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Russian Molokans

The name "Molokan" originates from the Russian word for milk (moloko) since the members of this group do not refrain from milk and other products during Orthodox fasts. It refers to those who suffered persecution from both the Russian Orthodox Church and the government for their non-traditional beliefs and practices.

Russian Molokans settled primarily in Los Angeles area and later in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Good labor skills were valued more than formal education. The Molokan community is characterized by isolation from the outside world, strong emphasis on agricultural work, and attendance of frequent religious services called sobraniye.


Romo, Richard. History of a Barrio: East Los Angeles. Austin: The University of Texas Press, 1983.

Young, Pauline. The Pilgrims of Russian-Town. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1932.

Links: A History of Molokans in Boyle Heights