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Older Members Talk of Man Now in Russia as Predestined

[ Peter P. Verigin, 1930s, Unknown, UBC Special Collections 27-11 ]

Have Present Dlrectors or Five Brothers, Needed Stature

GRAND FORKS, B.C., Oct. 31.- Who will succeed Peter Verigin as head of the Doukhobors in Canada, or chief of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood, as they style themselves?

This is a universal question where ever the death of the Russian leader is discussed. It is being discussed freely, even among his followers.

Some speak of his death with in difference; they admit the strong prob ability of a break-up of the commu nity, but feel that this will not be a serious matter. This is among the younger generation just breaking into manhood. They are quite enamored with the possibilities of greater freedom.

Outstanding Personality Needed

Older members of the community, however, recognize the gravity of the situation, the essential need of some outstanding person to hold their people together, for even the astuteness of the late leader was severely taxed at times to avoid serious ruptures. He had a remarkable personality that commanded czar-like discipline.

It is not generally known that Verigin has four brothers in the British Columbia colonies. and one in Saskatchewan. When these were suggested along with several others of the more prominent directors of their society, as possible successors, one of the principals of the community here replied:

Look Outside Canada

"No. we have no person here or at Brilliant, or in Saskatchewan either, who will be able to hold the people together as did Mr. Verigin; he was a big man. and his followers loved him."

Urged to suggest a probable person on whom the mantle of leadership might, he declared:

"There is only one man; he is Mr. Verigin's son now living in Russia."

The speaker went on to explain that the Doukhobors believe their leaders possess divine right, and that when they die, this right is vested in their eldest son.

This opinion was found to be quite general among the older heads of the community, who were born in Russia, and who are already looking to the coming of the deceased leader's son as a natural sequence.

Source: "Will Verigins Son Succeed to Fallen Mantle?," Nelson Daily News, November 1, 1924.

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