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Stundism

(492 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
Stundism refers to a free church movement that arose in 1861 in southern Russia. It called itself the Brethren of the Friends of God, but it came to be known as Stundism (Ger. Stunde, “hour”) because of its link with the German Reformed “observing of the hours” at Rohrbach, near Odessa. For the Stundists, reading and discussing the Bible came to be viewed as more important than maintaining the external Orthodox rites of worship (Bible Study). The movement arose in the context of other indigenous sects going back to the middle o…

Old Believers

(644 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
“Old Believers” (Russ. Raskolniki, “Schismatics”) is the name given to those Christians in the Russian Orthodox Church who in the mid-17th century opposed the liturgical reforms of the Moscow patriarch Nikon (1605–81). They themselves took the name “Old Ritualists” or “Old Orthodox,” claiming to be the only ones to continue true Orthodoxy (Orthodox Christianity; Orthodox Church). Those reforms were avowedly to restore ancient uses but were in point of fact an importation of contemporary Greek pract…

Starets

(486 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
A starets (Russ., lit. “old man, elder”; pl. startsy) is a spiritual adviser in the Orthodox Church, not necessarily a priest, recognized for his piety and spiritual insight. The choice of an experienced ascetic (Asceticism) who deserved special honor as an older Christian (Gk. gerōn = Russ. starets) to act as a confessor was an early feature of Eastern monasticism (Orthodoxy Christianity). In view of the Russian term for gerōn, such men came to be known as startsy toward the end of the 18th century, when they became most influential in Russia. With the developme…

Slavophiles

(466 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
When Russian philosophy became independent in the early 19th century, a prominent question was that of the relation of Russia to Europe, which J. P. Chaadayev (1794–1856) raised in his Lettres philosophiques (1827–31; ET Philosophical Letters [Knoxville, Tenn., 1969]). A “Western” group of thinkers wanted a full and swift adoption of the achievements of the West, but another group, the Slavophiles, argued for Russia’s independence and even superiority and hence advocated separate enterprises. It is hard to draw a distinction betwee…