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Encyclopedia > Old Believer
A fragment of painting Boyarynya Morozova by Vasily Surikov depicting a defiant Old Believer arrested by Czar authorities in 1671. She holds two fingers raised: a hint to the old, i.e., "proper" way of putting a cross unto oneself: with two fingers, rather than with three.
A fragment of painting Boyarynya Morozova by Vasily Surikov depicting a defiant Old Believer arrested by Czar authorities in 1671. She holds two fingers raised: a hint to the old, i.e., "proper" way of putting a cross unto oneself: with two fingers, rather than with three.

The Old Believers (старове́ры or старообря́дцы) are a schismatic group of the Russian Orthodox Church. Take from http://www. ... Vasily Ivanovich Surikov (Василий Иванович Суриков) (January 24, 1848 (Julian calendar: January 12) – March 19, 1916 (Julian calendar: March 6)) was a Russian painter, born in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. ... The word schism, from the Greek σχισμα, schisma (from σχιζω, schizo, to split), means a division or a split, usually in an organization. ... Saint Basils Cathedral, a well-known Russian Orthodox church situated in Moscow The Russian Orthodox Church (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. ...

The schism itself is known as staroobryadchestvo (старообрядчество).



In 1652, Patriarch Nikon of the Russian Orthodox Church introduced a number of reforms aimed at centralizing his power and bringing Russian Orthodox ritual and doctrine in line with those of the Greek Orthodox Church. Old Believers rejected Nikon's reforms (see Raskol). One of the main figures in the movement was Avvakum Petrovich. Even after the deposition of Nikon (1658), who broached too strong a challenge to the Tsar's authority, a series of church councils officially endorsed Nikon's liturgical reforms. Old Believers rejected the innovations and maintained that the official Church felt into the hands of Antichrist. Followers of the Old Believer movement were anathemized at the synod in 1666–67 and several, including Avvakum, were executed. The Old Believers faced heavy persecution from then until the reign of Peter the Great, when they began to be tolerated as an extra source of tax revenue. An attempt to make the Old Believers obey the Church was the creation in 1801 of the uni-faith (единоверчество) church. // 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. ... Nikon (Ни́кон), born Nikita Minin (1605-1681), was patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church from 1652 to 1658. ... Greek Orthodox Church can refer to: the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, headed by the Patriarch of Constantinople, who is also the first among equals of the Eastern Orthodox Communion. ... Painting by Vasily Perov. ... Avvakum Petrovich (1621-1682) was a Russian archpriest of the Kazan Cathedral on the Red Square who led the opposition to Patriarch Nikons reforms of the Russian Orthodox Church. ... In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist is a person or other entity that is the embodiment of evil and utterly opposed to truth. ... Anathema (Greek Word: meaning 1. ... A synod (also known as a council) is a council of a church, usually a Christian church, convened to decide an issue of doctrine or administration. ... Events September 2 - Great Fire of London: A large fire breaks out in London in the house of Charles IIs baker on Pudding Lane near London Bridge. ... Peter I Emperor and Autocrat of All Russia Peter I (Pyotr Alekseyvich) (9 June 1672–8 February 1725 [30 May 1672–28 January 1725 O.S.1]) ruled Russia from 7 May (27 April O.S.) 1682 until his death. ... Tax - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... 1801 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ...

After the 17th century schism Old Believers were divided into two main groups. The first one known as Popovtsy believed in the necessity of priests to perform sacraments according to the old ritual. They sought to attract ordained priests and in 1847 they convinced prelate of Orthodox Church of Bosnia Metropolitan Ambrose to consecrate three Russian Old Believers as bishops, who later appointed further bishops. In 1859 the number of Old Believer bishops in Russia reached ten and they established their own episcopate. The Popovtsy, or Popovschina (Поповцы, Поповщина in Russian; the name could translated as those who stand for the institution of priesthood), one of the two principal varieties (along with the Bespopovtsy) of the Old Believers, which was formed by the end of the 17th century in Russia. ... When the word metropolitan (from the Greek metera = mother and polis = town) is used as an adjective, as in metropolitan bishop, metropolitan France, or metropolitan area it can mean: of or characteristic of a metropolis; see also metropolitan area, Metropolitan Police, Metropolitan Railway of or belonging to the home territories... Episcopalian government in the church is rule by a hierarchy of bishops (Greek: episcopoi). ...

