Argumenty i fakty:White Brotherhood sect surviving
Date: February 28, 2003 10:46PM
White Brotherhood sect surviving
Second Coming of Maria Devi Christos
Argumenty i fakty/October 3, 2001
By Iva Barmina and Pavel Sorokin
Maria Devi Christos, otherwise known as Marina Mamonova-Tsvigun-Krivonogova-Kovalchuk, "a living goddess" in white clothing, regularly predicted the end of the world and spent four years in a prison colony and then was released. She managed to swap her old "apostle" husband for a young "apostle." It is said that she sped around Kiev with him in a Toyota. She lives well, does not expect the end of the world any more, and continues to preach.
Marina has called herself at one time Eve, at another the Mother of the World, at another the Mother of God herself, and at the same time the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And she married not simply the citizen Kovalchuk but "Lord John Peter II." Marriage, and perhaps the jail term, softened the morals of the "goddess." Now she permits her followers to eat meat and she recognizes family unions as sacred and does not call openly any longer for severing everything that binds a person to the world. Like before, she has around her "apostles," "hegumens," and "archdeacons."
Supposedly they live by begging and growing their own gardens. They don't let Maria Devi Christos work in the garden; that is not the deity's business. But where is she herself? "Like God, she is everywhere!"
Actually, in many cities of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia, especially in the Urals and along the Volga, as well as Moscow, "white brothers" have become notably more active in the past year. The organization has lost numbers but it has maintained its close hierarchy, rigid discipline, and austere secrecy. Leaflets are again showing up on columns: the White Brotherhood needs new souls.
Those who have been able to break with the sect recall it with pain. What actually happened in its headquarters, the Kievan building behind the three-meter fence with barbed wire on top? Evidently nobody knows the whole truth. After the outrages of the "brothers" in 1993, people came to the Kiev GUVD from all over CIS to seek their sons and daughters in the photographs made by the police: those arrested refused to give their names and they were prepared for sudden death for the faith and their "goddess." After the Last Judgment did not happen on the day designated by Maria Devi Christos, and in the course of those ten months that her trial and those of other leaders of the "White Brotherhood" lasted, many awoke from the nightmare.
After the arrest of leaders of the sect an enormous number of expert analyses were conducted for determining the psychological state of children and adults of the "brotherhood." Violations of the psyches were observed in all of those studied.
Those who were indicted were also studied, the Krivonogov couple and Kovalchuk. It was determined that these "gods" who had managed to provoke hysteria in thousands of people without exaggeration did not possess any special extrasensory or hypnotic abilities.
People like people Everybody who dealt with Marina and Yury Krivonogov after their arrest were united in their conclusion: "People like people." At the investigation and trial the couple conducted themselves in a quite human manner. They brought each other down and argued over jackets and apartments and homes and they did not confess where the enormous amounts of money which the sect clearly had disposed of had gone. And in a quite feminine way Marina rejected her old husband (Yury is 25 years older than she) during the investigation and fell in love with the young Kovalchuk. "There is no John (which is what Krivonogov was called in the sect)," she told her disciples. "He is a false teacher. Did I really demand that you perish in my name? I never did such a thing. I do not know where this idea came from at all. The devil put this over on you."
The story of the acquaintance with "this Judas" also came out in court. Before the "White Brotherhood" Krivonogov had made his living with "extrasensory performances," and one time a note came out of the audience from a woman who wrote that she had seen God. Incidentally that was at a time when she was clinically dead while she was having her tenth abortion. The beautiful Marina had a difficult komsomol youth. Arrest put an end to conjugal relations, after the seizure of Holy Wisdom cathedral by the "brothers." At that time canisters with gasoline had been prepared and several dozen persons were supposed to be burned alive in the Orthodox church. But not Marina and Yury; their escape path was carefully laid out.
Return of the "goddess"
Nothing that came out in court turned a portion of her disciples away from Maria Devi Christos. As before, they were ready to die for her sake. They waited for her throughout the four years the "living goddess" spent in prison, diligently making four mesh bags each a day and painting the walls of the red corner. She did no preaching there. But, after release, she did not forget her flock, in contrast to Yury Krivonogov. Within the sect he was imprecated with words of renunciation: "I am ashamed of those ravings I wrote. I want to spend the rest of my days in peace." In the words of her worshipper, Hegumena Gertrude from Dnepropetrovsk, "tribulations only strengthened Maria Devi Christos; she returned from the camp even more convinced that she was an incarnation of the idea of God." It must be said that Marina and her associates publicly renounced the proclamation of the end of the world and they pledged not to include children in worship services.
However, the "Teaching" remained and according to it salvation will be attained only by those who "easily separate themselves from neighbors and family and who cannot be lured away; but if their mind is seduced they will be restrained by the power of Maria Devi Christos." Maria Devi Christos does not repeat these words in the presence of outsiders. She could get a new sentence for them and it does not take a prophet to realize that.