Articles Documents Old Believers Valihov, Silvestre

Letter to Old Believer Pastors

Supplement to John Hudanish, Two ROCOR Bishop and the Russian Old Believers in Oregon

Dear _______________!

Recently in our communities in Oregon, Minnesota, Canada and Alaska, there arose a scandal concerning the arrangement of fingers in the old icons which we have received from our pious ancestors, known and unknown, who had prayed before these very icons for more than three hundred years. Some of our people began to condemn others, calling heretics everyone who refused to reject certain, very old icons because of the arrangement of fingers. They started telling falsehoods and slandering their brethren. They poured out upon their neighbors the fury of their anger, and they besmirched the reputations of good people with lies. Indeed they called me a heretic, and then they excommunicated me. And I am not the only one they excommunicated.

Is it their intention to excommunicate all of our ancestors, whose remains now await the Second Coming in South America, in China and in Russia?

I cannot and will not reject the old icons our forefathers gave us, for I do not consider myself wiser than all the preceding generations of Orthodox Christians, the majority of which I have never seen. I am certain that there were learned people among them. And therefore I shall not judge them. I would be afraid to judge them, because I myself am marginally literate. In the Gospel of St. Matthew it is written, “Judge ye not, and ye shall not be judged.” (Matt 7:1)

Furthermore, it is better not to make a great fuss over the arrangement of fingers. Whenever we gather to pray, we give glory to the Lord God, and not to icons. Icons are only the spiritual windows through which we see the unseen world. Indeed, as we read in [the Gospel of St.] Mark:

“And one of the scribes, having heard how well He answered them, asked Him: Which is the first of all the commandments; Jesus answered him: The first of all the commandments. Hear, O Israel

“Love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, the whole soul, thy whole mind and thy whole strength: This is the first commandment.

“And the second is like unto the first: Love thy neighbor as thyself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

The Lord Jesus Christ never said anything about the arrangement of fingers. But clearly He wants us to love God and our neighbor. “If thou lovest God with thy whole heart, thy whole mind, thy whole soul and thy whole strength, and if thou lovest thy neighbor as thyself, this is greater than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And greater than the arrangement of fingers.

And therefore I courteously – with humility and love – suggest, that henceforth we refrain from anger, lies, accusations, judgments, and all denunciations. We are all sinners. Shall sinners judge sinners?

In Solomon’s Book of Proverbs it is written: “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established:” (Proverbs, 24:3)

Let us work with each other and build a house together. Here I ask that everyone attentively read the following list. These 16 points may be our bricks with which we shall build a firm foundation for a house wherein we shall all live together in peace and harmony.

  1. We must not judge others. This is for God to do
  2. The Lord Jesus Christ has said that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Therefore, we must not slander or spread falsehoods about our neighbor.
  3. More than 350 years ago, our ancestors rejected Patriarch Nikon’s innovations [into the liturgical services] , and so they began to be called Old Believers. And Nikon himself became angry and persecuted the Old Believers. But it is not appropriate to judge either Patriarch Nikon or our ancestors now, since they all died long ago and have been judged. Our Lord God has already judged them all, and we pray that He has judged them according to His great mercy.
  4. One can always verify a fact. But not all opinions can be proven. Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but we must not present our personal, unverifiable opinions as firm, immutable facts.
  5. All the main dogmas of the Orthodox Church are contained in the Symbol of Faith.
  6. There is nothing written in the Symbol of Faith about cutting one’s beard, about the sign of the cross, about the arrangement of fingers, about the double or triple alleluias, about the number of prosphora used at the proskomedia. All these are local customs and rituals, and not dogmas.
  7. A heretic is someone who rejects any dogma contained in the Symbol of Faith, or who adds a dogma to the Symbol of Faith. Because all essential dogmas of the Orthodox Church are to be found in the Symbol of Faith.
  8. The Orthodox Church of Christ has from ancient times permitted variations in local practices upon condition of unity in the truths of the Faith.
  9. When Patriarch Nikon and Archpriest Avvakum lived on this earth, there was no telephone, no telegraph, no radio, no television and no Internet. There wasn’t even a postal service. It was difficult to maintain contact with each other over long distances. Our ancestors could not know how the faithful lived, worked and worshiped God in distant lands beyond the forests, seas and high mountains.
  10. Today, however, information and knowledge is available to everyone. For example, everyone living in the 21st Century can easily verify that in the Ottoman Empire, the faithful of the Greek Orthodox Church suffered under the Turkish yoke, and many of them became martyrs for the sake of Christ, despite the fact that they trimmed their beards and crossed themselves with three fingers. Scholarly research clearly shows that similarities and differences exist in Orthodox worship services, depending on where the faithful reside. Today one can verify such information without difficulty, thanks to improvements in communications technology.
  11. Three hundred and fifty years ago Archpriest Avvakum was certain that the Lord God Himself heard the prayers of the faithful only through the Old Rite. But Avvakum did not know, and could not know, how the Orthodox were praying in distant lands.
  12. Today we are able to glorify God freely and openly in accordance with the Old Rite. But we must not judge other Orthodox Christians from among the Arabs, Greeks, Romanians, Georgians, Ukrainians, Russians and Mexicans, who glorify God through other rites.
  13. We may not call a person a heretic who sincerely confesses all the dogmas contained in the Symbol of Faith simply because he shaves his beard and crosses himself with three fingers. Since this person does not reject any basic dogma, we may not call him a heretic.
  14. In 1976, Bishop Nektary, a hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, came to Woodburn, made a full prostration – forehead to the floor – before Avram Semerikov, and asked forgiveness of us – through Avram – for the persecution of our ancestors. Bishop Nektary greatly valued our pious way of life, and wished to restore to us the precious Body and Blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  15. Jesus Christ said: “…unless you eat the body of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven: Not as your fathers ate the manna and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”  (John 6:53-58)  In ancient times the Orthodox frequently partook of the Holy Mysteries, that is, they ate the Body of Christ and drank His Blood during the Divine Liturgy. Our ancestors before Nikon received Communion in the Russian Orthodox Church, and today we are also called to the Holy Mysteries. But we do not receive Communion because we are without clergy.
  16. We believe in One, Holy, Universal and   Apostolic Church. And therefore we must seek out this Church and, when we find Her, join ourselves to her. Only there shall we find the Body and Blood of our Saviour.