Second group known as Bespopovtsy (the "priestless") was characterized by rejecting "the World" where Antichrist reigned; they preached about the imminent end of the world, asceticism, adhering to the old rituals and the old faith. Given a lack of Bishops and priests, the laity became predominant. The Bespopovtsy renounced priests and all sacraments, except Baptism. Asceticism is a word used to denote an abstinent life which is characterised by austerity. ...

For some time Old Belief was associated with a strict asceticism that could sometimes be taken to extremes. In the 17th century some groups in Karelia that belonged to the sect committed suicide through self-immolation. However those who survived the 17th century became much more "life-willing", probably because the suicide of the most fanatical adepts of the movement served as a kind of self-purification and self-elimination of the most marginal views. Asceticism is a word used to denote an abstinent life which is characterised by austerity. ... Map showing the parts Karelia is traditionally divided into. ... A sect is a small religious group that has branched off of a larger established religion. ... Immolation is destruction by fire, that is, burning something to destroy it. ...

The Old Believers had no official toleration until 1905, so they had to hide from police and to pass themselves off as mainstream Orthodox. However, Old Believers became the dominant denomination in many regions: among them were Pomorye (Arkhangelsk region), Guslitsy, Kursk region, Urals, Siberia etc. By the 1910s about 15% of population in Russia said that they belong to one of the Old Believer branches (census data). 1905 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Arkhangelsk Oblast (Арха́нгельская о́бласть) is a regional subdivision of Russia. ... Kursk Oblast (Курская область) is a regional subdivision of Russia. ... The Ural Mountains, (Russian: Ура́льские го́ры = Ура́л) also known simply as the Urals, are a mountain range that run roughly north and south through western Russia. ... Siberia Siberia (Russian: , common English transliterations: Sibir’, Sibir; from the Tatar for “sleeping land”) is a vast region of Russia and northern Kazakhstan constituting almost all of northern Asia. ...

In 1971 the Russian Orthodox Church revoked the anathemas placed on the Old Believers in the 17th century, but most Old Believer communities have not returned to Communion with other Orthodox Christians. 1971 is a common year starting on Friday (click for link to calendar). ... Anathema (Greek Word: meaning 1. ... (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ... Full communion is a kind of relationship between two or more organizations of Christians. ...

Differences between the Old Believers and the official Russian Orthodoxy

  • Old Believers use 2 fingers while making the sign of cross (2 fingers straightened, 3 folded) while the official Orthodoxy uses 3 fingers for the sign of cross (3 fingers straigtened, 2 fingres folded). That is not the major difference between the two branches of Orthodoxy, but one of the most noticable (see the picture of Boyarynya Morozova above).
  • Old Believers use another Old Slavonic translation of the sacred texts, including all the major prayers.
  • Old Believers and Official Orthodoxy have a lot of little, but essential differences in church service. The very style of sevices is different.
    • Old Believers do not use polyphonic sinsing, but only monodic, unison singing. They also have their own way of writing down music: not with linear notation, but with special signs Kryuki or Znamena ('hooks' or 'banners' in English translation). There are several types of Old Believers sinsing: znamennoe singing (the most general term), stolpovoy raspev, pomorsky raspev, demestvenny raspev, khomovoe singing etc.
    • Old Believers use only icons of old Russian or Byzantine iconography; they do not believe in worshiping realistic images of Christ, Our Lady and the Saints as icons (which is widely accepted in the Official Orthodoxy)
    • Old Believers do not kneel while making prayers, but in comparison with Official Orthodoxy they perform much more bows and especially kowtows. While making kowtows Old Believers use a special little rug called podruchnik to place their hands on it. It is assumed that the fingers that are used for the cross sign should remain clean during the prayer.
    • Old Believers church services are in average 2-3 times longer than in official Orthodoxy since they do not shorten reading of Psalter and Gospels. Also the services are something more organized.
    • It is advisable to attend Old Believers services in a native russian dress, or at least to try to correspond to the very style of this dress. For men it means that shirts should be worn outside, but not inside trowsers. It is also advised that a belt should be put on, but nowadays this recommendation is rarely fulfilled. For women a long skirt and a kerchief are necessary. The kerchief shouldn't be tied (as it is in the Official Orthodoxy), but rather fastened with a pin under a chin.
    • While making prayers Old Believers use a very special type of beads called lestovka.
    • The Liturgy is performed on 7 Hosts, but not on 5, as it is in the Official Orthodoxy. The hallelujah hymn is singed twice, but not three times.
  • Old Believers have also some differences in their ordinary life:
    • Men should wear beards. To have a beard is considered a sin. Modern Old Believers are rather tolerate to haved chins, however.
    • Old Believers shouldn't drink coffee. Some denominations also prohibit drinking tea.
    • The most strict and eschatological Old Believers have practices of refraining from the outer world. That may inlude: prohibition of making meal with people of other faith, of using their belongings and ware etc.

