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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Malakans

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or MILK-EATERS (Russian Molocani. i.e. those who, contrary to the rule of the Eastern Church, take milk on fast-days), is the name of a religious sect in the Russo-Greek Church. The name Malakans is a term of contempt applied to these religionists, and originated. as the word Shaker, Methodist, etc., among those who did not approve of the movement. They themselves like to be called Gospel-Men. They were first brought into notice by the zeal of a Prussian prisoner of war, about the middle of. last century. He settled in a village of southern Russia, and spent his life in explaining the Scriptures to the villagers, and in visiting from house to house. After his death they acknowledged him as the founder of their new religious belief. The Malakans acknowledge the Bible as the Word of God, and the Trinity of the Godhead. They admit the fall of Adam, and the resurrection of Christ. They teach that Adam's soul only, and not his body, was made after God's image. The Ten Commandments are received among them. Idolatry and the worship of images are forbidden. It is considered sinful to take an oath, and the observance of the Sabbath is strictly enjoined; so much so that, like many of the Oriental sects, they devote Saturday evening to preparation for the Sabbath. They are firm believers in the Millennium, and are improperly described as followers of the fanatic Terenti Beloreff, who was, in fact, a member of their body. He announced in 1833 the coming of the Lord within two years and a half. Many Malakans, in consequence, abandoned their callings, and waited the event in prayer and fasting. Beloreff persuaded himself that, like Elijah, he should ascend to heaven on a certain day in a chariot of fire. Thousands of the Milk-eaters came from all parts of Russia to witness this miracle. Beloreff appeared, majestically seated in a chariot, ordered the multitude to prostrate themselves, and then, opening his arms like an eagle spreading his wings, he leapt into the air, but, dropping down on the heads of the gaping multitude, was instantly seized and dragged off to prison as an imposter. He died soon after, no doubt in a state of insanity, declaring himself to be the prophet of God.

But many of the Malakans still believe in his divine mission. A considerable number of his followers afterwards emigrated to Georgia, and settled in sight of Mount Ararat, expecting the Millennium. They spend whole days and nights in prayer, and have all their goods in common. (See MILLENARIANS) in Russia. These milk-people deny the sanctity and use of fasts, holding that men who have to work require good food, to be eaten in moderation all the year round-no day stinted, no day in excess. They prefer to live by the laws of nature, asking and giving a reason for everything they do. They set their faces against monks and popes. In Russia they suffered sore persecution under the late emperor Nicholas. Sixteen thousand men and women were seized by the police, arranged in gangs, and driven with rods and thongs across the dreary steppes and yet more dreary mountain crests into the Caucasus. In that fearful day a great many of the Milkeaters fled across the Pruth into Turkey, where the Sultan gave them a village called Tulcha for their residence. The Methodist mission at that place, under the leadership of Mr. Flocken, labored among them for some time; at present, however (1872), the mission is discontinued. See Dixon, Free Russia, p. 138 sq.; Marsden, History of Christian Churches and Sects, 2:234; Le Raskol, Essai historique et critique sur les sectes riselqiuses de la Russe (Paris, 1854, 8vo). (See RUSSIA). (J. H. W.)


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Malakans'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/m/malakans.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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