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Community and Independent Doukhobors Join in the Funeral


Divinity Claimed for Dead Leader, Whose Name Is Now "Lordly"

[ Verigin's funeral procession moves to his burial site above Brilliant, Unknown, UBC Special Collections 14-32 ]

With great banners preceding the coffin, with bright flowers and small evergreen trees held aloft by young Doukhobor girls and boys, with solemn chanting and quiet weeping, Peter Wasilevich Verigin, now to be known as Peter Lordly, was carried to his grave on a hill overlooking the great natural amphitheater that holds the headquarters of his people at Brilliant, in the presence of over 7,000 people, yesterday.

Since his body had been brought home from Grand Forks, following the explosion in the Kettle Valley which ended his life last Wednesday morning, it had lain in state in his house near the railway station at Brilliant.

From early morning to nearly 1 o'clock the members of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood, limited, were drawn up in orderly groups in the square outside the house in which lay the body of their leader, while thousands of others, including independents, formed a great crowd. Each one of the six groups, which represented a Doukhobor "village" or community building housing from 50 to 60 people, sang its own songs of mourning for Peter Verigin.

To the left of the house stood a large group of young girls in their brightest shawls and headkerchiefs, holding aloft, hour after hour, stiff bouquets of gay autumn flowers, while they sang their slow, solemn chants. To their left again stood the young boys, holding small evergreen trees, some of them with one gay flower tied to a bough, high above their heads. On the verandah were grouped the relatives and closest friends, also chanting slowly.

The slow, measured cadences of the different songs blended in the open air into one great minor harmony, that swelled in volume and sank again like a great organ or the notes of a Gregorian chant.

Many From Nelson, Trail, Rossland

From noon on, for over an hour, the 750 people who had gone to Brilliant from Nelson, Trail and Rossland to attend the funeral went in a slow procession through the house of death, on the invitation of the Doukhobor leaders, to catch their final glimpse of the late Doukhobor president and spiritual head, while the groups outside kept up their steady chanting.

In the meantime two great banners, one with a Russian and one with an English inscription, in gold lettering on blue ground were brought to the front of the house. Each was held aloft on long, slender poles wound with green ribbons, one pair of which was topped with small sheaves of wheat. On each was painted a white dove, with the lettering "The Emblem of Peace" beneath. Under this again, in large letters, were the words "Toil and Peaceful Life. Peter Lordly (Verigin)."

When the coffin was finally carried from the house, a great wailing broke forth from both men and women, who again and again bowed down, touching their foreheads to the ground.

Then Annastasia Verigin, a niece of the dead man, recited a psalm in Russian from the steps of the house.

Larion Verigin, nephew of the dead leader, then read the following biography of Peter:

Peter as Christ-Savior

"Peter Lordly was born in the holy spirit and descended to us as Christ-Savior from Heavenly Father for salvation of our souls. He possessed in the beginning of his life as lamb of God, meekness and kindness. He relied during his life upon the will of Almighty Father. The Heavenly Father had been always with him. He never feared any human race enemies, and was calling all the people to peaceful life and brotherhood, as children of one Father, God.

"He considered absolutely impossible to kill people under any pre- tense of czar's or king's laws. Moreover, the military service had been always rejected by all strength of his intellectuality, so that there will be no more wars in human beings. Therefore, in order to put an end to fratricide wars of all the people, he offered to the Doukhobors to burn guns-firearms at Cowkas in the year of 1895, on the day of Peter and Paul, holy apostles, so that all people should occupy themselves with honest labor, agriculture and peaceful life. His last will was to affirm forever lawful Doukhobor community faithon these two commandments, toil and peaceful life.

"Peter Wasilevich Lordly had been trying to lead a moral, noble, sober life in all respects in the Doukhobor community. He wakefully endeavored to advise his people to arrange their life on the Christianity—and not to raise up horn of untruth from Cain on all subjects of worldly temptations.

Taugh Vegetarianism

"He had erected dwelling houses with good dining rooms for vegetarian substance in a practical way as best architecture could for the Doukhobors, because we all Doukhobors do not kill animals for food purposes, and we do not comply with military service. This is in order not to violate the testament of Christ, which creed as God's law has been fulfilled by Peter Lordly, our great leader. We are going to keep up the holy rule of Peter Lordly through our life, about whom we today are weeping with tears and hearty sorrowfulness of unexpected death that happened on train accident which caused us to be without dearly loved leader, Peter Lordly, who cannot be replaced to us and the rest of humanity.

"He had suffered 15 years from Russian government which kept him in exile severe frosts on farthest shore of Arctic ocean in Kola, in province of Archangel, and Obdorsk, province of Tobolsk. But the spirit of courage have outlived all misfortunes under severe observance of police, and as a great shepherd he has not left us. He came to us in the year of 1902, and opened to us his superior holy mind. which assembled us and our descendants into the "Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood life. Blessed be his name forever. He brotherly stretched forth his hand to us in the Christ's name, so as to establish God's kingdom on the earth for salvation of our souls.

"God rest our dear benefactor's soul. Peter Lordly. Let our faith multiply in his holy mission, and be peace on earth, and good will toward men enlightened.

