Old Believers 3

The Old Believers, 3




quite ancestor supposed to
quit show (2) rather not
quiet head (3) public (2)
disturb matters keep distant
absent worldly homeland
glad Orthodox believe (2)
cherish migrate come back
follow dream (2) come/came/come
schism sit down sit/sat/sat
trace journey smoke (2)
fall out tradition get/got/got-gotten
curse undertake going to (2)
last (2) raise (2) send/sent/sent
sibling object (3) spend/spent/spent (2)
instead against lead/led/led
wise ignorance old/older/oldest
attend dark (2) teach/taught/taught
way join (2) read/read/read
gather Slavonic write/wrote/written
pray wake up child/children
bed go to bed learn by heart
reform divide (2) wake/woke/woken
pupil as such depends on
group keep (2) distant (2)
use ever since present (2)
reject ancestor say/said/said
Canon rule (2) take/took/taken
pain right (2) take pains to
resist stay (2) agreement
impact wander in search of
globe secluded comfortable
midst field (3) prefabricated
liturgy row (3) stand/stood/stood (3)
rural possible leave/left/left
retreat area (3) tell/told/told


Video: Up to 6:00




Ulyan, Head of the Old Believers Community: “We’re Old Believers; we’re not supposed to be public people. We’d rather not be filmed or shown on television. We’re supposed to live a quiet life and keep distant from worldly matters. That’s what we need if we’re to keep our traditions. We’d be glad not to be disturbed too much.”

This small community of Orthodox traditionalists returned to Russia just over a year ago. Their ancestors emigrated to Latin America in the 1940s.

Coming back to their homeland has been their cherished dream ever since.

Village School Teacher: “Good morning class. Sit down.

“This year we’ve been joined by children from Bolivia. Let’s trace the long journey that these students undertook to get to their new homeland. They came to Primordia through Moscow.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Ulyan, Head of the Old Believers Community: “I only objects to my children going to that school because some of the school children there curse and smoke. In fact they’re raised more by the school than by their own parents.

If we were to send our children to that school we wouldn’t last long.”

Ulyan is the community’s head. The 47 year old man has nine children. He was born in Latin America, like many of the communities members, he spent most of his life there.

Ulyan leads the community because he is the oldest of his siblings who came to Russia with him. There was a falling-out with his younger brother over how their children should be educated.

Ulyan, Head of the Old Believers Community: “We’re not against education as such: learning makes people wise; ignorance is darkness. We always teach our children how to read and write.”

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This is the school attended by the children of the Old Believers classes are still taught the way they were at the time of the schism of the Orthodox Church back in the 17th century.

Children gather in the home of the teacher to learn to read religious books written in the old Slavonic language. The teacher is one of Ulyan’s brothers.

Elisey, School Teacher: “The children start with the ABCs. At first they learn texts by heart and only then do they learn the letters. We learn how to pray: we pray in the morning when we wake up, and in the evening when we go to bed.

All the rules are here.”

The pupils are not divided into groups. Their progress depends on the set of religious books they read.

Elisey, Old Believer: “I teach nothing but the old Slavonic language. If the teacher is absent, mother’s teach their children to read and write instead.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

The old believers take a simple view of education. Since they are Christians and live in the countryside, they need to learn religious rights and farming skills; they have no use for the present-day system of schooling and instead follow their ancestors who strongly rejected of the 17th century reform of Orthodox liturgical Canon.

For the past 300 years they have taken pains to protect their traditions by staying as distant from the outside world as possible, to resist the impact of civilization.

Throughout their history they have wandered the globe in search of the most secluded retreats.

Terenty’s family lives in a prefabricated apartment house which stands in the midst of a field near Kaforka. He has seven children.

Terenty was the only community member to send his children to a state school.

Terenty, Older Believer Ulyan’s Brother: “Before they left for Dersu, there was a row over that school. They said to us, ‘If you don’t send your kids to school, you’re welcome to go with us. Otherwise we’ll do without you.’

We haven’t reached an agreement they left and didn’t tell us.”

Ulyan, Head of the Old Believers Community: “There are so many people with education who live in Russia. And a lot of them . . . well they don’t even have jobs.

We’ve always tried to live and work in rural areas. And we were just as comfortable as those learned people. Certainly we never went hungry.”

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Argentina. If the Old Believers seek justice, do they protest and demonstrate? Do Old Believers aspire to be actors, athletes, models, pop singers?

Bolivia. The Old Believers in the video have lived in eastern Russia for centuries. Is this right or wrong?

Brazil. In the video, did they show a math lesson?

Chile. Can Ulyan and his brothers speak Spanish (or Portuguese)? Does his get along with the rest of his family?

Colombia. Ulyan, the Old Believers elder strongly believes in education. Is this entirely true, mostly true, in the middle, yes and no, largely false, completely false, or it depends.

Ecuador. Describe the traditional Old Believers’ schooling for children. Is it the same, similar to or different from public schools?

Guyana. Would the Old Believers be described as radical, liberal, moderate, conservative or very conservative?

Panama. Does Ulyan like urban life? Does he prefer bright lights, nightclubs, bars, discos, restaurants, operas, concerts, cafes?
Paraguay. Are there Old Believers, Amish, Mennonites, Lipovans in your community, region or country? Where do they live?

Peru. Describe their lifestyle. Describe their way of life.

Suriname. My friends and I would like to live like the Old Believers. Yes or no?

Uruguay. What might happen in the future?

Venezuela. Could “normal, modern” people learn something from the Old Believers?

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