Let everyone who reads this letter ask enlightenment and peace of the Holy Spirit.

Let everyone who does not agree with any of these 16 points verify them for himself; all manner of information and knowledge is accessible to all.

Let everyone who freely embraces all these aforementioned points gather together and in charity help one other along the narrow path which leads to the heavenly kingdom.

Translated by John Hudanish 


  • What actions has Silvester taken personally to seek salvation? Has he take the Holy Communion? Has he accepted the ROC? I was impressed with his courage to write such a letter to his brethren. I’m troubled, that he only did so after being excommunicated from his faction. Unfortunately the elder never states the direction & steps his followers need to take to find salvation and reconciliation with the ROC…neither does he prostrate himself to this fellow dissidents for sitting in judgment of them all these years in his ‘molena’. Nor does he ask forgiveness for knowingly misleading his brethren and family these past 4 decades. He knew the ROC was available to his faction all these years and never had the courage to “ask enlightenment and peace of the Holy Spirit” by seeking and joining the Holy Russian Orthodox Church where he may have the Holy Communion.

  • Old Believer – Why do you question what is outside of you when you should be questioning what you should do for yourself. 4 decades or 350 years – your soul is still YOUR soul. what you do for it is still YOUR responsibility.

  • How can you say it doesn’t matter how many fingers you use to cross yourselves it does matter
    That is why when teaching our children the azbuka it clarifies there right away on how you should put your fingers together and how you should cross your self.

  • How can one be so ignorant! Yet insinuate acceptance. I will not judge but what kind of bible are you reading from?? It clearly states in the Bible how the fingers should be placed to cross ones self. To make yourself oblivious to what is practiced in the religion makes you the fool and ultimately in the wrong. To preach to others what one is doing is totally okay is not your place i.e. implying that it doesn’t state in the Bible about cutting beards or how to cross one self with however many fingers, are words only the devil himself would say. If you find cutting your beard or crossing yourself with 3 fingers that is your own belief but it does not say that in the Bible and for that exact reason why there are so many Russians who are old believers for the very reason they chose to follow what the Bible teaches and preserve that right of way. Also a fine example about the 350 year old icons our ancestors prayed to, they had no idea they were wrong and for that god does judge accordingly. Example: here we are in lent, for years I’ve been eating this specific type of chocolate, my grandparents used to eat it, my parents used to eat it, I eat it and finally passing this chocolate tradition down to my children bc it delicious and it’s vegan perfect for lent, now that I have access to information I want the recipe, so I search for it (follow me with this) to my surprise I find out that this very chocolate that I’ve been eating and my family before me that consumed it, it contains MILK, so now that I know that this chocolate isn’t vegan as a matter of fact should I still consume it? Because my family before me used to consume it? No of course not! It’s a fine example, if the icons were wrong all along and no one knew until we figured it out that they have been wrong all along why then would you pray to an icon that has a blasphemy cross! The very icons that have been passed down that hold the wrong cross symbols sadly the blasphemy goat holds himself. If it was found to be wrong why continue to deffend? There are also many icons 300+ years old that actually hold the correct symbol, The old rite is all about preserving the way and the word of god and that is exactly what the old believes intend to do. Read the Bible and you will know.

    • Old believer- i was born into a family that is comes from old believer heritage and ive had questions but no one really seems to know , alot of people do things because the comunity expects it from them and they believe god laid out these ways for them , i believe that everything that is expected of us to live a holy life is clearly stated in gods holy texts, therefore i would expect that icons , and not cutting beards to emulate jesus would be in the scripture . Do you know where i could find it?

