Blandov A. THE CONFESSIONAL PRESENT OF THE TIKHVIN KARELIANS // Proceedings of Petrozavodsk State University. 2023. Vol. 45, No 2, P. 106–111. DOI: 10.15393/

Ethnology, anthropology and ethnography


A. A.
VZMAKH Private School
Tikhvin Karelians
Old Believers
ethno-confessional group
Summary: This article based on the field research carried out in 2020–2022 describes the current confessional situation among the Tikhvin Karelians, a tiny ethnic group that lives in the Boksitogorsk District of the Leningrad Oblast in Russia and since the XVIII century belongs to the Fedoseevtsy movement – the radical denomination of the Old Believers. Insufficient knowledge about non-Russian Old Believers and the lack of information about the current confessional life in the region make this study original and relevant. The study led to the following conclusions. 1) Olga Fishman considered the Tikhvin Karelians as ethno-confessional group where ethnic and confessional characteristics were practically equated (Karelians = Old Believers). Although such a substitution of terms is still valid, the ethnic characteristics certainly became more important. 2) The confessional self-identification of the current population of the Karelian enclave is rather vague. This can be explained by two reasons: the disruption of all external confessional relations and the deaths of the last religious leaders and devout women that continued their legacy (communal prayers in Karelian villages have not been conducted since the early 2000s). 3) Only those women and men who renounced marriage were called the “Old Believers” by the Fedoseevtsy. No contemporary villagers reject marriage, and therefore they do not see themselves as the Old Believers. Most of them were baptized into “old faith”, undertake their daily religious practices without priests, and visit Orthodox churches occasionally.

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