani, so runs the account given by a Russian chronicler, observed the Sabbath and had their children circumcised.... In the second half of the eighteenth century, their number in the first-named government had grown to 5,000 souls. By keeping their doctrines secret, they escaped persecution, till they were betrayed in 1769, and made to suffer oppression from the State" (pages 466-467) ...."
Sabbatarians Around the World

Hungary and Transylvania
The Sabbatarians of Hungary  NEW! added  March 13, 2013
by  W. Bacher, The Jewish Quarterly Review, July 1890

Researcher visits descendants of Transylvanian Sabbatarians
The Journal: News of the Churches of God, Issue 48

Spiritual Jews of Szekler Jerusalem:
A Four-Centuries History of Transylvanian Szekler (Székely) Sabbatarianism.
Research by Professor Dr. Judit Gellérd, Boston University, School of Theology — Fall 2000


This Russian link below is form a domain named which appears to deal with the history and current events of a Christian family with a Tambov origins - with many family photographs.

The Common History  rough English translation


  • Vinogradiv, Khusk (2,500) Trans-carpathia province

Subbotniki carrying out ‘good works’ in Transcarpathia (PDF)
Subbotniki carrying out ‘good works’ in Transcarpathia (HTML)
Article in 3 formats by Bonne A. Rook, writer from Netherlands.
Subbotniki in western Ukraine predated European Protestants and "...Sabbatarians in Germany ..are almost all related to the Subbotniki and Szombatosok in Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and other former Soviet republics,..." The Subbotnik pastor Vasili Polytschko from Vynogradow tells how they stopped vandalism and hate by converting their former police building into a soup-kitchen and religious school for neglected kids. 3 photos. Donations accepted for their ministry: "Light of Love". Map of Transcarpathia (find Vynohradiv, Khusk). Map covering eastern parts of Transcarpathia (Khust, Vynohradiv, ...)

United States

The Hunt Family of West Virginia

The Dutch Connection of the Pilgrim Fathers (No. 264)
Christian Churches of God Wooten, ACT  Australia (1998)

NOTE: The views represented by the content of external links contained or referenced on this web site are not necessarily those of the web site coordinators but are included only to present the wide range of views surrounding the Subbotniki so that all this information can be viewed in context.

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