RUSSIA: Johnists'

In muddy bleak Tiomne, near Uman, a church was crowded last week. Dingy communicants, bearded, bright-eyed, breathless, gazed in fascination at a plain wooden table which stood before the altar. A young man lay across the table. His throat was bared.

The churchgoers of Tiomne do not belong to Russia's Greek Orthodox Church. They are "Johnists," followers of John Kronstadsky, an obscure ecstatic whose chief tenet was that life is intolerable in this worst of all possible worlds, and that the coming of the Soviet was God's punishment for the sins of...

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