"Glory to our God. "THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY OF UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD." Then Edward Graf of Eugene, Oregon, spoke of the royal honor paid the dead man and the community by the great concourse of visitors pres- ent, an honor paid by the Anglo- Saxons to the Slavs. Following this, to the sound of solemn chanting, the coffin, headed by the banners and surrounded by those bearing flowers and evergreens, was carried up the road, which was lined with Doukhobors for half a mile. As the coffin, borne by a dozen willing hands, passed them, they fell in behind it, for the two mile walk up the hill to the spot chosen for burial. On the way it was carried by men and women both, all being anxious for the honor.

While the procession made its way slowly along the hill side, thousands of people spread over the rocky heights surrounding the grave, which is on a smaller knoll on the brink of the mountain overlooking the Doukhobor orchards and villages in the Columbia valley.

Bright Colors Again

Conspicuous were the bright colors worn by all but a few of the older women, in striking contrast to the almost universal black, white and grey shawls, worn by those waiting at Brilliant for confirmation of his death on Thursday.

After 3 o'clock the procession with the open coffin, after being nearly three hours on the journey, reached the brow of the hill overlooking the grave, and came slowly down the road between the rocky banks between the ranks of people. The chanting and wailing grew in volume as it came, and then a dead silence fell as the grave, 10 by 10 feet, and 10 feet deep, lined with brightly colored cloth, was reached. At its head stood a table on which were the bread, the water and the salt, always found laid out in a Doukhobor house.

Psalms Recited by Relatives

During the ceremony that followed, psalms were recited by Anastasia Verigin, Barbara Verigin, the late leader's sister, and his brothers' wives.

Then the lid was placed on the coffin, and it was lowered into the grave. The great outer cover of wood was placed on top of the tomb as dusk came on.

Max Baskin of Nelson, gave an address extolling the greatness of Verigin, saying "he has died but his work will never die. He will live on in your hearts and in your deeds."

Finally, after 6 o'clock two watchers were chosen from over a thousand eager for the privilege of spending the night as guardians of the tomb, and the great crowd left the hilltop, with its square of electric lights high in the air to mark the last resting place.

On the road and at the grave, the Doukhobors had numerous photographs taken for their records.

The special train which left Nelson yesterday morning at 10:30 carried 254 people to Brilliant, while it is estimated over 800 went down by car. Between 15 and 20 cars came up from Trail and Rossland for the funeral.

Flowers were received from the following: Mr. James D. McGregor and family, Brandon, Man.; Mr. Rulph Shneelock, Portland, Ore.; Mr. M.W. Cazakoff and family, Verigin, Sask.; Mr. L.B. deVeber, Nelson, B.C.; Mr. L.W. Verigin and family, Brilliant, B.C.: Mr. A.J. Perkins, Eugene, Ore.; Mr. Max Baskin. Nelson, B.C.: Mr. C.F. McHardy and family, Nelson, B.C.: Mr. Edwards Graf and family, Manro, Ore.; Mr. J.P. Shukin and family, Porto Rico, B.C.; Mrs. Max Baskin, Nelson. B.C.; Mr. J.F. Masloff and family, Brilliant, B.C.; Dr. and Mrs. H.B. Morrison, Nelson, B.C.; Mr. P.J. Verigin, Verigin, Sask.; Mr. W.W. Lazareff, Trail, B.C.; Mr. W.C.E. Koch, Nelson, B.C.; Mr. P.N. Potapoff and family, Cowley, Alta.: Mr. S.W. Koochin, Grand Forks, B.C.; Mr. Alfred A. Taylor, Eugene, Ore.; Mr. and Mrs. Louis D. Kerr, Nelson, B.C.: Howe Electric company. Nelson, B.C. Annastasia Verigin, many flowers: and many others too numerous to mention.

Wires were received from the following parties: Mr. W.M. Cazakoff, Verigin, Sask.; Rt. Hon. W.L. MacKenzie King. Ottawa. Canada; Mr. W. Horsfield, Yorkton, Sask.; Mr. W.K. Ramsey, Verigin., Sask.; Prince and Prin-cess Obolensky, New York, N.Y.; Mr. J.A.M. Patrick, Yorkton, Sask.; Mr. P. Chernoff. Wadena, Sask.; Prokofy F. Verigin, Canora, Sask.; Koozma Tarasoff, Langham, Sask.; Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Riblet, Holly wood, Cal.; James D. McGregor, Brandon, Man.; Mr. Edward Graf. Portland, Ore.; J. Kooznetsoff, Saskatoon, Sask.; D.D. Munro, Vancouver, B.C.; A.M. Johnson. Victoria, B.C.; Great Western Saddlery Company, Calgary, Alta.; A.T. Smith and W.A. Murphy, Winnipeg, Man.; W.J. Cazakoff, Veri- gin, Sask.; A.J; Perkins, Portland, Ore.; A. McQueen, Kaslo, B.C.; Sam Weislander Simion, New York, N.Y.; P.N. Potapoff, Cowley, Alta.; Ralph Schneeloch, Portland, Ore.; W.P. Kenny, Vice-President, Great Northern Railway, St. Paul, Minn.

Source: "Thousands See Peter Verigin Laid in Hill Top," Nelson Daily News, November 3, 1924.

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