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.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Field Notes From Author
I teamed up with Luda Mekhertyecheva, National Geographic’s Moscow office manager, to search for Old Believers, a Russian religious sect whose members reject modern life to live off the boreal forest. On a cool, rainy day in central Siberia, we drove ten miles (16 kilometers) down a muddy road, walked more than a mile through boreal forest on a steep slippery track, then finally made it to a mist-covered river near the Old Believer village. We tried unsuccessfully to find a path through the forest, then failed to make it upstream along a rocky bank. Finally, our guide decided to bushwhack his way to the village, where he hoped to dispatch some members to pick us up in a boat. He succeeded, and we spent a few hours in the village, talking to residents, eating melons, and sampling homemade beer. One of the Old Believers over-imbibed and nearly capsized our boat on the return trip. He was a sweet man at heart.
[the over-imbided part is conjecture, the drink has more water than beer, nothing happened - forgive, John]
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
International scholarly expeditions doing research in Siberia and Altai, Russia, have come across Old Believers settlements a number of times. For over 300 years, these Old Believers have been living beyond the reach of the civilized world. They have their own calendar, which does not center around the birth of Christ but from "the creation of the world." Their lives are led in difficult labor and the study of ancient texts and prayers.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Can city dwellers master subsistence living skills?