The Old Believers of the Pomeranian (Pomortsy) concord in parts of the eastern United States are descendants of Russian Old Believers who, in the 17th century after Nikon's reforms and persecution, fled into the woods and later settled in Poland where, starting in the 19th century, they began migrating to America. This is an awkwardly translated article on the priestless Holy Trinity Old Believer church in Detroit.

Very sad that the "priestless" Old Believers have never made peace with their Mother Church and re-instituted valid sacraments and worship. Its amazing that they have survived so long.
So... their worship is invalid?
Posted By: lmier Re: Priestless Old Believer church in Detroit - 02/13/13 01:48 PM
Wayne County
Michigan USA

Cemetery notes and/or description:
Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Old Believers Church
2315 Carpenter (@ Goddard)
Detroit, MI 48212

In the year 1935, the Old Believers of Detroit, organized, and started building themselves a church. times were poor, the depression was still on. but they were determined to go ahead. So, in the first week of September in 1935, these faithful men dug their first shovel of dirt for the foundation of our church. These people worked hard in building the Church. What they themselves could do, they did, what they couldn't do, they contracted. These men went around the houses and asked for donations, in other cities, wherever there were our Old Believers Churches and members, they managed to get there and ask for donations. But they did managed to collect enough money to complete the foundation. They worked hard that fall and early winter of 1935, and had the basement ready for their first service for our Christmas January 7, 1936.

Taken from: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/f...Old%20Believers%20Church%20Cemetery&
Thank you for this additional information. Do you have any news about the current status (religious services, social activities, nastavnik, etc.) at Holy Trinity Old Believers Church in Detroit?
Posted By: lmier Re: Priestless Old Believer church in Detroit - 02/13/13 03:13 PM
I will ask around. I know a few people who live in that part of town.
That's a really bad part of town. Just look at Google Streetview. I seriously doubt that parish would remain active. Quite typical of this city to have abandoned beautiful churches scattered everywhere.
I understand what you say and sometimes see that in Cleveland. I belonged to a parish in a "bad part of town"; but I know that in our case, we did not abandon our "beautiful [Shrine] church", Saint Stanislaus Polish Roman Catholic Church. We reclaimed the street, the block, some of the neighborhood (Slavic Village), and the church, parish grade school, and diocesan high school. All are doing well. We have daily church services, occasional athletic and social events, and nearly monthly classical concerts in the church in the evening (with between 600 and 800 attendees).

The eleven parishes closed and then reopened by our bishop did not abandon their beautiful churches and are now active with former and new members. It is a struggle as well as a joy to be part of these efforts, but we are all living and sharing the Gospel with each other and the neighborhood residents who welcome our daytime and evening presence.

In the case of Erie Old Believers, both priested and priestless churches remain in the original, lakefront (Lake Erie) neighborhood they settled in 100 years ago. The priested church has a social center and a parish outreach to the needy, and both churches still hold daytime and evening services and social/cultural events which are attended by members from the neighborhood, the city and the suburbs. When I have visited them, I felt comfortable, safe, and welcome.
You're right about there being urban parishes being reopened and more active than ever (if only we could regenerate the Ruthenian Churches in the Cleveland and Parma areas, we'd be on to something), but I feel for how urban worship in Catholic and Orthodox faiths have slipped downhill a lot faster than we would have liked...but we will rebuild, just give it time.
Is the old believers church on Carpenter Avenue on the Detroit/Hamtramck border? When is their liturgy, do you know?

Posted By: Fr. Al Re: Priestless Old Believer church in Detroit - 02/22/13 08:11 PM
I would imagine that there is no liturgy,being that they are priestless.What they probably do is 3rd,6th,9th hours followed by typika.
The president of the ROCOR Cathedral here in the Detroit area came from this church,as did a Reader in a local OCA church.I happen to know both men,as I was Rector of the Cathedral for 16 years.
If you would PM me,I might be able to get information about the services.I should warn you,however,that they might look unfavorably upon outsiders visiting their services.
Fr. Al,

I also am looking for information about their services. My father was baptized there over 50 years ago, and we are returning to Detroit this upcoming weekend for a visit. Please PM me if you have any information that may be helpful. I was unable to PM you or view your profile.

Thank you,

An acquaintance of mine once attended a priestless Old Believer Easter service - which lasted, according to him, about eight hours . . .

They have their own saints, such as the holy ones of the Vyg Community.

St Maria Skobtsova, the Venerable New Martyr of Paris critiqued the idea that one could emphasized services, icons etc. without having the Eucharist and the other Mysteries.

It's a point worth contemplating, but it doesn't or shouldn't take away from a positive view of their great zeal.


Welcome to the Forum. You can't pm or view profiles because we restrict member privileges for a period when they first join, to weed out trolls and spammers. I've pm'ed the Administrator to release the restrictions on your account, so that you can communicate privately with Fr Al, should the two of you wish to do so.

Many years,

Posted By: Fr. Al Re: Priestless Old Believer church in Detroit - 09/17/21 02:43 PM
I realize this response is over eight years late. I would suggest that anyone interested in the Old Believers contact Fr. Pimen Simon. He is the rector of Holy Nativity Old Ritualist (ROCOR) Church in Erie, PA. Before bringing the majority of his flock into the Orthodox church, he was the nastavnik for that community. Furthermore, he has or had relatives in the Detroit Old Believer church. As I mentioned, I know some of his relatives from there.
Father Al,

Father bless!!

If I'm not mistaken, there is also a priestless Old Believer parish in Erie, PA, that is situated close to Fr. Pimen Simon's parish.
Posted By: Fr. Al Re: Priestless Old Believer church in Detroit - 09/20/21 08:33 PM
You are correct. I believe about 25 percent of the original parish refused to be reconciled to the Orthodox Church and thus formed this new church. I've actually served in Fr. Pimens church a few times, once with the late Bishop Daniel as the celebrant.
Christ is in our midst!!

Father Al,

Father bless!!

Have the Old Believers tried to reprint their service books? I have seen pictures of some of them, wonder how fragile they must be, and wonder how they will continue to hold up after all the years since they were published.
Posted By: Fr. Al Re: Priestless Old Believer church in Detroit - 09/24/21 04:12 PM
The Lord Bless!
I am not sure, but could ask Fr. Pimen. I believe the services are about 99 percent English ( kind of like our parish). I was there for Vespers about two years ago.. I could ask Fr. Pimen.
Father bless!!

I suspect if the services have been translated, they have probably made print copies using desktop publishing software and comb binding.
Posted By: Fr. Al Re: Priestless Old Believer church in Detroit - 09/25/21 11:23 PM
I know they have been translated. If I'm not mistaken, Fr. Pimen began this even before leading the majority of his flock into Orthodoxy.
Father Al,

Father bless!!

What is the name of the priestless Old Believers parish in Erie, PA?
Posted By: Fr. Al Re: Priestless Old Believer church in Detroit - 10/25/21 03:04 PM
The Lord Bless!
I couldn't get through to Fr. Pimen and I don't believe the priestless church has a website. I am led to believe they would consider themselves the "legitimate" church and therefore also have the name of Holy Nativity. Rather like the Serbian situation in the Cleveland area, where you have two St. Sava churches because of the unfortunate spilt in the 60's. At least, that split has been overcome.
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