Les vieux-croyants en Lettonie
The majority of Old Believers moved to the territory of Latvia during the 18th century, to escape the violence of religious and secular officials of the Russian Empire. They proclaimed Old Believers the main enemies of the Russian Orthodoxy, and called them “splitters” (Raskolniki). The Old Believers were priestless (Bespopovtsy) and formed two groups – Fedoseyevtsy and Pomortsy (Pomorians). The communities mainly settled in Riga and Eastern Latvia. With the formation of the independent Republic of Latvia in the 1920s, Old Believers especially emphasized their loyalty to the new democratic country, and actively took part in internal politics.
Nowadays, Latvian Old Believers are united under the control of Latvian Old Believers’ Pomorian Church that tries to unify previously separated communities (about 70), and develop unique religious canons common to all Latvian Pomorians. Old Believers are also active in educational and research activities.