Old Believers one

The Old Believers, 1



beard tradition believe (2)
allow Slavonic civilization
secret medicine leave/left/left
severe head (2) homeland
decide public come back
taste ordinary teach/taught/taught
pray wake up learn by heart
sleeve ward off wear/wore/worn
sew century read/read/read
strict adhere too much
stove end up drink/drank/drunk
bake cannon considered
treat matters household
herb far away supposed to
pain settler not as healthy as
pure schism worldly matters
rather distant revolution
glad disturb forefather






These people live by the traditions of the Seventeenth Century. The Old Believers are Orthodox traditionalists who live very far away from civilization.

Their forefathers left Russia after the 1917 Revolution, and ended up in Latin America.

But these seventy-two (72) Old Believers returned home in 2009.

Ulian, Head of the Community: “We are settlers who came from Bolivia in Latin America. We used to live there, but decided to come back to Russia, our traditional homeland.

Their kids don’t go to ordinary school, but they’re taught how to read and write, and learn the Old Slavonic language.

Elisey, Teacher in Old Believers’ School: “The children start with the ABC’s. 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.”

Schismatics wear traditional clothes sewn by the women. Their dresses and sleeves must cover their entire body. Men always wear beards, as they believe it wards off evil.

They adhere strictly to the cannons of God; however, they drink home-made alcohol during holidays.

They cook all their food on a traditional Russian stove.

Agafya, Old Believer: “I don’t know exactly the secret of the Russian stove. But I do know that the bread we bake it in tastes good. We had Russian stoves back in Uruguay. Having a Russian stove in the household was considered a must.”

They don’t take medicine and treat themselves with herbs. Medication is only allowed when under severe pain.

Marina Plekhanova, Visiting Doctor: “Our children are not as healthy as theirs. They’re healthy from life in such an environmentally pure place.”

Old Believers guard their mode of life very carefully.

Ulian, Head of the Community: “We’re not supposed to be public people: we’d rather not be filmed and shown on television. We’re supposed to lead a quiet life and keep distant from worldly matters.

That’s what we need if we are to keep our traditions. We’d be glad not to be disturbed too much.


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1. The Old Believer live a modern lifestyle in big cities. True or false?

2. Do the Old Believers only live in Russia?

3. The children attend public schools and study with colorful books and computers. Is this right or wrong?

4. Are they a religious or secular group?

5. The Old Believers shop, buy and wear jeans, T-shirts and sneakers from department stores and shopping malls. Is this correct or incorrect?

6. Do they go out and eat hamburgers, hot dogs, pizzas and coke? Are they generally healthy or unhealthy?

7. Are they flamboyant? Do they love to be models, singers, actors?


A. Are there Old Believers, Amish, Mennonites or other traditional communities in your country?

B. What are the advantages, benefits or pros of their lifestyle?

C. Are there any disadvantages, drawbacks or cons of their lifestyle?

D. I love their lifestyle. I want to live like them. Yes or no?

E. What might happen in the future?

F. Should more people live like the Old Believers?

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