Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“
[ocr errors]

the house of one of them, with the articles neces- ter; ferocious domestic despotism and the vices sary for a few months' stay; and when I was engendered by it, are constantly to be witnessed. going to leave I asked the landlady how to dis- The flow of the Malakani's life, on the contrary, pose of the furniture. How much do you want is so still and even that Europeans, accustomed for it?" asked she. I named the price for each to hurry and turmoil, can not imagine it. Work article. “I shall take them at those prices,” performed without haste, and yet steadily, and answered she, without any attempt at haggling. in willing coöperation with all the members of The second affair is still more characteristic. I the family; instruction of the children by their had lived five weeks with my host, Athanas parents, prayers, psalm-singing, colloquies on reGavrilevitch Orloff, the owner of the two flour- ligious subjects, reading of the Bible, and conmills mentioned above. Our agreement was that gregational assemblies, constitute the Malakani's I was to pay three rubles a week for board and whole existence. Their religious exercises, showlodging; it, however, happened that I was, by va- ing none of the enthusiasm and the self-conrious misunderstandings with my banker, nearly sciousness which appear to us essential to secwithout money, and had not paid Orloff anything tarian piety, are for them inexhaustible sources until my departure, and he knew that I had then of quiet enjoyment. only twenty-five rubles. In consequence of this The Malakan religion exceeds all other relisituation the following dialogue took place: gions in the want of established outward marks,

and is therefore not easy to describe. It certainThe evening before my departure I said, “Herely bears some trace of the sources from which it are twenty-five rubles, take fifteen and return me sprang—that is to say, of the influence of two ten."

older sects—the one originated by the teaching Ath. Gavr. “I have not time just now."

of English Quakers in Moscow, the other JudaizThereupon in the morning : 1. “Here are twenty-five rubles, take fifteen and ing. But since the foundation of Malakanism a

century has elapsed, and the remnants of those return me ten." Ath. Gavr, takes the money reluctantly, and, say

influences are now of small significance for its ing nothing, brings back eighteen rubles.

essence ; and, in comparing Malakanism with 1. “You have made a mistake ; here are eighteen other religions, we obtain little more than negarubles instead of ten."

tions. The Malakani abhor image-worship, have Ath. Gavr. No, don't you see, three rubles a no priests, no dogma, no sacraments, no symbols week I take from the corn-dealers, who give me

of faith, no consecrated forms of worship, no no end of trouble ; how could I take so much from sacred buildings, no peculiar dress and manner, you ?"

and do not imagine themselves to be inspired by

the Holy Ghost. Although their congregational The Malakani's family life moves in the same meetings mostly take place on Sundays and other patriarchal form as that of the other peasants. great church holidays, they do not scruple to Not only the unmarried children, but also the transact business on those days; and any day married sons and their sons and unmarried appears to them fit for congregational devotion. daughters are under the progenitor's roof and Even their Presbyterianism, very unlike that of rule. But while this organization is in other the Calvinists, scarcely deserves the name of a Russian peasant families a source of brutal constituted church government. For their eland capricious despotism, and of endless quar- ders are simply old men, well read in the Scriprels and heartburnings, it is in the Malakani's tures, who owe their authority to tacit consent, home ideally harmonious. Its principal traits not to election; and it is not easy to draw a line here are the zeal of the paterfamilias to fulfill where eldership begins. Mere negations can his duties with dignity and with equal justice not, however, give an idea of Malakanism; and and affection toward the whole household; his we must try to collect its positive traits. family's loving reverence for him; the high posi- Its outward form is the very extreme of plaintion of his wife; the total equality between The locality where the congregation asdaughters and sons—in spite of the harsh treat- sembles is, as a rule, one of the hall-like rooms; ment of the female sex under the Russian law but a smaller room, or a yard, or even a field, -and the absolutely free choice of partners in also answers the purpose. The service is dematrimony. The contrasts between the Mala- scribed in the following manner by a witness kani and the other peasants become still more who often saw it celebrated : striking when we enter into the details of their “In the large room where the assembly is daily lives. The delight of the other peasants going to take place a table is covered with a white is the squalid, tumultuous dram-shop; in their cloth, and upon it a number of Bibles and psalhomes, bestiality, noise, and filth; a coarse show ters are placed. When the presiding elder enters of opulence one day, and misery a few days af- the room all the others rise and salute him by

ness.

