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Tuva's Ensembles Take Part in World Old Believers Forum

Over 3000 people will take part in the world old-believers Forum 'Avvakum's Path' which opens in Ulan-Ude, capital of Buryatia (Russia), on May 31. Among its participants are Tuva's ensembles - 'Oktai' and 'Vereya'. The two dwell their repertoir on the spiritual song of the old believers collected by the young musicians throughout ethnograpic expeditions in the Upper Yenissei.

Besides Tuva old believers are based in Chita region and Buryatia.

In 1443, the Russian Czar declared the Russian Church independent of the Byzantine Orthodoxy in Constantinople, and shortly thereafter, a long era of reform among the clergy was initiated. By 1589, the patriarch in Constantinople acknowledged the Russian separation, and the Archbishop of Novgorod, Nikon, began implementing the reforms. These reforms met with opposition from many of the clergy, which lead to the raskol (split) of the Russian church into many branches.

Many believers that refused to accept the new rules were named 'Old Believers' and had to flee their homes into Siberia and abroad in order to keep their practice...

The fate of the small group of Old Believers currently living in Buryatia and the Chita Region was not an easy one. They came from Poland, where their community lived for decades before they were required to relocate to Siberia around 17th century. After they arrived to Buryatia, they built new villages, and were quickly nicknamed 'Semeiskie', which is from the word 'Family.

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