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IntroductionExplore the Communities

Section title: Doukhobor
Introduction |  History |  Daily Life |  Culture |  References



The Doukhobors spoke Russian when they first came to Canada.


The Doukhobors' beliefs were recorded in religious songs, called psalms. In this way, parents passed Doukhobor teachings to their children. These were rules that guided each person to live a good life. Doukhobors believed that it was wrong to kill, even to kill animals. They refused to fight in wars and most did not eat meat.

On Sunday mornings, the Doukhobors met to worship together. "Molenye," as the worship was called, involved praying, reciting and singing psalms and hymns. Afterwards they would have a community meeting where friends and neighbours could get together to talk and socialize. They would also get together at other special events such as weddings, funerals, Easter, Christmas, New Years and special days to remember important events in their history. At all gatherings and major events there was a table displaying bread, salt and water. These three items represent the elements necessary to sustain life. Bread is the staff of life, salt the essence of life and water the spirit of life.

There were specific rules for children, written by Peter Verigin, the community's spiritual leader. These rules were followed from around 1910 to 1920 and children learned them by heart.


The early Doukhobors loved to sing. Along with their religious songs and hymns, they sang folksongs and songs that told of their history and beliefs. They sang while they worked, when they relaxed, at worship and at community events.


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