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The Russian Old-Ritualists use the liturgical practices of the Russian Orthodox Church prior to the reforms mandated in 1682 by Patriarch Nikon of Moscow. The "Nikonian Reform" attempted to reform Slavic liturgical practice with the then current Greek practice, on the reasoning that the Greek practice was more accurate. Later scholarship showed that many of the displaced Russian customs were older and more venerable than the Greek innovations that were copied. There is renewed interest in the Old-Ritualists (also known as "Old-Believers"), especially among those who study history and liturgy. This forum is offered to provide a dedicated place for those discussions on the internet.
The Old-Ritualists consist of two primary groups: the larger of the two, the "Priestists" or Popovtsy, have two Metropolitans (in Bielaia Krinitsa, Bukovina - actually living in Braila, Romania - and in Moscow). There are other bishops and priests, deacons, and so on. In the United States the responsible hierarch is Archbishop Sofrony, in Oregon, who depends upon the Metropolitan of Bielaia Krinitsa and also looks after parishes in Canada and Australia.
The smaller of the two sorts of Old-Ritualists are the "Priestless" or Bezpopovtsy, who teach that the authentic priesthood died out as a result of Nikon's reforms and therefore have no Eucharist or Holy Orders. They have some quasi-parishes in the United States. Pimen Sofronov, a well-known iconographer who worked in the USA for many years, belonged to the "Priestless" Old-Ritualists.
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