a

bending their heads; he also bends his head, riage, birth, and death-are, as I have already and all pray in silence. He then proceeds to his said, consecrated by congregational worship; seat, indicates the chapters of the prophets, the and the marriage ceremony, though absolutely Psalms, the New Testament, to be read; after colorless, is very impressive. The whole conthe reading he points out the Psalms or chapters gregation assembles in one of the vast yards, and intended to be sung; all then go nearer to the its representative on this occasion is the very table. The singing itself is melancholy, resem- oldest man, white-haired, trembling, and so all bling that of popular ballads. After the singing the more venerable. This service is very lengthy, there is again some reading, and then a prayer, and consists principally of prayers, composed of likewise composed of Bible verses. At the end Bible verses, which the elder reads, the congreof the prayer the whole congregation, led by the gation joining only in the amens and prostrations. elder, prostrate themselves. Some other prayers The burial service is less long, but else of a simiare performed kneeling.”

lar nature. My own experience of Malakani congrega- As regards the doctrines professed by the tional worship is slightly different from this de- Malakani, they can not properly be said to have scription, but agrees with its most prominent any other established faith than that the Bible is trait, the total absence of settled liturgical forms God's word, and ought therefore to be obeyed. and of an established order. No one knows be- The teaching derived by them from this axiom fore the beginning of the service what is going is not at all dogmatical, but merely practical, and to be read and sung. The presiding elder him- exclusively consists in the application of the comself chooses the texts during the service. Not mands of the gospel to the duties of every-day unfrequently several elders preside, and the choice life, an endeavor in which they have acquired a is made by consultation, or sometimes alternate- great proficiency, even their young people, girls ly by the one, sometimes by the other. Collo- especially, vying with each other in the quoting quial commentaries, principally by the elders, on of texts. The practical lessons thus deduced the passages which have been read, are not un- are well fitted to meet with the approval of the common. Most congregations have a few tradi- educated—whether religious or not-in Western tional prayers in prose, and some religious songs, Europe. Their treatment of what we call “the which are occasionally, according to the presid- rights of the female sex," is especially remarking elder's choice, employed in the service. More able. Such rights” they do not acknowledge, settled, and even approaching to a liturgical rit- because, as they instinctively feel, religion teaches ual, are the services for weddings, the reception only duties, not rights; and yet they manage to of the new-born, and burial. But the presiding assure to women as lofty a position as any enelder is here also at liberty to choose and alter as thusiast could desire. The matrimonial relations he deems appropriate. Family devotion is still are based upon the rule that “the husband ought more devoid of set rules. It is not usual in Mal- to love his wife as Christ loves his Church.” akan families to gather regularly for any purpose; This rule is not only accepted and applied throughand even the meals are about as uncertain and out private life, but is also the source of the juprolonged as breakfast in an English country ridical decisions of elders and congregations in mansion where there are many visitors. There questions of marriage law. The reason alleged are, therefore, no established usages for saying for granting equal advantages to daughters and grace, nor is there anything at all akin to Eng- sons is that “God commands us to love all our lish morning and evening family worship. All children alike, and that therefore to give a prefthe above-mentioned private religious exercises erence to sons would be sinful.” All the other are quite free, according to each member's own teachings are analogous to these. A superfi

, choice. Even fasts are kept in the same way. cial observer might, however, be misled into the They are self-imposed penances, and though, belief that, besides these practical lessons, there like the Jewish fasts, consisting in total absti- is in Malakanism, as in other religions, some fornence from food, often last several days. The mulated dogmatical creed. For there are scores only other remnant of Judaism in the congrega- of Malakan professions of faith, much more simtions I have here more specially in view is a per- ilar to each other than the creeds of the various emptory objection to pork. In some other con- branches of Calvinism. But all of them form gregations, however, the Saturday Sabbath is part of those enormously voluminous secret dockept exactly as in Jewish houses, and even minute uments of the Ministry of the Interior relating to details of Jewish Sabbath-customs are observed. the criminal prosecutions and police investigaSome congregations in the Caucasus even used, tions of sectarianism, some specimens of which, twenty years ago, to have certain Hebrew pray- stolen from the archives, were published by Kelers, and perhaps have them still.

