Old BelieversThe Old Believers are a schismatic group of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In 1652, Patriarch Nikon of the Russian Orthodox Church introduced a number of reforms aimed at centralizing his power and bringing Russian Orthodox ritual and doctrine in line with those of the Greek Orthodox Church.
The Old Believers is the name for the groups that rejected Nikon's changes. They were heavily persecuted until the reign of Peter the Great.
In 1971 the Russian Orthodox Church revoked the anathemas placed on the Old Believers in the 17th century.
Approximately one million Old Believers remain today, some living in extremely isolated communities in places to which they fled to avoid persecution.