Saturday, July 21, 2018

Religious relics stolen from Old Believers church

Two tin crosses and nine icons were stolen over the weekend from the Holy Trinity Church in Nevyansk in the Sverdlovsk region, which is being constructed by the Old Believers' Orthodox community.

Eight of the icons and the two crosses belonged to the church and one of the icons belonged to a pensioner, according to Sverdlovsk regional police. Experts are currently assessing the value of the stolen items, Interfax reports.

Forensic experts and a canine team examined the scene of the crime and police are determining potential leads.

The town of Nevyansk was founded in 1701 and was settled mostly by the Old Believers in the 18th century. The Old Believers built other churches in the town, including the Church of St. Nicholas in 1789 and the Kazan Church in the late 19th century. While there are few distinctions between Old Believers and conventional Russian Orthodox Christians today, that was not always the case, reports.

The Russian Old Believers were persecuted by czars and spent decades in exile from the country. Strict rules the sect follows includes not being allowed to eat meat on Wednesday or Friday, wearing peasant-style clothing with a belt and not being allowed to marry people outside of the faith.