Artist: Mariam Amurvelashvili / Tbilisi – Georgia
Dukhobors in Georgia
The intention of this project is to represent the group of Dukhobors’ ethno-religious minority who were exiled from Russia to Javakheti region in 1841 and settled there as small communities.
It was a mystical religious sect that separated from the Russian Orthodox church in the
Traditionally, Dukhobors reject all types of religious and secular authority.
Hence, mankind does not need any intermediaries (priests) between themselves and God. Religious symbols such as churches, crosses, liturgics or icons are not necessary since they are constructed by mankind. God is an incomprehensible essence – an inner light – that exists in every individual who expresses love, and therefore, all human beings are by definition equal. Sin is not inherited in Dukhobor belief, and every person has to repent the sins he or she commits.
The subject of great interest is the way how Dukhobors follow their traditions. Social rules specific to Dukhobors are often taken into account. When it comes to funerals and weddings, their traditions seem to be strictly upheld. They are dressed in traditional clothes.
The origin of Dukhobor movement goes to provinces Tambov and Voronezh in Russia.
The first known leader of the movement was I.Poborikhin, who was then arrested and exiled to Cyberia. Dukhobors were persecuted both by the state and by the Orthodox church. In 1835-39 years special commission concluded that sectarians were destabilizing the foundation of Russia, as they denied the authority of religious and secular leaders by refusing to do military service and pay taxes.
. Consequently an ultimatum was given to sectarians: convert to Orthodoxy or leave for the newly conquered Caucasus region. Most of them decided to go into exile
In 1839-45 Dukhobors settled in the two Georgian regions of Javakheti(near Akhalkalaki) and Dmanisi(kvemo Kartli region). Settling in the Caucasus had some advantages for the Dukhobors and other sectarians: they were freed from religious persecution, got exempted from tax duties and military prescription. Nevertheless, the resettlement in Javakheti was difficult.. Thousands of Dukhobors died from starvation, epidemic and economic destitution. Survived founded eight villages – Bogdanovka, Gorelovka, Orlovka, Spasovka,Tambovka,Efremovka, Troitsovka and Rodionovka.
Dukhobors were strictly isolated in their boarders and these boarders were mental demarcation of their homeland “dukhoboria” not only for Dukhobors but also for their neighbours. Since 1989 partly because of ethno-religious and partly of socio-economic reasons ,Dukhobors began to leave for Russian Federation. But they couldn’t resettled there in compact communes, therefore it became difficult for them to preserve their identity.
Dukhobors are not numerous but very interesting ethno-religious minority in Georgia. The aim of my work is to show Dukhobors’ customs, religious services, traditional rituals,everyday life, those who still stay in Georgia, in Javakheti region, where they have lived for 150 years and managed to preserve their originality and identity.