Old Slavonic may refer to: Old Church Slavonic language Common Slavonic language This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... In music, the word texture is often used in a rather vague way in reference to the overall sound of a piece of music. ... Music notation is a system of writing for music. ... The Byzantine Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople. ... The word bow has several meanings and two pronunciations, depending on meaning: Rhymes with low A kind of weapon; see bow (weapon). ... Kowtowing Kowtow, from the Chinese term kòu tóu (Cantonese: kau tàuh) (叩頭), is the act of deep respect shown by kneeling and bowing so low as to touch the head to the ground. ... Kowtowing Kowtow, from the Chinese term kòu tóu (Cantonese: kau tàuh) (叩頭), is the act of deep respect shown by kneeling and bowing so low as to touch the head to the ground. ... Psalms (Tehilim תהילים, in Hebrew) is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, and of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. ... For the genre of Christian-themed music, see gospel music. ... A bead is a small, decorative object that is pierced for threading or stringing. ... From the Greek word λειτουργια, which can be transliterated as leitourgia, meaning the work of the people, 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), a daily activity such... This is an article about the religious word of praise; for an article about the French bicycle manufacturer, see Alleluia. ... Coffee beans and a cup of coffee Coffee as a drink, usually served hot, is prepared from the roasted seeds (beans) of the coffee plant. ... A hot cup of tea A tea bush. ... Albrecht Dürer - Four horsemen of the Apocalypse This article is about the concept of the end of the world. ...


Old Believers' church, Rēzekne, Latvia.
Old Believers' church, Rēzekne, Latvia.

Despite the fact that the Old Believers movement was created as an 'answer' for a reform, not as a 'reform' itself, the views and the philosophy of the movement in some aspects strongly resembles Protestant philosophy (mainly Amish, Hutterites, Mennonites and some other 'strict' denominations). That makes some people argue that Old Believers' appearance can be treated as a part of the pan-European Reformation processes. The similarities between Old Believers and Protestants are the following: Rēzekne (Latgalian: Rēzne, German: Rositten, Estonian: Räisaku, Polish: Rzeżyca) is a city in the Latgale region of eastern Latvia, 242 km east of Rīga. ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... The Amish are a denomination of Anabaptists related to the Mennonites noted for their restricted use of modern devices such as automobiles and electricity. ... Like the two best-known Anabaptist denominations, the Amish and the Mennonites, the Hutterites had their beginnings in the Radical Reformation of the 16th Century. ... The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptist denominations based on the teachings and tradition of Menno Simons. ... The Protestant Reformation was a movement which began in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church, but ended in division and the establishment of new institutions, most importantly Lutheranism, Reformed churches, and Anabaptists. ...

  • Both Old Believers and early Protestants positioned themselves as an alternative (right alternative) for the official church.
  • Since Old Believers treated Orthodoxy as a heretical church, they rather quickly developed a feeling of themselves as the only confession that can provide salvation to its adepts. This feeling later was transformed to a practical philosophy and theology very similar to that of Calvinistic theory of predestination. However, predestination never was proclaimed officially among the Old Believers.
  • About half of the Old Believer currents had no priests in that sense that every educated person can be chosen by a community to be a priest.
  • Those branches of Old Believers movement that rejected priests appeared in the north parts of Russia (mainly near Novgorod and Pskov) where even pre-reform Orthodoxy developed into a rather 'democratic' form, opposite to the highly centralized and ceremonial Orthodoxy of the southern regions.

Centuries of persecution and the nature of their origin, have made them highly culturally conservative and mistrustful of anything they see as insufficiently Russian. Some Old Believers go so far as to consider any pre-Nikonian Orthodox Russian practice or artifact to be exclusively theirs, denying that the Russian Orthodox Church has any claims upon a history before Patriarch Nikon. Salvation refers to deliverance from some undesirable state or condition. ... Predestination is a religious idea, under which the relationship between the beginning of things and the destiny of things is discussed. ... Velikiy Novgorod (Но́вгород) is the foremost historic city of North-Western Russia, situated on the highway (and railway) connecting Moscow and St Petersburg. ... 10-ruble Russian coin of 2003 in the Ancient cities of Russia series - commemorating Pskov Pskov (Псков, ancient spelling Пльсковъ, also Pihkva (Estonian), Pleskau (German) and Psków (Polish)) is an ancient Russian city, located in the north-west of Russia near the present-day border with Estonia, on the river...

