Maxim Rudometkin

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Maxim Gavrilovich Rudometkin (Максим Гаврилович Рудомёткин) (c. 1818 – 1877) was a presbyter of the sect of Molokan Spiritual Christian Pryguny (Russian: Прыгуны : Jumpers).

Early life[edit]

He was born in the village of Algasovo, Tambov Oblast, central Russia (c. 1818 – 1822).[1] At the age of 8, according to a letter written by him to his followers,[2] his family forsook the Russian Orthodox Church (c. 1826 – 1830) and joined a Protestant Russian sectarian movement, founded by Semeon M. Uklein, whose followers called themselves Molokan Spiritual Christians (Духовноe Христианe : Spiritual Christians).[3] At sometime during the years 1838 and 1842, the Rudometkin family moved to the South Caucasus during a period of massive resettlement of undesirable (non-Orthodox) heretics to the periphery of the Russian Empire where he played a major role in the founding of a new Molokan sect, named the Molokan Jumpers, which became official in 1856. [4] [5]

The Rudometkin family eventually settled in the village of Nikitino in 1842, [6] Erivan Governorate, renamed Fioletovo in 1936, where he along with his wife, Maria Feodorovna, raised 3 boys, Ermolai, Alexei and Vassya. He prophesied of the apocalypse often and as his status among the Molokan Jumpers grew, in which he was given the leadership role by L.P. Sokoloff. An eyewitness account reports the ceremony was performed by the laying on of hands by Sokoloff with a blessing of the Holy Spirit.[7]

General History[edit]

After his anointment by Sokoloff, Rudometkin then introduced through spiritual inspiration, a new form of worship which involved jumping and skipping like calves and lambs in the fields. This was done as a fulfillment of the prophecies of Sokoloff, who wrote that a time will come when the righteous will skip and jump like the calves and lambs of the field. These Molokan Jumpers only experienced a form of prophecy and raising of hands during their worship services. This form of worship took place during home meetings or when working in the fields. Rudometkin preached a high reliance on spiritual inspiration, when his adherents would feel the Spirit come upon them, they would leap and jump in the Spirit speaking in new tongues (glossolalia) and prophesy. Rudometkin was a charismatic individual who traveled from village to village, preaching of repentance and of the coming 1000 year kingdom of Christ upon earth, which is written of in the book of Revelation. On December 19, 1854, he was spiritually crowned by the community through their activity of the Holy Spirit to be called the "king of spirits" and "leader of the people of Zion".

After this "spiritual coronation", he then appointed two prophets and two prophetesses to represent him in spiritual matters in the community. The prophets were named Emelian Telegin and Fitis Nazaroff, the two prophetess's were named Stenya Kartashova and Varya Manuseeva.[8] Rudometkin frequently called his community the New Israel, jumpers and leapers and children of Zion. In the year 1855, this coronation was confirmed by a young boy prophet named Efim Gerasimovich Klubnikin, who at 12 years old, prophesied concerning the spiritual kingship of Rudometkin among the Jumpers. This spiritual preaching and activity reached its peak into 1858, in which, according to certain files, close to half of the Molokan Jumpers in Transcaucasia accepted and acknowledged Rudometkin as king of spirits and leader of Zion. On August 25 of 1858, his followers erected a large banner on the road into their village, declaring the end of the tsarist regime and the soon coming establishment of Christ's kingdom upon earth. This banner was seen by local authorities and also by the two grand dukes, Michael Nikolaevich and Nicholas Nicolaievich the elder, during a visit of theirs to the area. The banner was quickly removed by authorities and was later reported to higher officials that the followers of Rudometkin, due to his teachings, were beginning to pose a political and religious threat in the area against the authority-ship of the tsar and the official religion of his regime. Which was the state religion of Eastern Orthodoxy.

