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Encyclopedia > Avvakum
Old Believer icon depicting Avvakum surrounded by other martyrs of the Old Faith
Old Believer icon depicting Avvakum surrounded by other martyrs of the Old Faith

Avvákum Petróv (November 20, 1620 or 1621 - April 14, 1682) was a Russian archpriest of Kazan Cathedral on Red Square who led the opposition to Patriarch Nikon's reforms of the Russian Orthodox Church. His autobiography and letters to the tsar, Boyarynya Morozova and other Old Believers are considered masterpieces of 17th-century Russian literature. Image File history File links Avvakum. ... Image File history File links Avvakum. ... November 20 is the 324th day of the year (325th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... April 14 is the 104th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (105th in leap years). ... Events March 11 – Chelsea hospital for soldiers is founded in England May 6 - Louis XIV of France moves his court to Versailles. ... Kazan Cathedral before its destruction in 1936 Kazan Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox church at the north east corner of Red Square in Moscow. ... , For other uses, see Red Square (disambiguation). ... Nikon (Ни́кон), born Nikita Minin (1605-1681), was patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church from 1652 to 1658. ... The Russian Orthodox Church (also known as the Orthodox Catholic Church of Russia) (Русская Православная церковь) is that body of Christians who are united under the Patriarch of Moscow, who in turn is in communion with the other patriarchs and primates of the Eastern Orthodox Church. ... An autobiography, from the Greek auton, self, bios, life and graphein, write, is a biography written by the subject or composed conjointly with a collaborative writer (styled as told to or with). The term dates from the late eighteenth century, but the form is much older. ... A fragment of painting Boyarynya Morozova by Vasily Surikov depicting Feodosiyas arrest by the Nikonians in 1671. ... A fragment of painting Boyarynya Morozova by Vasily Surikov depicting a defiant Old Believer arrested by Czar authorities in 1671. ... As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700 in the Gregorian calendar. ... Russian literature refers to the literature of Russia or its émigrés, and to the Russian-language literature of several independent nations once a part of what was historically Russia or the Soviet Union. ...


Starting in 1652 Nikon, as Patriarch of the Russian Church, initiated a wide range of reforms in Russian liturgy and theology. These reforms were mostly intended to bring the Russian Church into line with the other Orthodox Churches of Eastern Europe. Avvakum and others strongly rejected these changes. They saw them as a corruption of the Russian Church, which they considered to be the "true" Church of God. The other Churches were more closely related to Constantinople in their liturgies and Avvakum argued that Constantinople fell to the Turks because of these heretical beliefs. // Events April 6 - Dutch sailor Jan van Riebeeck establishes a resupply camp for the Dutch East India Company at the Cape of Good Hope, and founded Cape Town. ... Painting by Vasily Perov. ... From the Greek word λειτουργία, which can be transliterated as leitourgia, meaning a public work, a liturgy comprises a prescribed religious ceremony, according to the traditions of a particular religion; it may refer to, or include, an elaborate formal ritual (such as the Catholic Mass), or a daily activity such as... Theology (Greek θεος, theos, God, + λογος, logos, word or reason) means reasoned discourse concerning religion, spirituality and God. ... The definition of continental subregions in use by the United Nations. ... Map of Constantinople. ... Heresy, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is a theological or religious opinion or doctrine maintained in opposition, or held to be contrary, to the Catholic or Orthodox doctrine of the Christian Church, or, by extension, to that of any church, creed, or religious system, considered as orthodox. ...


For his opposition to the reforms Avvakum was repeatedly imprisoned and finally burned at the stake in Pustozyorsk, where he had been exiled by the government. The spot where he was burned is now marked by an ornate wooden cross. Groups rejecting the changes continued, however, and they became referred to as the Old Believers. Avvakum's colourful autobiography memorably recounts hardships of his imprisonment and exile to the Far East of Russia, the story of his friendship and rupture with the tsar Alexis, his practice of exorcising demons and devils, and his boundless admiration for nature and other works of God. Burning of two sodomites at the stake outside Zürich, 1482 (Spiezer Schilling) Execution by burning has a long history as a method of punishment for crimes such as treason and for other unpopular acts such as heresy and the practice of witchcraft. ... Pustozyorsk (Russian: ) was the administrative center of Yugra and Pechora krais of Muscovy and Imperial Russia. ... This article describes the wood that comprises trees and boards. ... A Greek cross (all arms of equal length) above a saltire, a cross rotated by 45 degrees For other uses, see Cross (disambiguation). ... Detail of the painting Boyarynya Morozova by Vasily Surikov depicting a defiant Old Believer arrested by Czarist authorities in 1671. ... An autobiography, from the Greek auton, self, bios, life and graphein, write, is a biography written by the subject or composed conjointly with a collaborative writer (styled as told to or with). The term dates from the late eighteenth century, but the form is much older. ... Far East is an inexact term often used for East Asia and Southeast Asia combined, sometimes including also the easternmost territories of Russia, i. ... Alexei Mikhailovich Romanov (In Russian Алексей Михаилович Романов) (March 9, 1629 (O.S.) - January 29, 1676 (O.S.)) was a Tsar of Russia during some of the most eventful decades of the mid_17th century. ... Saint Francis exorcised demons in Arezzo, fresco of Giotto Exorcism is the practice of evicting demons or other evil spiritual entities which are supposed to have possessed (taken control of) a person or object. ...


