My Visit To

October 7, 1999: Suwalki to Warsaw
Wodzilki 1600x1200 (422 KB)

Yesterday, I had asked George about a Russian Orthodox sect called the "Old Believers" that I had read about in one of my travel books. I had read that, in the late 17th century, the Russian Orthodox Church had introduced reforms designed to make Church liturgy conform to that of Greek Orthodox Church. Perhaps 10% of the Church refused to go along with the reforms, and had split off into the group that is now known as "Old Believers."

Today, an estimated two million Old Believers live in an area of north-central Europe that falls mostly in the westernmost countries of the former Soviet Union, but there are also several Old Believers' villages in the far northeastern corner of Poland – which is where we find ourselves this morning.

As we drive from Suwalki toward Przerosl, George mentions to me that we are passing nearby the Old Believers' village of Wodzilki, and asks me if I would like to see it. He's never visited it himself, and I get a strong feeling that he would like to. And since I will probably never get another chance to see another Old Believers' village, I readily agree.

It turns out not to be easy to get to. The first road that we attempt is a dirt road that has adversely impacted by the recent rains, and George is uneasy about risking his Mercedes to the mud. So we circle around and find another dirt road that's not quite as soggy, and in a few minutes, we're in Wodzilki. It's not much of a town; it appears to be no more than a small church and a few old wooden farmhouses and barns. But at least the road in the town seems to have been paved with stones at some time, so George is able to park his car without worrying about whether it will sink into the mud.

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