sieff, one of Herzen's followers (4 vols., London, The three great events of family life-mar. Trübner & Co., 1860-1862). The Russian law considers sectarian propagandism as a crime, and own absolute incapacity to follow up a theologithe Malakani as sectarians of the most danger- cal argument. They drive their adversaries, ous kind; and thousands of reports and proto- themselves no very great lights—to despair by cols of criminal inquests into Malakanism, there- persistently misunderstanding them, and by over fore, exist in the head office and the branch and over again repeating the same texts. Malaoffices of the Ministry of the Interior, to whose kanism is an entirely practical and absolutely unfunctions those inquests, which were indeed dogmatical religion. It takes its foundation for more administrative than juridical, appertained granted, and makes no effort to investigate it. till not long ago. The inquisitors were of course All the Malakani can and do read; but, harobliged to ask the accused, “What is your faith?” ing no literature of their own except some manand the accused were obliged to answer. All uscript prayers and religious songs, they must these professions of faith are therefore, in fact, look elsewhere for intellectual food; and the answers to questions of men belonging to the choice made by them throws a curious light on orthodox Church, although their form does not their intellectual sphere, proving how completely always indicate it. E. g.:

they are cut off from the general movement. Be

sides Bibles and psalters in Slavonic—the same Priests and Bishops.—'We have a great high which are used in the orthodox Church-New priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son Testaments, and a few parts of the Old Testaof God, let us hold fast our profession? (Heb. iv. 14). ment in modern Russian, and still fewer com

Images. We have a priceless image, the Son of God, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the mentaries on the whole or part of the gospels, first-born of every creature' (Coloss. I. 15).

all of them likewise published by the orthodox Censer and Incense. -Our incense consists in Church, the Malakani read, as far as I was able prayers. “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as to discover, only four books—the “Magazine of incense' (Ps. cxli. 2)."

all the Amusements,” the “Writings of Skovo

roda,” “ Jung Stilling's Autobiography," and LiThe scarcely veiled meaning of the above and vanoff's “Essays on Russian Sects.” The latof a number of similar answers is, “ We do not ter author, though employed by the Government accept the rites and dogmas of the established to attack sectarianism, and having for that purChurch, because they are not in accordance with pose free access to the archives of the Ministry of the Bible.” Besides such negations there is in the Interior, extols the Malakani almost beyond these professions of faith a much more positive measure, and draws, with wonderful audacity, element; for instance:

ironical parallels between them and the adher

ents of the established Church. The “Magazine Baptism.—The soul's diving into God's word of all the Amusements " is a collection of astroand lo Communion.— The soul's partaking in the good apparently translated about fifty years ago from

logical, chiromantical, and other mantic tracts, word of God.

Confession.— The prayer addressed to Jesus that much older German publications. Skovoroda he may act as mediator for the forgiveness of sin."

was a Cossack, a quaint Christian philosopher

and poet of the last century. “Jung Stilling's Although these answers fully agree with the Autobiography” was translated into Russian in Malakani's convictions, we should be much mis- 1815, and was in high favor with the mystics of taken if we considered them as their intellectual St. Petersburg. It probably reached the Malaproperty. They are, indeed, nothing but the pet- kani from Sarepta, the Hernhut colony on the rified remnants of the doctrines of Duchobortsi river Volga; and an adversary of the Malakani (spiritual warriors), the older sect, from which asserts that they at one time prized that book Malakanism sprang.

That sect, which, as al- above the gospel. Malakan owners of books ready said, derived its origin from Quaker teach- certainly glory a little too much in the possession ing, is perhaps even more remarkable than the of these treasures, frequently mixing scraps from Malakani. Its principal abode, on the Molo- them with their conversation. For, though quite tchnaya River, in the Crimea, was visited in 1818 without spiritual pride, they are not free from a by the Quaker R. Allen and two other Quakers, naive, childlike vanity. and in 1842 by Baron Haxthausen ; and all these The Malakan congregational organization is, travelers were astonished by the Duchobortsi's according to their own opinion, the counterpart mystical speculations and the dialectical subtilty of the organization of the early Church, and the with which they defended them. The Malakani, resemblance is undeniable, because there is some on the contrary, are as far as possible from being similarity between the two situations. The Malagreat thinkers. They no doubt show some kani, long accustomed to be treated by the law adroitness in fencing with the orthodox clergy; as dangerous sectarians, and to be deprived of but their principal arm in such disputes is their many of the natural rights of unoffending men,