  • Old Believer,
    Why is it that the old ancestors didn’t know the 350+ icons were wrong? It is because Google didnt exist or technology wasn’t up to date back then? That people know more now since they can research it on the Internet?

    • Staroveri-
      When I say research I was implying as people reading and understanding the Bible for that fact, It is blantly stated right there how to place the fingers and cross ones self. It Even depicts in the azbuka. For many families a lot of people have known back then about the wrong icons since the raskol, this dilemma goes far back with the mix up of icons, families back then have been torn and some couldn’t tell the difference which were right and which were wrong that’s why when I say educate yourself I don’t mean to serf the internet for answers, search the saltir the ustaf, and the rest of the Slavic bibles that carry all the answers you seek. Also as I stated in my last comment there has been old icons 300+ years old that hold the correct symbol. There are not a lot of educated elders left any more who all understood the Bible, it was our era that figured out that we have been praying to wrongfully crossed icons. Since they have been deemed wrong why not just pray to the baphomet goat he holds the exact symbol too. You see God was very strategic and precise it’s the only way to salvation if you do it right. Therefore we had precise instructions, if your not holding it right your breaking the cross that’s where the wrong icons come in to play.

  • Old Believer,
    So do you believe that their is a cross we all prey with, (we all hold it the same) and one form of cross ( fingers put together) God blessed this world with and will be holding on his 2nd return?

    • Wow what exactly are you trying to say Staroveri? Of course one cross! Through Jesus Christ our lord he leads us and teaches one cross only only through this we find salvation! To break the cross on a belief with no backup or proof is heresy.
      Btw- it’s pray not **prey
      And old believer- it’s always good to have someone educated to voice this sort of situation. Although I have to say to those who don’t open there eyes, knock on wood. Silvestre valihov was a child molester he is that last man you’d ever wanna take advice from let alone learn about religion, he is a sick man!!

  • Yes it does say how to put together the fingers we cross with. Кормчия, Псалтырь, Азбука, are the most read and there is an ocean of scripture that says the exact same thing over and over. The main thumbfinger and the smaller of the two to be put together that represent The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, The other two bigger fingers straighten them together than the second lower finger bend slightly to represent that god lowered the heavens for Jesus Christ to come to save human kind from sin. That where going into hell because of Adams sin of signing of the soul to the devil. All human kind that went to hell after death. words of scripture is strong.. God says the human kind is damned if an individual does not pray or bless with this cross.

  • I do have something to say, to those who agree and disagree, for those of you who have (left) our original churches who our ancestors have founded I do have a question,
    Since you guys left then think of getting re baptized, re married, and dig up the grave and re bury the dead, because (original) church members are dogs, ( neev mastee)
    Sick fucks!!! I dare you to go and do those three things mentioned above

    • If you are an old believer or any domination Christian, you would please refrain from using such language. Sadly many of our old believers have adopted the F word and use it as an adjective noun verb adverb etc etc. But to use such language during a religious discussion? Don’t call yourself an Old Believer or any kind of Christian!

  • Last post by this -he who calls himself “old believer”- is not me commenting just to clear things up a bit. If you guys (double crossers) are so right and we are so wrong then why are we not considered Не вместе to your kind? we want no part of those who go against gods word but rather preserve the way the Bible depicts, you are considered Не вместе for the sole reason that your kind refuses to accept that certain icons being worshiped are wrong! When you find something wrong you fix it, you don’t continue on, that is the original way, it has nothing to do with re-marring, or re-burying etc. you my friend a special kind of stupid. It never seems to faze me how on earth you all could be so selectively blind to the truth. Follow the Bible it literally cannot be anymore simplified then that! You cannot ever break the cross! Why is that so hard to sink in? Must be pride.

    • # to last post, why can you not answer my question? As far as to those who have been married, born, and buried in our churches? You speak wisely, I asked a simple question, explain yourself to your thoughts. Seems like everyone knows about the crosses and the bible, why can you not answer this question? Is pride holding you back?

    • It bothers a lot of people, like mentioned above, “if you find something wrong you fix it”, I do consider myself a Christian, I do love and try to teach my children the way I was raised, my question is very simple,

      Aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandparents who were raised in our churches, I know many people who have ( left) regardless of who is right or who is wrong, all I have is a simple question that nobody can seem to answer,

      My question is simple “You were baptized, born or married in “our churches” or a relative has been buried in our church, why now, because of the crosses and politicians, “have you abandoned them”? Or yourself?

      Let me set it straight, very simple, actually, I got married, had 1 kid, wife’s side says were the wrong way, leaves,

      Am I married? Is my kid baptized? She left, were the wrong way, what about my uncle who we all buried, all of you were there, now you can’t even come to my house and eat out of my plates??, weren’t you there in church? Praying on our icons? Eating out of our same dishes? Again this prior to this controversy, why can’t anyone answer this question!!!!!

