According to Orthodox teaching, the cutting of the beard is a serious sin and a transgression. It is strictly prohibited by the Old Testament (Leviticus, 19:27; 2nd Kings, 10:1; 1st Chronicles, 19:4). It is also prohibited by the 96th canon of the 6th Ecumenical Council, by St. Epiphanios, bishop of Cyprus, St. Cyril, archbishop of Alexandria, blessed Theodoret of Antioch and St. Isidore the Pelusiot. See also the Pandects, word 37, and the Penitentiary, canon 174. The holy fathers hold it that those who cut their beards express discontentment with their appearance...
Hooks or znamena are the symbols used by Russia’s Church in place of notes for inscribing hymns. Znamena (or, standards) derive from the notations used in the early Byzantine (Roman) Empire. Each hook (or, kryuk) denotes a sequence of relative tonalities. In the 17th century, cinnabaric (red) ticks above the hooks came into use to denote the exact pitch level. Hooks are still used by old-believers, whereas the mainstream Russian Orthodox Church abandoned them in the 17th - 18th centuries.
The question of proper Christian dress has deep literary roots. Many of the apostolic and holy fathers, commenting on the garb befitting a Christian, have assigned this seemingly private issue public significance. According to the 81st Canon of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, if one dons unseemly robes or dresses contrary to custom, one is to be anathematized.
Worship bows are a manifestation of our adoration for God, our Lord, of His Holy Mother and of His saints. Old-believer devotion knows three kinds of bows, as they existed in Russia’s Church before the 17th century schism. You will find a reference to bows in, Son of the Church, a 17th century instruction to neophytes. The first, ordinary bow is a slight inclination of the head to the breast; the second, intermediate bow is made to the waist; the last, or deepest bow is a prostration.
The sign of the cross
When we make the sign of the cross, we touch with the two fingers of the right hand — the index and the middle finger — upon the forehead, the navel, the right shoulder and the left shoulder.
The sign of the Cross should always be accomplished with particular piety, in a proper and zealous way. Our body should feel the touch of our fingers. It is important not to hurry when making the sign of the cross; you must not begin to bow before finishing crossing yourself.
Interview of Metropolite Korniliy, by the newspaper, Kommersant, about the state of our Church today; August 7th, 2017
Exactly 350 years ago the Great Moscow Council finished work; it imposed anathema on the old church rites and condemned the opponents of the ecclesiastical reform conducted by Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich and Patriarch Nikon. From that moment, the adherents of the old, or rather, pre-reform Orthodox faith were for centuries deemed outside the law. The primate of the Russian Orthodox Old-Believer Church, Metropolite of Moscow and all Russia, Korniliy spoke to Pavel Korobov, a correspondent of Kommersant, about how old-believers live in Russia today.
The Russian Orthodox Old-Believer Church, which preserves apostolic continuity and purity of the Orthodox faith
- A brief history of the Church
- On the chronology
- Division among old-believers
- Protestantism and sectarianism
- False ecumenism
Nikon’s reforms — the beginning of schism
Patriarch Nikon, desiring to change the ancient traditions, began to impose new ritual and liturgical practices onto Russia’s Church, unilaterally. He ascended the patriarchal seat in 1652, but, even before his consecration, he was close to Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. Together, they decided to remake Russia’s Church along the lines of her contemporary Greek counterpart.
Old-believers in the 18th and 19th centuries
The status of old-believers in 17th century Russia was in many ways similar to that of Christians in the Roman Empire, who were forced to hide in catacombs. Russian Orthodox old-believers, likewise, hid from both state and church authorities. All Russians were required to believe the way the sovereign commanded.
Myriads of Christians were burned, tongues were excoriated, heads were severed, ribs were crushed and people were quartered. Prisons and monastery dungeons were full of sufferers for the Faith of Christ.