With this new information, the local authorities decided to go to the source and arrest Rudometkin on the following counts: Violation of government, violation of the general public, violation of citizenship, violation of family and violation of religion. Upon arrest they sent him to a prison in Alexandropol on September 12, 1858, and on October 29, 1858, the local governor requested the Holy Synod to send him to the Solovetsky Monastery correction facility. This request was granted on December 25, 1858 and in March 1859, he was then sentenced to walk in shackles from Tbilisi (Tiflis) (where he was later awaiting sentencing) to Solovki until he later reached the Solovetsky Monastery the following year on April 30, 1860. After sitting incarcerated for 9 years and 9 days, through the intercession of Count Dmitry Tolstoy the minister of Internal Affairs, Rudometkin was then transferred to a more humane monastery prison in Suzdal, Central Russia, the Monastery of Saint Euthymius (also: Spaso-Evfimiev Monastery). He arrived there on May 27, 1869. In this prison he sat for 8 more years until on May 13, 1877, according to monastery documents, died of a stroke, which was caused according to other documents by frequent beatings by the arch-priest in the correction facility. When this information was received by his congregants in Nikitino, they sent an elder of their church (Vassily Morozov) and Rudometkin's eldest son, Ermolai, to inquire further. On their arrival, they were not shown enough proof in their opinion to ascertain Rudometkins death. They said on their arrival back to their home village of Nikitino, that the guard told them that they seek the living amongst the dead. Many of Rudometkin's followers to this day believe that he never died and will return at the end of the age.

In Modern History[edit]

Before the Russian Revolution (1904–1912) a variety of Spiritual Christians fled to Los Angeles, some inspired by the prophecies of Rudometkin and by his boy prophet, Efim Gerasemovich Klubnikin. A variety of followers of Rudometkin survive to this day among independent congregations of the Spiritual Christian Molokan family of faiths, most located in the North Caucasus (primarily Stavropol krai), Armenia, Southern California with Fresno County, Oregon, and Australia. In the mid-1960s, a movement began in which a small portion of the most zealous faiths migrated to Australia.

Rudometkin, while he spent 19 years in monastic correction facilities, wrote many small booklets on tea paper about 4 × 3½ in size. These booklets were then smuggled out of the correctional facilities to his followers in Nikitina and to the surrounding villages. Before the migration to America, a Molokan Jumper prayer book was published in 1905, which contained some of the songs and prayers of Rudometkin, this is the first time any of his writings were put into a book form. Members of his family brought his booklets with them on their journey to America and held them in high regard and soon there after were put to print. These writings were firstly compiled in an incomplete form in a book titled the "Morning Star" by a group of his followers who were settled in Arizona in 1915 where a few of his descendants resided. At the same time, a prominent elder of the Spiritual Christian community, Ivan Gureyevich Samarin, also published a similar version of the Morning Star in his own work titled "Spirit and Life" in Los Angeles. Then as time went on, as more manuscripts were collected, a final complete edition was published and edited in 1928 by Ivan G. Samarin, who titled it, "Book of the Sun, Spirit and Life," (Книга Солнца, Дух и Жизнь) which is used in their church services to this day. Samarin also included in his book the writings of Sokoloff, the prophecies of Klubnikin, and another Molokan Jumper leader and elder, Feodor Osipovich Bulghakov, who called himself David Yesseyevich (David son of Jesse).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Samarin, Ivan (1928). Spirit and Life, Book of the Sun (5th ed.). p. 50. 
  2. ^ Samarin, Ivan (1928). Spirit and Life, Book of the Sun (5th ed.). p. 467. 
  3. ^ Klibanov, Aleksandr Ilich (June 1982). History of Religious Sectarianism in Russia, 1860'S-1917. Pergamon Press. ISBN 978-0080267944. 
  4. ^ Prohoroff, William (1978). Maxcim Gavrilovich Rudomëtkin "King of Spirits". Sacramento, CA. p. 287. 
  5. ^ Conovaloff, Andrei. "Taxonomy of 3 Spiritual Christian groups: Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki — books, fellowship, holidays, prophets and songs.". Spiritual Christians Around the World. Retrieved January 15, 2017. 
  6. ^ Dolzhenko, I.V. (XIX-nachalo XX vv.),” in Dukhobortsy i molokane v zakavkaz’e, 13–14; idem, “Pervye russkie pereselentsy v Armenii (30–50-e gody XIX v.)” Vestnik Moskovskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, seriia 8: Istoriia, no. 5 (1974): 59. 
  7. ^ Prohoroff, William (1978). Maxcim Gavrilovich Rudomëtkin "King of Spirits". Sacramento, CA. pp. 275–279. 
  8. ^ Dingel-shted, Nikolai. Zakavkaskie Sektanty. Saint Petersburg. p. 61.