However, the late 19th century - early 20th century history shows that the Old Believer merchant families were more flexible and more open to innovations while creating factories and creating the first Russian industry. This observation is in an apparent contradiction with the official doctrine of the Old Believers' faith, but apparently centuries of struggle developed in them a habit working and living without great concern for the state and mainstream cultural influence. Old Believers also lent money to each other with a much more lower interest rate than any financial institutions and individuals did, which helped them to arrange a cross-financing net and to accumulate capital.


Among the main modern denominations and church bodies are:

  • Popovtsy - have priests and liturgy. Are split into 2 movements that have the same beliefs, but are intolerant of each other since treat each the other's hierarchy as illegitimate.
    • Belokrinitskaya hierarchy - The largest Popovtsy denomination. Also known as Rogozhkoe soglasie.
      • Okruzhniki
      • Neokruzhniki (extinct)
    • Novozybkovskaya hierarchy
    • Beglopopovtsy (extinct)
      • Luzhkane, also known as Luzhkovskoe soglasie (extinct). In some places had no priests and so rather belonged to Bezpopovtsy.
  • Bezpopovtsy - have no priests and no liturgy.
    • Pomory - belong to Bespopovtsy. Have no priests. Are located mainly in North European Russia (Russian Karelia, Arkhangelsk region etc.)
      • Staropomory (Old-style pomory) who doesn't accept marriage
      • Pomory who accept marriage
    • Fedoseevtsy - Deny marriage and practice cloister-style asceticism.
    • Fillipovtsy - resemble Staropomory a lot.
    • Chasovennye (from a word Casovnya - a chapel) - Siberian branch. Initially had priests, but later decided to change to a priest-less practice. Also known as Semeyskie (in the lands that lay Eastern than the Baykal Lake).

The Popovtsy, or Popovschina (Поповцы, Поповщина in Russian; the name could translated as those who stand for the institution of priesthood), one of the two principal varieties (along with the Bespopovtsy) of the Old Believers, which was formed by the end of the 17th century in Russia. ... The Popovtsy, or Popovschina (Поповцы, Поповщина in Russian; the name could translated as those who stand for the institution of priesthood), one of the two principal varieties (along with the Bespopovtsy) of the Old Believers, which was formed by the end of the 17th century in Russia. ... East Karelia and West Karelia with borders of 1939 and 1940/1947. ... Arkhangelsk Oblast (Арха́нгельская о́бласть) is a regional subdivision of Russia. ...

Break-off sects

The Old Believers movement also gave birth to several marginal break-off groups, such as:

and others. However, these break-offs were always considered heretical by all the 'mainstream' Old Believer groups. As of 1911, the Skoptzy (скопцы, also transliterated as Skoptzi, Skoptsi, Scoptsy and other spellings) were a secret sect of Russia. ... Castration, gelding, neutering, orchiectomy or orchidectomy is any action, surgical, chemical or otherwise, by which a biological male loses use of the testes. ... Sexual abstinence or chastity is the practice of voluntarily refraining from sexual intercourse and (usually) other sexual activity. ... The title page of European Union passports bears the name European Union, then the name of the issuing country, in the languages of all EU countries. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Number of the Beast. ... The Doukhobors (Russian Духоборы/Духоборцы) are a Christian dissenting sect of Russian origin. ... This article concerns the Holy Trinity of Christianity and related religious denominations. ... 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. ...

Modern situation

Traditional Russian Old Believer family in Latin America
Traditional Russian Old Believer family in Latin America

Approximately one million Old Believers remain today, some living in extremely isolated communities in places to which they fled centuries ago to avoid persecution. A few Old Believer parishes in the United States have entered communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia [1]. Taken from http://mirtv. ... The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, ROCA, or ROCOR) is a jurisdiction of Eastern Orthodoxy formed in response against the policy of bolsheviks with respect to religion in the Soviet Union soon after the Russian Revolution. ...

Old Believer churches are currently restored in Russia, although Old Believers (unlike the nearly official mainstream Orthodoxy) have no restitution rights for their churches. In Moscow there are churches for all the most important Old Believer branches: Rogozhskaya Zastava (Popovtsy of Belokrinitskaya hierarchy official center), a cathedral for Novozybkovskaya hierarchy in Zamoskvorech'ye and Preobrazhenskaya Zastava where Pomory and Fedoseevtsy coexist. Restitution is the process by which land and other property that was forcibly removed from its owners is restored or compensation of equivalent value provided. ... Saint Basils Cathedral and Spasskaya Tower of Moscow Kremlin at Red Square. ... The Popovtsy, or Popovschina (Поповцы, Поповщина in Russian; the name could translated as those who stand for the institution of priesthood), one of the two principal varieties (along with the Bespopovtsy) of the Old Believers, which was formed by the end of the 17th century in Russia. ...

