Alaska’s Russian Old Believer Villages

Russian Old Believer Villages 

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 Ten miles east of Anchor Point is Nikolaevsk, the first of several communities of Russian Old Believers. Founded by five families in 1968, with financial help from the Tolstoy Foundation of New York, the community and its church are named after their patron saint, Saint Nikolas the Wonder Worker.

 Since the early 1900s, Old Believers had searched for a place where they could have the freedom to worship in the way of the Old Rite Russian Orthodox (Staro-Obrachestvo). Their search took them out of Russia to China, South America, Oregon and finally to Nikolaevsk. Others chose other countries.

 This corner of the Kenai Peninsula offered isolation from Western influence and the land was affordable. Part of the price, however, was the work necessary to turn this uninhabited 640 acres into a community. Tents provided temporary shelter as homes were constructed. Gardens began to take root. In 1975, the naturalization of Nikolaevsk residents was a cause for celebration, filling the bleachers of the community’s school with supportive spectators. By the late 1970s, Nikolaevsk’s population had reached about 400.

Church of St Nicholas, Nikolaevsk, AK. Photo by Gerry Marks

Typical Home in the Nikolaevsk Village. Photo by Gerry Marks

 Russian styled gingerbread in Alaska: Nikolaevsk, Alaska, a tradition community of «old believers». Picture by Jim Good

 Several other Old Believer communities have since developed on the southern Kenai Peninsula including Voznesenka, Razdolna and Kachemak Selo. Voznesenka spreads across the hillside some 23 of miles east of Homer. The school, located next to the village church, has 130 students.

East End Road headed toward Voznesenka. Photo by TheKenCook

 Voznesenka, AK. Photo by Danny Kean

Razdolna is 25 miles east of Homer. Situated on rolling hills, it overlooks the Fox River mud flats. There are 32 children in Razdolna School.

Razdolna Roads. Photo by russikana

Kachemak Selo is located near the head of Kachemak Bay. Ninety-eight students attend school in this remote village.


Native village of Kachemak Silo near the east end of Kachemak Bay. Photo by Clifford Cochran

Russian Old Believers continue to value their privacy and their way of lifestyle. Their lives are set by the Julian calendar. Russian is spoken in their homes, Slavonic is the language of church services and English is used everywhere else. Old Believers’ clothing is of a traditional style. Men and boys wear colorfully embroidered shirts with handwoven belts; women and girls wear ankle-length dresses.

 Commercial fishing has provided income for many families, not only as fisherman but also as boat builders. Others work in their community’s schools or local businesses. And an increasing number of Old Believers have opened businesses of their own.

 Nikolaevsk has its own post office, as well as a small store that offers fabric and handmade Russian gifts and traditional clothing.

Samovar Cafe, Nikolaevsk, Alaska: Here is Nina, without a doubt the nicest and craziest women in Alaska. Good food though. Photo  by Josh_Ellis


Об авторе old believers

Old Believers and Old Ritualists Join us if you want to make our Old Believer and Old Rite Church pure! Paul, Max and all our faithful team
Запись опубликована в рубрике Old Believers, USA. Добавьте в закладки постоянную ссылку.

3 комментария на «Alaska’s Russian Old Believer Villages»

  1. natalia minkoff:

    спасибо за замечательные фото. Мой дед Егор крестил меня по-староверчески в кадке в 1959 году. Ни разу не была в староверческом селе. Завтра вылетаю на Аляску. Надеюсь, моя мечта сбудется

  2. The Old Believers Team:

    Thanks a lot, Kenny, for your kind words. We are ready to cooperate with you in sharing your Alaska’s pictures with the world. Send us you pictures, we are glad to receive all the stuff.

  3. Thanks for using my Voznesenka photo. My wife is from Kenai and very proud of her Russian/Athabascan heritage. There is a beautiful little Russion Orthodox church in her home town which is very dear to her.

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