  • Nobody ever won anybody over to their way of thinking by being derogatory and calling them stupid. Like it was pointed out to the other Old Believer, since this is a religious discussion, please refrain from such language. Don’t you think quoting bible scripture is more appropriate? Oh here’s one: A true Christian is recognized by their good fruit. Any tree that bears bad fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire!

  • Old Believer wrote on March 5th that: “It clearly states in the Bible how the fingers should be placed to cross ones self.”

    I ask Old Believer to identify that Chapter and Verse in the Bible where I may read this instruction.

    • Mr. Hudanish, When Old Believers say such and such is written in the Bible, they don’t really mean ‘The Bible’. What we mean by that is any Holy Writings, rules and regulations handed down to us by The Holy Fathers, such John Chrysostom, Gregory the Great, etc etc.

  • I believe Jesus didn’t write the bible it’s man’s writings.I believe the bible but feel thru years people might have intercepted it to what they matter what religion you should be welcomed over heRs here I’ve seen churches decidewith hate for others over tthis gods wishes ?as he was dying on the cross he said father forgive them for they know not what they do .also God didn’t have a religion nor churches.I’ve been in old believers twenty seven yeRs an like it but am troubled with the anger and arguing over these thing a I stead of loving each other as God said to do .it seems to be lost by many .

    • Mr. Hudanish, I am surprised by your comment that the Bible is mans writings! The Bible was written by God, men were only an instrument through whom the Holy Spirit spoke God’s word!

    • I am sorry to see that somebody, mistakenly I hope, posted under the name of John Hudanish. John has never written that “bible it’s man’s writings”. He just informed me that somebody impersonated him in the post above. Please refrain from using foul language here or presenting yourself under different names.

  • Col 3:8-10 “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”
    It would be wonderful to hear what many sides of the Old Believer groups have to say, but mostly it’s embarrassing. How are we representing ourselves as the world is watching us and reading our comments?
    Calling ourselves Christians does not necessarily make us Christians: Matt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

  • Again in the letter .
    “. The Orthodox Church of Christ has from ancient times permitted variations in local practices upon condition of unity in the truths of the Faith.”
    From the letter^^

    OK so if you believe in what you said yourself. The why do you believe in two crosses. And you also believe the are both right. On the same ikona. Since both ikoni are ancient..

    It all comes down to .”who and wich trib or group of religion do you wanna join..

    Old believers are not backing down in their faith. Catholics arnt rather . Nobody is changing anything to join your beliefs.

    So why not since you believe in both. So for the sake of peace in our local old believers church just choose one. And only one cross on the icons . “For the sake of peace”

    And let. Know one tell me that sertion ikoni only exist with second cross I have seen very old ikoni with the one and only cross and I seen many if not all..

  • Double crossers acting like they were born into a house with a leaky roof. Instead of fixing the leak, excuses and justifications are made for the leak because it’s always been there. Everything may seem fine and dandy until the hole in your house brings the hold thing down. Rather than fix the issue, seems to make more sense to pretend it’s not a big deal. Logical. Everybody just wants to be on team so they can hate on the other team. If you identify yourself as a double crosser, stop and look up the actual dictionary definition of a double crosser. It’s almost as if to be double crossing the whole religion in general. And if you don’t want to change teams because your friends are all on one side, let’s grow up. If they stop being your friend, they were never your friend to begin with.

  • Again in the letter .
    “ The Orthodox Church of Christ has from ancient times permitted variations in local practices upon condition of unity in the truths of the Faith.”
    From the letter^^

    OK so do you believe in what you said yourself. Above. Then why do you believe in two crosses. And why are you willing to change your ways for “unity” but not willing to join the old believers that believe in one cross on the ikona. And you also believe that both crosses are right on the same ikona.
    both ikoni are ancient.
    It all comes down to one question.”wich trib or group of religion do you wanna join.?”
    Old believers are not backing down in their faith. Catholics arnt either . Nobody is changing anything to join your beliefs.
    So why not since you believe in both crosses. And you believe in “Unity” So for the sake of peace in our local old believers church, just choose one. Choose only one cross on the icons .
    “For the sake of peace”
    And let no one tell me that certain ancient ikoni “only” exist with the second cross. I have seen very old ikoni with the one and only cross and I seen many, if not all.

  • Divisions that lead to church splits are a sad and all-too-common occurrence in the body of Christ. The effects of a church split, regardless of the cause, can be devastating. Church splits distress and dismay mature believers, disillusion new believers, cause havoc in the lives of pastors and their families, and bring reproach upon the name of Christ. But there is hope; churches that split can experience healing and restoration.