Excerpts from his Life

And when I was still a priest, in those first days when I had just turned to my labors in Christ, a devil scared me this way. My wife was grievously ill, and her confessor had come to her. Deep in the night I left our place for the church, to get the book for her confession. And when I came to the church porch, till then a little table had been standing there, but when I came up that table started hopping about in its place, acted on by a devil. But I wasn't frightened, and after praying before the icon I signed the table with my hand, and going over I set it down, and it cut short its capers. When I entered the narthex, in a coffin on a bench, and acted on by that devil on board on top opened and the shroud started to stir, frightening me. But I prayed to God I signed the corpse with my hand, and everything was as before. When I entered the sanctuary, sure enough the chasubles and dalmatics were flying from place to place, frightening me again. But I prayed and kissed the communion table, and I blessed the vestments with my hand, and drawing close I touched them, and they hung there as always. Then I got the book and left the church. There you have the kind of devilish devices used against us!


In Siberia the mountains were high, the forests dense, the cliffs of stone, standing like a wall—you'd crick your neck looking up! In those mountains are found great snakes; geese and ducklings with red plumage, black ravens, and grey jackdaws also live there. In those mountains are eagles and falcons and gerfalcons and mountain pheasants and pelicans and swans and other wild fowl, an endless abundance, birds of many kinds. In those mountains wander many wild beasts, goats and deer, Siberian stags and elk, wild boars, wolves, wild sheep—you'll lay your eyes on them but never your hands! Pashkov drove me out into those mountains to live with the beasts and the snakes and the birds.

Archpriest Avvakum as he appears on Old Believer icons.
Enlarge
Archpriest Avvakum as he appears on Old Believer icons.

Then we moved to Lake Irgen. A portage is there and during the winter we started hauling. He took away my workers but wouldn't order others hired in their places. And the children were little—many to eat but no one to work. All alone this poor, miserable old Archpriest made a dogsled, and the winter long he dragged himself over the portage. In the spring we floated down the Ingoda river on rafts. It was the fourth summer of my voyage from Tobol'sk. We were herding logs for houses and forts. Soon there was nothing to eat; people started dying off from hunger and from tramping about and working in water. The river was shallow, the rafts heavy, the guards merciless, the cudgels big, the clubs knotty, the knouts cutting, the tortures savage—fire and rack!—people were starving, they’d only start torturing someone and he’d die! Ah, what a time! I don't know why he went off his head like that! The Archpriestess had an overdress from Moscow that hadn't rotted. In Russia it'd be worth more than twenty-five rubles, but here, he gave us four sacks of rye for it. And we dragged on for another year or two, living on the Nertcha River and eating grass to keep body and soul together. He was killing everyone with hunger. He wouldn't let anyone leave to get a living, keeping us in a small area. People would roam across the steppes and fields and dig up grasses and roots, and we right there with them. In the winter it was pine bark, and sometimes God gave us horse meat; we found the bones of beasts brought down by wolves, and what the wolf hadn’t eaten, we did. And some of those near frozen to death even ate wolves, and foxes, and whatever came their way, all sorts of corruption. A mare would foal and on the sly the starving would eat the foal and the foul afterbirth. And when Pashkov found out, he would flog them half to death with a knout. And a mare died. Everything went to waste because the foal had been dragged out of her against nature; she only showed his head and they jerked him out, yes and even started eating the foul blood. Ah, what a time! Image File history File links 100px-Avvakum_protopop_ikona. ... Image File history File links 100px-Avvakum_protopop_ikona. ...


And in these privations two of my little sons died, and with the others we somehow suffered on, roaming naked and barefoot through the mountains and over the sharp rocks, keeping body and soul together with grasses and roots. And I myself, sinner that I am, I both willingly and unwillingly partook on the flesh of mares and the carrion of beasts and birds. Alas for my sinful soul! "Who will give my head water and a fountain of tears that I might weep for my poor soul," which I wickedly sullied with worldly pleasures? But we were helped in the name of Christ by the Boyarina, the Commander's daughter-in-law Eudoxia Kirillovna, yes and by Athanasy’s wife Thekla Simeonovna too. They gave us relief against starvation secretly, without his knowing. Sometimes they sent a little piece of meat, sometimes a small round loaf, sometimes a bit of flour and oats, as much as could be scraped together, a quarter pound and maybe a pound or two more, sometimes she saved up a good half pound and sent it over, and sometimes she raked feed out of the chicken trough. My daughter Agrafena, the poor little love, on the sly she would wander over under the Boyarina’s window. And we didn't know whether to laugh or to cry! Sometimes they'd drive the little child away from the window without the Boyarina’s knowing, but sometimes she'd drag back a good bit. She was a little girl then, but now she's twenty-seven and still unmarried. My poor, dear daughter, now she lives in tears at Mezen with her younger sisters, keeping body and soul together somehow. And her mother and brothers sit locked up, buried in the earth. But what's to be done? Let those broken hearts suffer for the sake of Christ. So be it, with God's help. For it is ordained that we must suffer, we must suffer for the sake of the Christian faith. You loved, Archpriest, of the famed to be friend; love then to endure, poor wretch, to the end! It is written: "Blessed is not he that begins, but he that has finished."


External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Avvakum (1199 words)
The dominating character trait that Avvakum continually emphasizes throughout the autobiography is the strength of his spirit.
Avvakum again deliberately leaves the reader with the impression that he has excelled in these areas.
Avvakum not only insures that the reader comprehends that he has excelled at life within the context of the Christian faith, but he goes further to make the point that he has some special divinity of his own.
Avvakum (151 words)
Avvakum (1621-1682) was a Russian archpriest who lead the opposition ot Patriarch Nikon's reforms of the Russian Orthodox Church.
For his opposition to the refroms Avvakum was bruned at the stake by the Russian government.
Avvakum's famous autobiograhpy survived him and it is an excellent description of the schism in the Church.
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