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Old Believers in Russia

  1. William H. Parsons

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1013

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Parsons, W. H. 2011. Old Believers in Russia. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


The Russian Orthodox believers who refused to accept the liturgical reforms of Patriarch Nikon carried out from 1652 to 1658 were called “Old Believers.” Nikon tried to bring Russian Orthodox practices in line with the Greek practices of that time. With the support of the Muscovite state, he declared the Russian practices erroneous and subject to suppression. This created a schism in the church, with hundreds of thousands of Old Believers rejecting the changes and being persecuted by the official church and the state.


  • old believers, in Russia;
  • refusing, liturgical reforms of patriarch nikon;
  • old believers, and religious minorities;
  • the old believers in Russia, similar to protestants in Europe