Spiritual Christianity

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Spiritual Christianity (Russian: духовное христианство) often referred to in Russian inaccurately as Molokans (one of the groups it includes) is a type of religious thought among the sectarianism (sektanstvo) outside Russian Orthodoxy with origins in ancient missionary activity of the Church of the East. Its adherents are called Spiritual Christians (Russian: духовные христиане) normally from the areas of the former Communist Block.

Spiritual Christians believe that the validity of an individual's observance of God's Law through spiritual substitute was suppressed and outlawed when Israel was politicized until Jesus Christ promoted the New Covenant of Jeremiah by sacrificing his life to initiate the Messianic Era. The religion of the Spiritual Christians is therefore anti-abrogation and anti-hierarchy for encouraging spiritual interpretation and logical substitute observance of Biblcal Law by rational individuals to be understood and respected by all. This has allowed Spiritual Christians to take a truly inclusive approach to Christianity and embrace all relevant aspects of the collective human experience which can be related to timeless Biblical themes.

Rejecting the official church, they considered their religious organization as a homogeneous community, without division into laymen and clergy with respect to all but practical understanding of the Biblical tradition. Ironically, some rigidly narrow interpretive modern Churches have developed with individuals who thrived under the flexibility and tolerance awarded them by Spiritual Christianity.

Traditionally, the following sects are considered "spiritual Christians": Molokans, Subbotniks, Doukhobors, Khlysts, Skoptsy, and Ikonobortsy (Icon-fighters, "Iconoclasts"). These sects often have radically different notions of "spirituality". Their common denominator is that they sought God in "Spirit and Truth", (Gospel of John 4:24) rather than in the Church of official Orthodoxy or ancient rites of Old Believers. Their saying was "The church is not within logs, but within ribs".[citation needed]


  • Berdyaev, Nikolai. Spiritual Christianity and Sectarianism in Russia (Духовное христианство и сектантство в России), "Russkaya Mysl" ("Русская мысль", "Russian Thought"), 1916.

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