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 26, 2009


There is an article about the Old Believer Settlements and it mentions that they discouraged the use of alcohol [the more strict ones forbid hard liquor entirely].

On Page 15 of Alcohol and Temperance it mentions that Old Believers were either abstainers or very temperate drinkers.

Fast days (which take up more than half the year) require complete abstention from alcohol.

There is a word with a negative connotation in the Old Slavonic Language, “Vinopiica” which means “wine-bibber” and we see it twice in the holy writings at Mt. 11.19 and Proverbs 23:20. This unique word would apply to beer as well.

In the book Old Believers in Modern Russia we find on page 111 these words.

‘some Old Believer concords banned the use of spirits’

The book goes on to say that in the Belokrinitsy publication, Zlatostrui, there was an article in issue no. 4 from 1910 on page 65 titled, “Vino” which offers this:

“Liquor is the cause of enormous evil to the Russian person. There is no stronger evil than wine. War, plague, and cholera could not affect a person without wine’s pernicious strength. Wine does not only kill a person’s physical health, but ruinously destroys the strength of the spirit in him, undermining development and economic prosperity as well as agriculture. Crime, poverty and sickness are all from wine and through wine...”

The book continues to say that Zlatostrui, ‘was supported by Old Believer conferences from all those concords that either banned vodka and heavy drinking outright or had at least begun to study ways to eradicate the evil from among the Old Believers themselves.’

Again, ‘Bishops Inokentii of Nizhni and Meletii of Saratov led the Belokrinitsa episcopal fight against alcohol use by comparing Russians to the dead Lazarus, killed by the “demon of drunkenness” yet waiting to be resurrected through faith. “Religion,” explained the bishop, “is the most important factor in the question of counteracting the expansion of heavy drinking. A pious Russian person would most likely yield to the influence of religion [rather than alcohol].” Not content to stop drinking just among Old Believers, the bishops hoped to eradicate it from all Russia...’

On page 112 of this book is an almost full page image of Znamenny Chant Hook Notation verse which censures drunkenness, it is found in a referenced document of ritual prohibitions titled, Russkaia kniga. Below is a photo of the manuscript. The image is not that clear in the book either, but I think the fullsize photo is mostly readable, if you know Znammeny Hook Notation.