Molokans [Russian: молокане; molokane]. A Russian religious sect formed in the 18th century in Tambov gubernia that later spread to other areas of the Russian Empire. Founded by S. Uklein, a former Doukhobor, the sect rejected a formal church, the ritual of worship, and the sacraments in favor of Bible readings and prayer meetings. Because of their pacifism, sect members frequently came into conflict with state authorities, and during the 19th century Molokan groups were exiled to Caucasia, Siberia, and the Volga and Amur regions. By the beginning of the 20th century there were approximately 1.2 million Molokans in the Russian Empire. Some of them settled in Southern Ukraine, most notably a subgroup known as the Jumpers (pryguny) because of their practice of jumping during religious services. An undetermined number of Molokans remain in Ukraine today (see Sects).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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