look upon the Emperor and the Governmented by twelve unconditionally devoted adherents, much as the early Christians did, scrupulously called the “angels of death,” who maintained obeying the authorities and laws, but obeying his authority by means of threats, blows, and them as strangers. They call the established even murder. Ukleïn, disgusted by Pobirochin's Church “Russian," and its adherents Rus- forbidding his followers to read the Bible, soon sians," just as if they themselves were foreign- fell out with him. In one of the congregational ers. Their congregational assemblies have for meetings he opposed his father-in-law so violentthat very reason a signification very similar to ly, that only the alarm raised by the housewife that which the “ ecclesia” had for the early saved him from the clutches of the “angels of Christians. We have already seen that mar- death." riages and births are consecrated by the congre- The teachings of the Duchobortsi, indepengation ; and these public acts have, in the eyes dently of Pobirochin's extravagances, are, as I of the Malakani, a not merely sacramental but have already pointed out, nearly akin to those of also a legal authority: nay, the Government the Quakers, and these same doctrines formed itself, having no other means to ascertain the the fundamental stock with which Ukleïn started status of Malakan families, accords—though not when founding his new sect. He, however, reopenly and distinctly—some weight to those acts. verted to the Bible, which had been somewhat All legal disputes between Malakani are brought set aside by the Duchobortsi in favor of their before the congregation ; and the elders are in inspirations and mystical speculations; and he, their jurisdiction guided by their notions of Bible moreover, became the associate in propagandism law; for the Bible is their only law-book, and of the head of a widespread Judaizing sect, rewhen they sit in judgment it is constantly in their ceiving them into his fold, and adopting some of hands. The congregational assembly also ad- their tenets, especially the objection to pork. It mits new members, exercises a disciplinary au- seems strange that the necessarily confused ideas thority, and receives confessions of sin. That arising from this mixture achieved a large and no regular contributions are raised, and that the rapid success. The fact is, that among the Ruselders are entirely unpaid, are other important sian lower classes there is a craving for spiritual points of resemblance between the church gov- food, because the established Church offers them ernment of the Malakani and that of the early nothing but forms, which, though full of beauty, Christians. The education of the young is not become mere idolatry in the hands of a drunken among the functions of the congregation; there and contemptible village clergy, performing the neither are, nor ever were, any Malakani schools, rites mechanically, and without even the pretense but the somewhat desultory instruction of the of an interest in them. The persecution of MaMalakani children is performed solely by their lakanism, on account of its close resemblance to relatives.

the “pernicious" Duchobortsi creed, also conMalakanism originated about a century ago, tributed mightily to its spread, which was, moreand its beginnings are fit to form the theme of a over, favored by the locality where the new sect stirring novel. Its founder, the village tailor originated. The province of Tambov borders Uklein, left his legitimate wife to marry the on the vast steppe region, stretching from the daughter and become one of the principal fol- confines of Asia across the river Volga, which is lowers of the village heresiarch Hilarion Pobi- in some of its southeastern and eastern districts rochin, a wealthy peasant in one of the villages still inhabited by Calmuck, Kirghiz, and Bashof the province of Tambov (to the southeast of kere nomads. The greatest part of that region Moscow). Pobirochin had, during a residence in had, in January, 1771, become nearly empty by Poland, been imbued by some of the mystics of the exodus of the Calmuck nation, which, justly that country with ideas belonging rather to India alarmed by the establishment of the German than to Europe. On his return to his native vil- colonies, fled into Asia, leaving only a few fraglage he placed himself at the head of the Du- ments on the right bank of the river, and entirely chobortsi of those parts, who, at that time, di- deserting the left bank—that is to say, the whole vided and uncertain in their doctrines, were, with wide space between the rivers Volga and Ural. the submissiveness of Russian peasants, disposed The Kirghiz afterward pressed forward into that to accept the commands of his despotic will. He space; but up to Uklein's time they had only taught that there is no God, save in the persons made some raids into it, ravaging some of the of the righteous; that when one of these dies German settlements, and driving the inhabitants another one is born into whom the deceased's and their herds and flocks to Asiatic markets. soul passes, while the souls of the lawless pass The German colonists, though by far the densest into the bodies of animals. Himself he consid- population of the region, numbered barely thirty ered as the incarnation of the Son of God. In thousand, spread over one thousand square miles. order to enforce these doctrines he was surround. The remaining parts of the population were some clusters of serfs surrounding their self-exiled symptoms of decay which are at present manimasters; the sparse descendants of the Astra- festing themselves. Kissing and spasmodic khan Tartars and of two Finnish tribes; some dancing have made their appearance in the com'Russians in Astrakhan and in the villages along mon worship of some congregations; some were, the two branches into which the Volga is here not long ago, under the paramount influence of divided; and the Volga Cossacks in widely dis- a prophet, according to trustworthy testimony a persed stanitzas and isolated farmyards. This runaway private soldier, born at Alexandroff region, little interfered with by the Government, Gai, who obtained large sums, married in Morwas the scene of Ukleïn's labors after he had mon fashion two young and handsome girls, and left his native province. In the then most com- at last perished in an attempt to cure himself pletely deserted parts, close to the frontier of from inebriety. These movements were and are Asia, Alexandroff Gai was founded, and received merely reactions against the indifferentism everyits Malakan settlers from Tambov, whence per- where setting in—the slackened interest in relisecution had driven them. Most of the above- gious affairs, the waning attendance at congregamentioned Malakan congregations had a similar tional devotion. The good treatment of humble origin; but Uklein had also considerable success dependents, though continued because it has among the Cossacks and the other peasants, both proved profitable, begins to be directed and free and serfs. The Crimea, Grusia, and Siberia, modified by calculation ; drink finds its way into likewise received crowds of Malakani, transported many Malakan homes; nay, there are confirmed there in order to prevent the infection of more drunkards in some of the most prominent and populous localities; and Malakanism, wherever most anciently renowned Malakan families. The thus planted, continued to propagate itself among concurrence of this decay with the Russian pubits neighbors.

