Doukhobor women in a grassy meadow in Gorelovka, Georgia.

In Manitoba, Canada, the sight of Hutterites packed into a black van shopping at Value Village second hand shops is a common sight. They live on a communal farms, wear distinctive headcoverings and suspenders, and speak Low German. Canada also has its share of Dukhobors – another pacifist sect that broke away from Orthodoxy rather than Catholicism and Lutheranism, and were exiled to a relatively barren region in southern Georgia.

Check out this article on how Leo Tolstoy tried to save the pacifist Dukhobor villagers of Georgia, and sent over 7,000 to Saskatchewan, Canada.

After 300 years of tumultuous history, this remote strain of pacifists, who have called the mountain highlands of Georgia their home since Tsar Nicholas I exiled them in the 1840s, is about to disappear. A splinter from the Russian Orthodox Church, their way of life rests on the brink of extinction, as the few who remain either pass away or return to Russia, leaving their life in the mountains behind. Their numbers in Georgia today have dwindled to 500; here in Gorelovka, once their spiritual center, there are 145 left. Their ineluctable exodus north, to cities in modern Russia, could spell the end of an entire culture, something akin to what would happen if all the Amish slowly moved to Pittsburgh. Removed from their villages, they would be swallowed whole by the modern world.

Also check out this short video interviewing some Dukhobor villagers.

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