    Churches are like hospitals, full of wounded and sick people, but in the church the sickness is sin and the wounds are those we inflict upon ourselves and one another because of sin. One sin that causes multiple problems is a lack of forgiveness. No Christian is perfect, and no pastor or elder or deacon is perfect. When all these imperfect people get together, disagreements, hurt feelings and misunderstandings are inevitable. If our expectations of others are too high, disappointment is inevitable and can cause further feelings of hurt and resentment. Our response to one another should be to forgive one another in kindness and compassion (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13) and in Christian love, which covers a multitude of sins, followed by an increased commitment to serve one another (1 Peter 4:8-11). Once we are committed to forgiving, loving and serving one another, we will see each other’s differences in a new light. But if we react to differences of opinion by taking sides and gossiping, the split will widen, more harm will be done to the church members, and our message to the world will be further compromised.

    A church split may happen when someone seeks to manipulate people and/or events for his own ends. It may be that there is pride in rule-keeping, and those who do not keep the same rules are ill-treated. It may be that a pet interpretation of doctrine is emphasized and used as a litmus test for belonging to the “in” group. Or, it could be that someone wants to wrest leadership from the pastor or elders and rallies a group of people around himself to accomplish a coup d’état. Sadly, difference of opinion regarding music and worship style is also a frequent cause of division in the church. The excuses for the conflict are numerous, but they all stem from the same root cause—pride and selfishness. James 4:1-3 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

    Also to be considered is that not all who sit in church week after week are truly Christians. Not all who name the name of Christ belong to Him, a truth He made clear in Matthew 7:16-23. We can identify both the true and the false by the fruits they produce. True Christians show forth the fruit of the Spirit who indwells them (Galatians 5:22-23), while the tares among the wheat sow discord and dissension. We need to be on guard for those the enemy places among us and exercise both wisdom and discernment, utilizing church discipline when necessary (Matthew 18:15-20) and speaking the truth in love in all things (Matthew 10:16; Ephesians 4:15).

    Ultimately, the church is only as strong as its individual members, which is why Paul admonishes the church in Rome to behave decently, “not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy” (Romans 13:13). Church members are influenced daily by an immoral culture, and one hour a week in church is wholly inadequate to counter the culture. The church is so influenced by secular culture that we think, talk and act in its image, instead of in the image of our Head, the Lord Jesus. The world’s standard is one of self-promotion, self-esteem, and self-worship, and other people have value only insofar as they are willing to idolize us the way we idolize ourselves. Such an attitude always leads to “dissension and jealousy,” the inevitable results of worshipping the god of self. The cure is found in Titus 2:11-13: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” God’s grace, shed upon those who belong to Him through faith in Christ, enables us to deny worldly passions, put away immorality and live in godly humility toward one another: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

    Church splits are healed through repentance and humility. If there is disagreement, the best would be for both sides to repent of anything said or done in an unloving manner during the disagreement. Repentance includes seeking forgiveness from the party offended by another’s behavior. In humility, each should accept the other’s apology, committing to go forward in the bonds of Christian love.

    There is one particular case where leaving a group would be appropriate. If the leadership of a church abandons scriptural stands on key issues like the deity of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth, God as Creator, the inspiration and authority of Scripture, or other foundational doctrines, then it is appropriate (and perhaps obligatory) to leave that group.

    The causes of divisions in the church are many, but ultimately the main reason for a church split is that someone has taken his focus off of Jesus Christ and begun to use the church organization for his own ends. The church is to be more organism (living thing) than organization. The apostle Paul uses the analogy of the body to describe the church. In 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, he calls the church the body of Christ. We are to be the body which does the will of the Head, Jesus Christ. If everyone in the body is focused on doing the will of God and on worshipping Jesus Christ in love and humility, then there may be disagreement, but the disagreement will be worked out in a loving and kindly manner.

  • Please refrain from calling people double crosser’s. Did God walk around and preach and call people names? No he only showed love. He walked into any home he was welcome into. Now a days is that what we see? No, you can socialize, eat with or out of dishes as others. Who put you above everyone else? What made you so holy that you think your higher than others? Please find it in the Bible where it says to kick people out of church if they don’t sign, to leave your spouse if she or he doesn’t follow your belief and that you can go live in sin with another woman/man and get remarried. Please show proof of that. Sad people were brainwashed thinking you have to have hatred and call each other names and kick others out of homes, weddings, churches. So sad, how do you call yourselves Christains and followers of Christ? You guys kicked out the man who donated his land to God to build God’s house for people to pray in. What Christian does that? Or does that sound more like the devil won in that argument? He pushed people to follow these rules and tore families, marriages apart. Is that something God would do? No, so tell me who’s trap you fell for. It’s written that in the end of times religions would be falling apart and people will go against each other. And that is what is happening now. And who can we thank for that?
    Yes we agree there is 1 cross. We all pray the same. We all hold our fingers the same way in the form of a cross. But yes there are icons with God holding his fingers in another form of a cross. One he blessed the world with, and will be holding when he comes down from heaven to judge us all. You ask for us to agree to your beliefs, for the sake of peace, here is what I will tell you! Why should we agree on the sake of peace? This lifetime is limited, we are not in this world forever. When we die, and will be standing before God, will your ‘sake of peace’ save me from hell for going against my belief? No! We have showed numerous times from the bible and scriptures showing proof of where it is written how to hold your finger and where to place them. We don’t prey using God’s symbol. So stop brainwashing all the younger generation. More then half of them can’t stand going to church and listening to you guys judging and critisizing us. Your side comes to our weddings, they are served out of the same dishes, cups and sat at the same tables, parents of bride or groom get to sit right across their children on their wedding day. Just like Jesus Christ would do. But if we come to your side, we are sat way in the back parents or not, served with plastic like we are animals. People don’t even come up to you to talk or serve you. Instead stand in the corner saying we aren’t serving those double crosser’s! Does that sound like a Christian? Does that sound humble? They way God asked us to be towards one another?! Or does that sound like hatred and evil?! Exactly what the devil wants!

