Russia’s Spiritual Christians on Armenia’s Highlands
The village of Fioletovo in northern Armenia is one of a kind. Nestled among the mountains north of Lake Sevan, it is home to 1,500-odd Molokans, a Christian sect which split from Russia’s Orthodox Church in the 16th century. Its members, also known as Spiritual Christians, were persecuted under the Russian tsars and by the early 19th sought refuge in remote areas of the Caucasus and Central Asia.
In Fioletovo, Molokans, whose name stems from the Russian word for milk -the community restrains from consuming dairy during Christian feasts - have preserved all their traditions. Those are passed on from generation to generation and abide by the word of the God of decency, honesty, hard work, and unity.
Most of the villagers leave during the harsh winter and move to Russia to sell the pickled cabbage the community is well-known for return in spring when the agricultural activities start again.