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, January 31, 2010

Geopolitical Consequences of Nikon’s Reforms

Not many people realize the actual geopolitical consequences from the reforms of patriarch Nikon. Nonetheless the consequences of his reform are very significant and it continues to be shown in the Russian people more than ever. “Is there any Russian faith?”, “what is Russian orthodoxy?”, “what should be the spiritual mission of Russia in the world?”, “what represents the Russian people in world history and what is the reason of its existance?” - to these questions there seems to be no clear answers, but without them it is impossible to build and to determine a good future.

More than three centuries ago proto-priest Avvakum accurately explained the geopolitical sense of Nikons reforms which caused the schism: “Russia wanted German practices and customs!” This great thinker wonderfully realized that the Greeks in Western Europe, who survived the fall of Constantinople, proved to be under the influence of a forceful and infecting Roman Catholicism ([Latinism]). We should be made well aware that the Greeks brought western influence to Russia.

In the sixteenth century the first Jesuit to visit Moscow, Antony Possevino, explained his, “difficulty in introducing the Catholic religion in Muscovy.” It is well known that the direct aggression of the West against Russian during the beginning of the seventeenth century did not achieve its goal, being unable to subjugate Russia. The Jesuit Possevino said the only solution for such an endeavor would be through Russia’s own ruling class. So it was, with the assistance of the ruling class (due to economic reasons), the “robber” council of 1666-7 positioned itself to corrupt the entire way of Russian life along the way of a distorted river bed.

In the twentieth century Prince Nikolay Sergeyevich Trubetskoy recognized the truth of the pronouncements of proto-priest Avvakum, in particular the inaccuracies of the editors of Russia’s Holy Books from modern Greek models. After the reform Peter I abolished the patriarchate, councils were abolished creating a bureaucratic establishment to the church with the tsar as its head. This new device completely destroyed whatever might have remained of the Old-Russian canonical system of church life. Russia fell away depending on the West. Trubetskoy expressed how a representative of the Romanov dynasty (Grand Duke Alexander Mikhaylovich) was “antinational” and that inspired some of Dostoyevsky’s writings.

The noted twentieth century bishop Andrew Ukhtomsky said, “Why… are our dissenters incomparably steadier and stronger in a cultural sense? Specifically, because the dissenters live by the parochial achievement and their self-determination as a community, while our village drags its existence only by the order of authorities. Dissentient communities unite in their chapel and our orthodox village unites by the wine bench…”

For more information see: (in Russian)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Old Believers Found Hiding On This Island

In 2008 the government of the Czech Republic helped make this 52 minute documentary film. These Old Believers are on the island Skitskoj in the north of Russia’s European part, in an inaccessible forestland on Pizma River, in the Pechora River basin. They are hiding from civilization and from the surrounding world that is buzzing with change. The film traces the progress of the transforming relationship between the Old Believers and the filmmakers during the first meeting. All the surprises and complications of this meeting, which was very important for us and told us a lot about all participating people, are commented on by the filmmakers straight away. It is a film about inner barriers, “islands” - isolation, fear and prejudice - on both banks. It is a story about the effort to build a common “bridge.”

      Video Link

     More Information



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Movable Type Face

Printing is the Dance of Death

An illustration (from 1499)

The printing press was first used by heretics and from the beginning people of good conscience have considered it evil and of the devil. Russia was the only Orthodox Christian Empire left, so when the printing press first arrived in Russia from the western heretical lands a good thing happened. The Russians in Moscow destroyed the printing press and the machine operators had to flee due to this unwelcoming happening. I have personally owned some of the first printed books made for Orthodox Christians and have found where entire pages had to be removed, in one way or another, because of the various types of unchristian content.

This traveler who took the photo above says, “The holy books of the Old Believers have to be copied by hand. This particular copy is from the 18th century if I remember correctly.”
Heretics spread a muddied Gospel by whatever means they choose, by unholy printing or other device, but that is not the authentic Faith of Christ in its entirety. Even the Apostle used examples from pagan religion to illustrate the Holy Gospel for those ears that would listen. But no whole Christian ever used printed material in a liturgical manner. If we study the Church Fathers we learn that things such as printed books are not to be used for worship in any way shape or form. Consider the following story.
Abba Pambo from the Nitran mountain was a contemporary of St. Anthony the Great and was himself a great monastic Egyptian ascetic. Born about A.D. 303 he was one of the first to join Amoun in Nitria. He was illiterate until he was taught the Scriptures as a monk and ordained a priest in 340. He had two characteristics by which he was especially known; by long training he sealed his lips so that no unnecessary word passed them, and he never ate any bread other than that which he gained by his own labor plaiting rushes.

He was like an angel of God and in old age his face shone as did the face of Moses in ancient times so that the monks could not look on it. He did not give a quick answer even to a simple question without prayer and pondering in his heart. This wonderful saint had clear discernment into the destiny of the living and the dead. He entered rest in the Lord from the year 374 A.D. This is something he said to one of his disciples:

“I will tell you this, my child, that the days will come when Christians will add to and will take away from, and will alter the books of the Holy Evangelists, and of the Holy Apostles, and of the Divine Prophets, and of the Holy Fathers. They will tone down the Holy Scriptures and will compose troparia, hymns, and writings technologically. Their nous will be spilled out among them, and will become alienated from its Heavenly Prototype. For this reason the Holy Fathers had previously encouraged the monks of the desert to write down the lives of the Fathers, not onto parchment, but onto paper, because the coming generation will change them to suit their own personal tastes. So you see, the evil that comes will be horrible.”

Then the disciple said: So then, Geronda, the traditions and the practices of the Christians are going to be changed? Maybe there will not exist enough priests in the Church when these unfortunate times come?

And the father continued: In these times the love for God in most souls will grow cold and a great sadness will fall upon the world. One nation shall oppose another. Peoples will move away from their own places. Rulers will be confused. The clergy will be thrown into anarchy, and the monks will be inclined more to negligence. The church leaders will consider useless anything concerned with salvation, as much for their own souls as for the souls of their flocks, and they will despise any such concern. All will show eagerness and zeal for every matter regarding their dining table and their appetites. They’ll be lazy in their prayers and casual in their criticisms. As for the lives and teachings of the Holy Fathers, they’ll not have any interest to imitate them, nor even to hear them. But rather they will complain, saying, “if we had lived in those times, then we would have lived like that.” And the bishops shall give way to the powerful of the world, giving answers on different matters only after taking gifts from everywhere and consulting the rational logic of the academics. The poor man’s rights will not be defended, they will afflict widows, and harass orphans. Debauchery will permeate these people. Most will not believe in God, they will hate each other and devour one another like beasts. The one will steal from the other, they will be drunk and will walk about as blind.

(Excerpts from the book Wilderness Monastery Fathers)

Printing is inherently wicked and worldly at best.