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Old Believers in Daugavpils

Old Believers in Daugavpils

Old Believers is a religious movement that arose as a result of the split, when groups and churches in Russia did not accept the reform of the Orthodox Church. In our today’s article, we’re going to tell you about the history of Old Believers, and why and when first Old Believers appeared in Latvia, as well as about the history of Old Believers in Daugavpils.

Why and when Old Believers appeared in Latvia

The first Old Believers appeared in the territory of Latvia in the 17th century. It happened because of the persecutions against the opponents of the reforms of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to some historical sources, the first Old Believers groups appeared in the Duchy of Courland. Later, they settled in Latgale near the city of Dinaburg (now Daugavpils) at the place called Liginiski, where their first praying house was built.

Why and when Old Believers appeared in Latvia

In the 18th century, Old Believers began to settle in Latgale because of its geographical and religious and political remoteness from the official church.  At present, there are about 80 thousand Old Believers in Latvia. Majority of them live in Daugavpils where there are 6 Old Believers communities. Now, Latgale is considered as one of the Old Believers centers.

Old Believers in Daugavpils

Daugavpils is considered to be the most Russian-speaking city in Latvia and it is the only city in the world which has 6 Old Believers praying houses. Daugavpils is also referred to as Old Believers Jerusalem.  The main Old Believers church in Daugavpils is the praying house of the 1st Daugavpils Old Believers community – Old Believers Praying House of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Nicholas. The construction of the praying house began in 1908 and it was completed in 1928.

Old Believers in Daugavpils

Old Believers village Slutiski

The Old Believers village Slutiski is situated not far from Daugavpils in Naujene Parish on the bank of the Daugava River. The village was first mentioned in 1785. It also hosts an open-air part of the Naujene Museum of Regional Studies where you can see the exposition “Old Believers House” which introduces you with the culture and lifestyle of Old Believers. Our foreign students often go on excursion to the Old Believers village of Slutiski.

Old Believers village Slutiski

Now you know when and why Old Believers appeared in Latvia and in our city of Daugavpils. We hope you’ll find this information useful.

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