ANOTHER PEIPUS STORY: RUSSIAN OLD BELIEVERS IN ESTONIA
In 1652, Patriarch Nikon of the Russian Orthodox Church introduced a number of reforms aimed at centralising his power and bringing the rituals and doctrines of Russian Orthodox in line with those of the Greek Orthodox Church. Old Believers rejected Nikon’s reforms. Consequently, the Old Believers were cruelly persecuted, exiled, tortured and executed all over Russia. Their churches, icons and homes were burnt. As a result they took refuge abroad.
Until now the biggest community of Russian Old Believers in the world has left in Estonia, in areas along the banks of Lake Peipus. Although more than 350 years old traditions are still alive the situation of the old religious community is fragile than ever because of the fast decrease. Old people are dying and young people leaving.