    • We get that we all pray the same way hold our fingers the same way, but your words are blasphemous. No where in the Bible does it state that God blessed the world holding a different cross. That is just not real and it’s just a ploy you made up to justify the fact that you think it’s okay to pray to ikoni that aren’t correct. You’re blind with pride and arrogance and you sound like a democrat. Unless you can definitively say that all the churches for 2 at weddings allowed the 1 parents of the groom or bride to sit at the same table I don’t want to hear you talking nonsense that you’re always welcoming because that is not true either. Without naming names, it is well known of single crosser parents not being able to sit at the same table at certain weddings. WWJD? Have you ever heard that phrase? Would Jesus Christ pray to the wrong ikona, knowingly? Wouldn’t he tell you that it’s wrong and needs to be fixed in order to pray the right way? It’s hard to have a conversation with someone who isn’t ready to be wrong. That is a conversation that goes nowhere.

    • First before you comment or express your opinions, read the Bible. Get your facts straight. God created the world and it doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible how he blessed everything it’s something you guys made up to justify yourselves. Arrogance and ignorance is not going to save you. You’re a joke and for your information it’s Jesus that is gonna come down to earth and judge us not God.

  • “One can always verify a fact. But not all opinions can be proven. Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but we must not present our personal, unverifiable opinions as firm, immutable facts.” You said it yourself. NOW Can you please keep your opinions to yourself John.

    • To Anna:

      You quoted from the Letter to Old Believer pastors: “’One can always verify a fact. But not all opinions can be proven. Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but we must not present our personal, unverifiable opinions as firm, immutable facts.’ You said it yourself. NOW Can you please keep your opinions to yourself John.”

      Anna, the purpose of this forum is to share opinions. I am sorry you object to my postings, but I hope you will understand that, while we may not agree with the opinions of others, still we must respect their right to express themselves. And, when we have verifiable information that refutes someone else’s opinion, we may choose to share it on the forum.

      I have never posted any opinion which is not supported by verifiable facts. In other words, everything I have posted can be verified by anyone who cares enough to make the effort. So, Anna, you may be sure that I will continue to post factual information, and those who seek truth can research and verify for themselves whatever I post.

      This is how we learn and grow.

  • Logically speaking,
    It was shown more than once where in the bible it describes him with the blessing of his hands. It is you who has too much pride and doesn’t want to believe. As for the parents not sitting at the first table, the new believers chose to sit at another table. Bc they are afraid of what the leaders or people of their church wud think. They arent afraid of God, their afraid of people and their judgement and getting put in the back of church for months at a time!

  • Logically speaking,
    It was shown more than once where in the bible it describes him with the blessing of his hands. It is you who has too much pride and doesn’t want to believe. As for the parents not sitting at the first table, the new believers chose to sit at another table. Bc they are afraid of what the leaders or people of their church wud think. They arent afraid of God, their afraid of people and their judgement and getting put in the back of church for months at a time!

  • Where does it say that it is different from the way we are supposed to hold our cross? It doesn’t. You’re making that up as justification. Don’t make me laugh.

  • Mr. Hudanovich !….. it’s all in “Псалтырь” starting from the beginning of the holly bible , before “1st -кафизма- where on top saids “О крестом знамение” it’s about 7-8 pages long. Read it not once or twice…..but 10 times.

  • To “Concerned:”

    Your wrote: “When Old Believers say such and such is written in the Bible, they don’t really mean ‘The Bible’. What we mean by that is any Holy Writings, rules and regulations handed down to us by The Holy Fathers, such John Chrysostom, Gregory the Great, etc etc.”

    In response, I suggest that anyone who uses the word “Bible” interchangeably with “any Holy Writings, rules and regulations handed down to us by The Holy Fathers, such (as) John Chrysostom, Gregory the Great, etc.,” is in error. The contents of the book which we call the “Bible,” are exalted and sacred. No one short of an ecumenical council may add to it and take a book away from it.

    According to the Gospels, written by the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus did not personally write anything.

    In addition to the Gospel that bears his name, St. Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles. St. Paul wrote 14 Epistles, St. Peter wrote two, St. Jude wrote one, and St. John wrote three Epistles and Revelations. These are the books of the New Testament.

