Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/31

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Communication among the Russian Spirit-Wrestlers takes place when occasion offers, for example, when the brethren have to travel upon business; but, when necessary, special messengers are sent.

Their Mode of Life and Organisation

Apart from the question of the peculiarities of their religious faith, the Spirit- Wrestlers may be regarded as affording the model of well-organised family and social peasant life. In 1792, Kohovsky, the governor of Ekaterinoslaff, in his report to the higher authorities, said, amongst other things, that the Spirit- Wrestlers are of exemplarily good conduct, and, avoiding drunkenness and idleness, are continually occupied with the welfare of their homes, leading a moral life. They have always regularly paid the State taxes, and fulfilled their other social duties, often even to excess, as compared with the other peasants, owing to the oppression to which they are always subject from the local authorities.

But as soon as question is raised as to principles and actions of theirs which in any way touch their religious faith, there is immediately disclosed a complete difference from, and even opposition to, other peasantry.

The Spirit-Wrestlers never frequent the churches;