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The Jumpers And The Holy Brother





The Jumpers, or _sopouny_, founded by one Petroff, considered it their
duty to blow upon one another during Divine Service. This arose from a
misinterpretation of the ninth verse of the fortieth psalm. It was
also their custom to pile benches one upon another and pray from the
top of them, until some hysterical female fell to the ground in a
religious paroxysm. One of those present would then lean over her and
act the scene of the resurrection. Petroff was a great admirer of King
David, and would sing his psalms to the accompaniment of dancing, like
the psalmist before the Ark. His successor, Roudometkin, reorganised
the Jumpers, and gave their performances a rhythmic basis. Foreseeing
the near advent of the Saviour, he caused himself to be crowned king of
the "spiritual Christians" in 1887, and married a "spiritual" wife,
though without discarding his "material" one. His successors all
called themselves "Kings of the spiritual Christians," but they had not
the authority of poor Roudometkin, who had been removed to prison in
Solovetzk.

We may class with the Jumpers the Holy Brothers, or _chalapouts_, who
believed in the indwelling presence of the Holy Ghost. They were
visionaries of a more exalted kind, and often attained to such a state
of religious enthusiasm that in their longing to enter heaven they
climbed to the roofs of houses and hurled themselves into space.





Next: The Little Gods

Previous: The Merchants Of Paradise



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