Only Pomory and Fedoseevtsy treat each other relatively well; all the other denominations don't acknowledge each other. Among the ordinary Old Believers there are some trends for intra-branch ecumenism, but these trends find sparse support among the official chiefs of the congregations. The word ecumenism (IPA: ɛkˌjuˈmʌnɪzʌm) is derived from the Greek oikoumene, which means the inhabited world. The term is usually used with regard to movements toward religious unity. ...

Significant Old Believer communities exist in Plamondon, Alberta, Woodburn, Oregon and at various locales in Alaska. A compact 40,000 strong Lipovan community of Old Believers lives in neigboring Kiliia raion (Vilkovo) of Ukraine and the Tulcea County of Romania in the Danube Delta. Woodburn is a city located in Marion County, Oregon. ... State nickname: The Last Frontier, The Land of the Midnight Sun Other U.S. States Capital Juneau Largest city Anchorage Governor Frank Murkowski (R) Official languages English Area 1,717,854 km² (1st)  - Land 1,481,347 km²  - Water 236,507 km² (13. ... Lipovans or Lippovans (Old Faith Believers, Old Rite Followers) are a small (about 40,000) Slavic ethnic group of Russian origin residing in the delta of the Danube River in Tulcea county of eastern Romania. ... Map of Ukrainian Danube Delta Vilkovo (Ukrainian: Вілкове; Russian: Вилково) is a town located in the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta, at utmost South-West of Ukraine, in Kiliya raion of Odeska oblast. It was found in 1746 and assigned the status of “town” in 1762. ... Administrative map of Romania with Tulcea county highlighted Tulcea is a Romanian county (Judeţ) in the Dobrogea region, with the capital city at Tulcea (population: 96,813). ... Northern half of the Danube Delta Satellite photo The Danube Delta (Delta Dunării in Romanian), located in Dobrogea, Romania and a small part in Odeska oblast, Ukraine, is the largest and best preserved of European deltas, with an area of 3446 km². // Geography Every year, the alluvium deposited...

Old Believer Churches

The Russian Orthodox Oldritualist Church or Russian Orthodox Old-Ritualist Church (Русская Православная Старообрядческая Церковь) is a noncanonical traditionalist Eastern Orthodox Church, born from a schism within the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century (Old Believers). ... The Lipovan Orthodox Oldritualist Church or Lipovan Orthodox Old-Ritualist Church is a non-canonical, traditionalist Eastern Orthodox Church, born of a schism within the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century of (Old Believers) based in Romania (Lipovans). ... The Russian Old Orthodox Church (Русская Древлеправославная Церковь) is a non-canonical, traditionalist Eastern Orthodox Church, born of a schism within the Russian Orthodox Church during the 17th century (Old Believers). ...

External links

  • The Eastern Christian Churches
  • Old Believers in Karelia in the 17th century
  • Old Believers in Estonia

  Results from FactBites:
Old Believers - OrthodoxWiki (4612 words)
Old Believers use two fingers while making the sign of the cross (two fingers straightened, three folded) while new-style Orthodoxy uses three fingers for the sign of cross (three fingers straightened, two fingers folded).
Old Believers only recognize performing baptism through three full immersions, and reject the validity of any baptismal rite performed otherwise (for example through pouring or sprinkling, as the Russian Orthodox Church has occasionally accepted since the 18th century).
Old Believers hold that the preservation of a certain "microclimate" that enables the salvation of one's soul requires not only living by the commandments of Christ, but also carefully preserving Church tradition, which contains the spiritual power and knowledge of past centuries, embodied in external forms.
Old And New Man (3909 words)
he old man is the body of sin, being a complication of the several sinful lusts opposite to the holy law, as the body is of members competent to the human frame.
The old man may live long on the cross before he be destroyed: but then his hands and feet cannot serve him as they did before, there are nails driven through them; he may move them indeed, but then it is with pain and difficulty.
The old man himself shall be destroyed, utterly destroyed, out of all that are Christ's; so that though he has many a time trode them like a field of battle, there shall not be in them the least print of his feet to be discerned, Heb.
  More results at FactBites »



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