Vyg Community

Vyg Community

 

also known as the Vyg River hermitage, a community of priestless Old Believers (Bezpopovtsy). It was founded in 1695 in the Lake Onega region along the Vyg River and Lake Vyg as a base for the free colonization of the north of Russia and as a center for the literary activity of the schismatics. The Vyg River hermitage was settled by Old Believers, primarily fugitive serfs, rebellious monks from the Solovetsk Monastery, and other refugees from Russia’s cities and villages. It soon became a major economic and cultural center of northern Russia. Members of the Vyg community were involved in cattle raising, farming, fishing, hunting, and trade. In 1854-55 the government of Nicholas I broke up the Vyg community, destroying the Vyg River hermitage and all the buildings of the small and secluded Old Believer monasteries. (Only one chapel has been preserved.)

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(24) This summary is based on Robert Crummey, The Old Believers and the World of Antichrist: The Vyg Community and the Russian State 1694-1855 (Madison and London: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1970).