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Test at Peter's Grave Is Overwhelmingly for Son From Russia


Before Dawn Thousands Thank Anastasia for Faithful Work

[ Doukhobors choose a new leader at meeting beside grave of Peter Verigin, Brilliant BC, Campbell Studios, UBC Special Collections 14-29 ]

Kneeling in the snow, pledging fealty to the son of Verigin, now on the way from Russia, and reported to be on Canadian soil, thousands of Dcukhobors, before the grave of the late Peter Verigin, on a rocky bluff above Brilliant, in the dead of the night, at 1 o'clock yesterday morning, sig- nified their desire that Peter Verigin Jr., should be the successor of his father in both spiritual leadership of the Doukhobor sect and the tem- poral leadership of the society.

All Kneel But a Few

Very few refrained from kneeling when the informal test, which, how- ever, means eventual election, was taken, among the number being said to be M.W. Cazakoff, the able Vice- President of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood, prominently mentioned for the succession, who is now in charge of its affairs; L.W. Verigin, in charge of the headquarters at Brilliant as secretary-treasurer; George Verigin, brother of the late leader; and Paul Planedin. Anastasia Holuboff or Verigin, niece of the late Doukhobor king, who was said to have been trained by her uncle for the spiritual leadership for 22 years, and now acting spiritual Ieader, was not present for the rite of remembrance, which is to last for three days.

Preceding the indication of the wishes of the majority, letters were read bearing of the views of the late leader in relation to his son.

Six Groups Chant

From 1 yesterday morning until 6, the concourse at the grave at Brilliant kept the rite of remembrance with chants by several groups, respect- ively comprising the Brilliant, Grand Forks, Glade and Crescent Valley colonies, the Svobodneke or "free people" from Grand Forks, and the Independents from the prairie.

The informal vote took place on the initiative of five chosen head men, Thomas Streloeff of Glade, Sam Veri- chagin of Brilliant, reported in Sas- katchewan dispatches as a candidate for the succession, Nick Vsorhokoff and George Debosoff of Grand Forks, and a man named Orakoff from Pass Creek.

Preaching and praying preceded and followed the test that showed the feel- ing toward young Verigin, and many hours' singing followed it.

Shortly before dawn the multitude returned to Brilliant to Peter's late house, where Anastasia was in seclu- sion, with drawn blinds, and despite her refusal to acknowledge the hon- ors, shouted out to her thanks for her many faithful years of service as Peter's housekeeper.

Educated Man

Peter Verigin Jr. or "Peter's Peter Lordly," the late leader name having been changed at death to Lordly, is a man of 41 years, born in Russia, and university educated. His mother Dunia Verigin, formerly Dunia Katelnikoff, aged 62, now in Russia. Peters son was in Canada for 6 months 10 or 12 years ago. He was supposed to have left Russia just before the death of Peter Verigin in the Farron coach explosion of October 29. A letter from a Toronto acquaintance of a Brilliant Doukhobor describes a con- versation with him a week ago. As he was embarking for the West.

Ten Thousand Doukhobors are now awaiting his appearance with eager- ness, and unless he has for some rea- son stopped in Saskatchewan, he should be here to participate in one or more of the remaining "days of re- membrance" for the late leader, as yesterdays morning's ceremonial is to be twice repeated.

A session is to be held in the meet- ing house today to discuss the busi- ness affairs of the community.

When the actual vote that will de- termine the successors will be taken is not yet clear.

Source: "Kneeling Doukhobors Pledge Young Verigin," Nelson Daily News, December 11, 1924.

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