    The Bible is actually a collection of sacred writings canonized by the assembled bishops of the early Church at the Council of Jerusalem (first or second century), the Council of Laodicaia (364 AD) and the Council of Carthage (418-419 AD).

    Historians tell us that this process of canonization involved asking guidance of the Holy Spirit, and then going through several dozen books, rejecting some and validating others. Among the books validated and containing Truth, there was a special category, i.e., books that were both true AND inspired by God. All the books in this special, inspired category were canonized. In other words, the bishops at the aforementioned councils sent out a general epistle to all the Christian
    communities, encouraging them to read only these inspired books in their churches.

    And it wasn’t until a thousand years had passed – in 1456 – that a German, Johannes Gutenberg from the city of Mainz, assembled the world’s first printing press and published a Latin translation of all the canonized books together as one large volume between two heavy, wooden covers. He called it :”Biblia,” which in Latin means “The Book.”

    Gutenberg included no other books in his Biblia. And since Gutenberg’s day, no God-fearing followers of Jesus Christ would dare to add to or to take away from the list of canonized books who has labored under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

    To “Fighting for truth,”

    You wrote: “…it’s all in ‘Псалтырь’ starting from the beginning of the holly bible, before 1st -кафизма- where on top saids ‘О крестом знамение’ it’s about 7-8 pages long. Read it not once or twice…..but 10 times.”

    First of all, the Psalter is not in the beginning of the Bible. It’s about halfway through the Old Testament.

    Secondly, I have five or six copies of the Bible, in various languages and translations. There are no instructions on making the Sign of the Cross in any of the Bibles I have. It’s possible that someone added such instructions to an earlier edition of the Bible, a copy of which you presently have.

    In other words, if you have a Bible in which instructions on making the Sign of the Cross are included at the beginning of the Psalter, those instructions were never canonized by the bishops of the early church.

    And the same goes if you have a Psalter as a separate volume with instructions on making the Sign of the Cross. Absolutely no one was making the Sign of the Cross in the time of King David and King Solomon, the authors of the psalms. They lived out their years long, long before the Nativity of Jesus. So it it obvious that any instructions on making the Sign of the Cross was a much later addition.

  • ATTENTION: John hudanish;
    many copies of biblical scriptures were made to which through out the years have excluded crucial information, (the placing of fingers and crossing ones self) is a fine example since you say you cannot find it anywhere. For hundreds of years preserving, why on earth would you believe that it was “added”? Because “copies” mentioned nothing of it? To practice and preserve the way of life in our holy scripture, you CANNOT add and you CANNOT subtract, as for the copies many many crucial information was left out. No surprise there for lack of knowledge. For years many have attempted to break the cross and brainwash people there is either no existence of a “right” cross or there isn’t any at all, don’t be fooled only because the devil never sleeps, if god was not spesific in giving us precise instructions then he would have just wrote a note (be faithful to me) instead of having to go out of his way and have endless information to enternal life written in these precious scriptures.

    • To “Don’t be fooled.”

      If you can find a copy, please buy “СТОГЛАВ.” It was first published in Russia in 1863 by the Imperial Academy of the Sciences in St. Petersburg. The copy I have was printed by Bradda Books, Ltd., in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, England, in 1971.

      Prof. W. F. Ryan, of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at the University of London, explains in the INTRODUCTION as follows:

      “The ‘Stoglav’ (One Hundred Chapters) is a record of the proceedings of the Church Council summoned by Ivan the terrible in Moscow in 1551. Its name arises from the fact that it is arranged in one hundred ‘chapters’, probably in imitation of the ‘Sudebnik’ (Code of Law) issued in the previous year. The work is of interest mainly as an historical document, but it is not without some literary significance. Ivan himself was the author of many of the chapters, and one side of his curious double character – his preoccupation with religious writing and his own quaisi-sacerdotal role as Tsar – is very evident.”

      If you are fortunate enough to find a copy of this very rare book, please read Chapter 31 (ЛА). In it you will find instructions on how to position the fingers of your right hand when making the Sign of the Cross with two fingers.

      As far as I have been able to determine, this is the earliest instruction on making the Sign of the Cross. And I suspect it was included in subsequent editions of the Psalter printed in Russia. You are already aware, I think, that the printing press did not appear in Russia until the 1590s.

      If you can identify any earlier (before 1551) instructions on making the Sign of the Cross, please share it on this forum. We already know what you believe, but can you offer us documentary proof that instructions on making the Sign of the Cross were part of the original Bible canonized at the Councils of Jerusalem, Laodicea and Carthage? Or perhaps even in Gutenberg’s “Biblia” published in Mainz in 1456? A passionately held conviction which is not supported by objective evidence will not do.

      And, by the way, after Gavril Alekseievich Kuznetsov taught me how to make the Sign of the Cross, I have always used two fingers as he instructed me. That was forty-five years ago. But I understand that there are a number of other traditions wherein Orthodox Christians cross themselves with other digital arrangements. It is a matter of local customs, and I make no judgment about it.

