Came across an amazing story recently that really had me processing on the dynamic of what happens when isolation drives your travels.
True disconnection from the world. As said best in the article:
The old man’s name was Karp Lykov, and he was an Old Believer—a member of a fundamentalist Russian Orthodox sect, worshiping in a style unchanged since the 17th century. Old Believers had been persecuted since the days of Peter the Great, and Lykov talked about it as though it had happened only yesterday; for him, Peter was a personal enemy and “the anti-Christ in human form”—a point he insisted had been amply proved by Tsar’s campaign to modernize Russia by forcibly “chopping off the beards of Christians.” But these centuries-old hatreds were conflated with more recent grievances; Karp was prone to complain in the same breath about a merchant who had refused to make a gift of 26 poods [940 pounds] of potatoes to the Old Believers sometime around 1900. Things had only got worse for the Lykov family when the atheist Bolsheviks took power. Under the Soviets, isolated Old Believer communities that had fled to Siberia to escape persecution began to retreat ever further from civilization. During the purges of the 1930s, with Christianity itself under assault, a Communist patrol had shot Lykov’s brother on the outskirts of their village while Lykov knelt working beside him. He had responded by scooping up his family and bolting into forest.
Seeing the history with the Lykovs, from how they lived in a hand-built log cabin to the ways they were unaware of what cities were, I wonder if it was a good thing or a bad thing for them to be where they were at. The history behind what occurred is rather amazing….
It is quite amazing how they were able to survive in that little shack through those cold, frigid winters. And trying to find food. Wow. I really enjoyed reading about their lives today.
I wonder if there are any others today in similar situations that others are not aware of – and what it’d be like for them to come out of experiencing Church as they grew up with and seeing what it developed into. The experience of the Lykovs seemed similar to what has happened with Crypto-Christianity where groups are forced to go underground to practice their faith—and it has been interesting to see how many strains/variations there are with others having the same experience..such as groups like Kakure Kirishtan
, hidden Japanese believers in Japan who went underground after MASSIVE persecution began against believers in the time prior to Japan locking itself away from the
world. Makes you really consider the issue on what it means to be a migrant or a refugee – as they had to flee into remote locations and make due what they had…and thus, other generations disconnected from the experience didn’t necessarily see what they went through as “lack” (like what happened when some of the girls/daughters never grew up seeing bread even though the patriarch/head of the home had previously). Sometimes you wish you didn’t grow up with certain things so that you’d be able to appreciate life without it.I was just talking yesterday with another who grew up in the Syrian Orthodox Tradition and hearing his heart on how he came to trust in Christ – and yet (as an Indian) felt that others in the U.S were too quick to complain on much and yet not see what they had as migrants are quick to realize since they know what it’s like to flee somewhere/have to make do with nothing.
To live and never have any connection with major wars that shaped the nations like WW I-II is something that really hit home for me. For as that family came from those who were Old Believers, those major wars may’ve led to significant losses from others in the Church – but they would’ve been feeling the impact more so from unaddressed wrongs done to them in previous mini-wars. In regards to things such as inquisitions, it’s tragic remembering the terrible persecutions under the Russian Orthodox Church of the Old Believers, such as the protopope Avvakum
, finally burned alive after years of prison….. in light of the resistance he led against the the CHurch in opposition
to many reforms that were made
in 1652 by Nikon… as Patriarch of the Russian Church, initiated a wide range of reforms in Russian liturgy and theology…mostly intended to bring the Russian Church into line with the other Orthodox Churches of Eastern Europe and Middle East.
Reading through the Smitshonian article and seeing the responses of the Lykovs seemed to give the impression that they still were in war mode/concerned with the previous persecutions done to their camp from other eras – and thus, it would not have phased them to see what had happened other major wars. They were truly out of time, IMHO…and so similar to migrants in nations wanting them to “catch up”/support the nation in the wars it fights and yet feeling like the nation doesn’t understand the issues they valued.