Orthodox Exaltation of the Cross Labor Brotherhood


January 22, 2022

The Exaltation of the Cross Labor Brotherhood (Orthodox) (Neplyuyevske) existed in the village of Vozdvyzhenske, Yampil district, Sumy region from 1889 to 1924. The Labor Brotherhood positioned itself as a living model of the free human brotherhood of poor and rich Christians. From the organizational point of view, it was a cooperative society of production and consumption with a collective form of ownership of the means of production. The Brotherhood was the largest attempt in history to create a Christian civilization. The Brotherhood is mentioned in the memoirs as something like a utopia. Those who are new to the experience of the Labor Brotherhood have very different associations. For some it is the City of the Sun, which has acquired real shapes, for others it resembles gloomy paintings from the famous anti-utopia of George Orwell.


Having received the Vozdvyzhensky hamlet as a gift from his father in 1882, Mykola Neplyuyev (1851–1908) decided to create a local model of a perfect society here. Initially, MM Neplyuyev arranged an orphanage for ten peasant children from the poorest families and raised them himself. In 1885 Neplyuyev opened a men's agricultural school in Vozdvyzhensky, and in 1891 a women's agricultural school in Preobrazhensk. Training was free. Children of all Christian denominations were admitted to the school. Ukrainian teachers of that time - Olga Maksymovych from Poltava region, Petro Solonyna from Chernihiv - brought their best pupils to M. Neplyuyev. The children of the citizens of Switzerland and Austria were also at M. Neplyuyev's school. According to the founder, his schools formed good Christians and cultural farmers. Schools were popular among the peasants. Along with high-quality agronomic education, they were given religious and moral education, instilled a taste for artistic values. The students gained their hard work by working in the school farm complex, which included fields, farms, gardens, workshops, an apiary, and a forest nursery. In 1889, after the first graduation of the Agricultural School, MM Neplyuyev founded a community of its graduates - the "First Labor Brotherhood", for the creation of which he was blessed by the elder of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra Barnabas Gethsemane. In 1893, the "Charter of the Orthodox Exaltation of the Cross of the Labor Brotherhood" was approved.

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