      As Silvestre Valihov had noted, “ The Orthodox Church of Christ has from ancient times permitted variations in local practices upon condition of unity in the truths of the Faith.” So you may make the Sign of the Cross as you have been taught. Please don’t judge others who do it differently.

  • it is very strange how this letter starts with inner old believers’ tensions and from there jumps right into the union with ROC (if I don’t misunderstand him)

  • Reading about the argument about the right and wrong crosses (double crossers.) there are comments that there was no cross during Gods chosen Kings.
    In the time of the Old Testament there was a holy cross of the holy trinity in the King David and King Solomon days there was the alter were a lamb was to be sacrificed for the sin of human kind. The times were Egypt was judged by god through Moses. The judgement of the first born was to die by death by the Holy Spirit if the people did not sacrifice a lamb and in trinity paint blood on there doors for the death to pass them as death passed through Egypt.
    Then another place where Moses spread his arms in a form of a cross when they fought the war against the rebels the Israelites successful of fighting successfully while Moses held his arms spread in the form of the holy cross once his arms started tiring and Moses couldn’t hold his arms stretched out in the form of the cross the Israelites were getting to be over taken by the rebels so two of his followers helped him hold his arms in the form of the cross one on the left the other on the right until the battle was won. Example too us even if we break a little we will be tortured by god in hell. Is because god is so holy that no sin can pass by him as not to explode into infinity, only through Jesus Christ can man or woman go into heaven. After Jesus Christ came to our sinful earth to save us from sin. Jesus Christ gave us the holy trinity cross to pray with. In the Old Testament there was sacrifice of lamb to cover a mans sin. Then in the New Testament after Jesus christs rapture where he bought out the mans sin with his blood Jesus Christ gave us the holy cross to pray with taking away with the sacrifice of the lamb and praying with our right hand where human kind is to cross himself with. Scripture is one and only never changes and never will. Marie mother of Jesus was invited to go to eat at ones christians home. she told him you have a devil in your house so I shall not come in. The Christian asking where. She answered in the scripture you have a word that is written against god. Imagine only one word was miswritten. Another example to us how little means so big in the holy scripture. As for booklets and books too follow or icons that don’t represent the correct cross. anyone can write or draw anything they want just to control people because of Pride.

    “About the Bible ” it was decided by the churches and the Holy Spirit spoken through apostales to make a scripture for the common man that doesn’t understand the sufficcticated scripture as it is written to make a book for the young and old to read at home to understand from beginning of the world being created to the ends of time in a simple written form for all to read and understand. Taken and writing from lots of scriptures and put into a book.

    (Example:! Taking a law book to court were you only have 5 minutes to testify can never happen is because the law book is quite thick. So they take down the information that is relevant that means the same into bullet points and express a thick book of law in 5 minutes. ) meaning taking an ocean of scripture that is miles thick of holy scripture and compressing into a 2 inch book.

    As for shaving of the beard it is written God made man in the image of himself. There was a pope that loved a woman shaved for her she rejected him the pope humiliated. Trained a bird to eat kernel out of his ear than called out all the popes from all countries told them that god is speaking to him through the bird saying that they need to shave there beards to be taken up to heaven because they are to be like Angels because Angels don’t have beards. so they shaved without question. After finding out that the pope tricked them it was too late. The popes and high priests could have repented and would have lost there place in the holy church and became common man never to be in high priesthood. But instead there pride over took them they tricked the people into shaving of the beard leaving them to be blasphemes high priests and tricking the public with them too be taking hell.

  • Very early on in my association with the Old Believers in Woodburn, Oregon, I was fascinated by the fact that they were culturally 17th-century Russian peasants. These were living examples of the simple, hardy, resourceful people whom I had first encountered in the pages of novels by Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky and others. The year was 1970, one year after I had been honorable discharged from the US Army after six years of active duty that included 19 months in South Vietnam.

    It was a privilege to get to know the Old Believers, to actually converse with them, to listen to their stories. I was immediately understood that their culture was something precious, something to be preserved. I hoped the younger generation of Old Believers would learn to appreciate, value and protect the cultural heritage their parents and grandparents were attempting to pass on to them. I was afraid – with some justification – that they and future generations would be assimilated into the mainstream American culture and eventually lose their heritage.

    Later on, I came to understand how faithful the Old Believers were to the устав in their celebration of the liturgical services of the Church. No other Christian denomination celebrates the services of the Church as faithfully and completely as the Old Believers do.

    Inspired by the example of my Old Believer neighbors, my family and I joined the Russian Orthodox Church; we were baptized by an Orthodox bishop in the Willamette River just downstream from the Wheatland Ferry in August 1976.

    Unworthy as I am, I have been blessed to receive the Holy Mysteries (причашаться) many times since then. And it is my hope that my friends among the Old Believers will be reconciled with the Orthodox Church and be blessed as I am.

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