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.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Paradise Is Without Man-Made Electricity

Writer Neil McGowan mentions his travels stopping on the Trans-Siberian Railway at Ulan-Ude, Buryatiya (Buryat Republic), near Baikal (Swan) Lake, the ‘longest’, ‘deepest’, ‘most voluminous’ lake in the world, located in southern Siberia bordering Mongolia. On the eastern side of the lake is the Selenga River. Neil says that in this paradise without man-made electricity there are Old Believers who refuse to use modern machinery. They live in clinker-built wooden houses of villages along the road from Ulan-Ude to Tarbagatay. The Tarbagatay church was build by Father Andrei with his own hands. The idea that organic produce in Western Europe can’t keep pace with demand is clearly some kind of private victory for him. Simple food rules, his lunches consist of soups, stews, boiled meats and mashed potatoes – not a single thing comes out of a packet. Neil tried to offer Father Andrei a donation for his Old Believer ‘museum’, but he politely folded the money back into his hand saying, “Do me this favor instead. Tell people in your country WE ARE HERE, we are alive, and we welcome you.”

There are 9 Old Believer groups in the area.
Beyond Baikal