Nikita Pustosviat

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nikita Pustosviat


(pseudonym of Nikita Konstantinovich Dobrynin; the sobriquet “Pustosviat” was given him by supporters of the official church). Year of birth unknown; died July 6 (16), 1682, in Moscow. Priest from Suzdal’; one of the ideologists of the schism in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Nikita Pustosviat was closely connected with the Circle of Pious Zealots and, like many members of the group, he reacted negatively to the church reforms of Nikon. In 1665, Nikita Pustosviat wrote his “Petition to Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich Regarding the Skrizhal’ Book and the Newly Corrected Church Books,” in which he sought to prove the illegitimacy of the corrections introduced by Nikon and demanded a convocation of the “true council” and “righteous judgment upon the works of Nikon.” His work circulated widely, for which reason the church authorities commissioned Paisii Ligarid and Simeon Polotskii to compose a written refutation. The church council of 1666–67 condemned Nikita Pustosviat and unfrocked him. He repented and was let go.

In 1682, Nikita Pustosviat and other schismatics took advantage of an uprising in Moscow to demand that the church return to the “old faith.” On July 5 a “debate concerning the faith” was held in the Kremlin, at which Nikita Pustosviat was chief spokesman for the schismatics. The following day he was seized and executed.


Rumiantsev, I. N. K. Dobrynin (“Pustosviat”). Sergiev Posad, 1916.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.