lic's admiration of Malakan virtue and the GovBut why were Uklein's followers called Ma- ernment's kind interest in it, is by the Malakani lakani—a name evidently derived from moloko themselves admitted to be not accidental. The (milk)? To this question the Russians usually impetus and bitter relish imparted by persecution give the absurd answer, “Because the Malakani appear indeed to have been necessary for the do not, like the orthodox, abstain from milk on preservation of pure Malakanism, which is else the fast-days of the Church.” The fact is, that too pale and sober to satisfy even those born and the name Malakani was originally a popular brought up to it. nickname of the Duchobortsi,* most of them The fundamental principle of the laws and having, by order of the Government, been made regulations directed against sectarianism has to emigrate to the banks of the Molotchnaya outwardly remained nearly the same during the (Milk River) in the Crimea; and that the name whole century since Malakanism was founded ; afterward, apparently in the years 1812 to 1820, but in its application there have been very conshifted over to Uklein's sect, on which it fixed siderable variations, nearly corresponding with itself so firmly that its real origin is long forgot- the reigns to which they belong. There is, acten. It was, indeed, in the beginning of Uklein's cording to the Russian law, to be no constraint sect, almost impossible for outsiders to distin- upon the conscience; but every attempt to bring guish the new sect from the parent stock, espe- about apostasy from the established Church is cially as both loved to call themselves “ Spiritual to be severely punished. The first part of this Christians,” and as the professions of faith in principle was, in the early years of Malakanism, both were the same, or nearly the same.

nothing but a mockery; for every manifestation Between the two sects themselves there has, of sectarianism, its congregational worship more nevertheless, been not only no renewed connec- especially, was regarded as an attempt to convert tion, but, on the contrary, a continually increas- orthodox Christians; and the punishment was, in ing distance; nor have the Jewish influences been many cases, the extreme penalty of the Russian renewed, except on a few isolated spots whence law, the knout, followed by penal servitude in the they have not again extended. Thus, by the Siberian mines. The lighter punishments were gradual extinction of the traditions of the two compulsory military service, which then lasted parent sects, and the exclusive prevalence of more than twenty years; banishment into the practical deductions from the Bible, Malakanism fortresses, to Siberia, Grusia, the Crimea, and has developed itself into a homely Christian phi- other desert provinces ; mostly preceded by losophy, and has, as such, by its wonderful re- flogging with the “plet,” the short and thicklysults, earned universal, unqualified, and well-de- plaited horsewhip borrowed from the nomads. served praise. All the deeper is our regret to More terrible than these lighter punishments was observe the numerous and continually increasing the protracted preliminary inquest, the brutal

driving of the prisoners, heavily chained, over * See Livanoff's “Sectarians," vol. iii., p. 401. long, dreary distances, until they reached the in

« AnkstesnisTęsti »