The Stranniki (Russian for Runaways or Wanderers) are the strong Pomorsky Old Believers who rejected prayers for Tsar Peter and all government papers (identification, passports, money, etc). They would not wear clothing contrary to Old Orthodox Russia, nor eat with those of contrary Faith and Practice. Keeping themselves separate from the antichrist society they went far into the Siberian wilderness. This blog is about these people and my effort to conform my life to theirs.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Holy Foolishness - page 64

Flight from Justice

The Beguny (those who flee) believe that tsardom became the devil’s rule, they were closely associated with the Stranniki (wanderers) who believe the Antichrist has already appeared and “visibly rules on earth.” Therefore, obedience to any form of earthly power, be it secular or clerical, is stamped with his seal. Since struggle against the earthly powers is impossible, the only remaining opportunity for salvation is flight (begstvo) and wandering (stranstvovanie) - from which the Beguny and Stranniki get their names.

Flight from all forms of official culture is one response to the Antichrist; other responses include lying and deception. Lawrence Trefalev, in a study of the Stranniki (Published in the journal The Russian Archive in 1866), wrote that lying and deception during periods of official investigation were considered obligatory... “someone spoke the truth and perished, another lied and was made a saint.” ...among the Stranniki lying is especially important because it is a way of abusing the “Antichrist and his servants.”

[Speaking of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment the above words apply to an innocent man who admitted to murder.]

It is a way of taking on suffering and also as a judgment against those who judge him. This is a kind of holy foolishness in which self-abasement and deliberate provocation are both part of the performance. The historical holy fool abused those who mocked him.

There is the idea of “suffering,” not for the sake of gain, or even on behalf of someone else, but simply because “it is necessary.”

[for many Russians to think, feel, suffer and understand are one and the same thing]


It is also mentioned that a microbe (a “new trichina”) previously unknown to modern medicine, would be responsible for a new epidemic. The trichinae infect the world with insanity that masquerades as wisdom. Those infected went mad but believed themselves to be sane, and became even more convinced as to the rightness of their moral convictions and their “scientific conclusions.” No one could agree, and a period of war, famine, and fire ensued. Those chosen to save the world could not deliver their message; “no one heard their voices.”