Big Kolki (Estonian 'Suur Kolkja') village is situated on the Lake Peipus shore in Alatskivi municipality, Tartu County, not far from Kallaste. The first written evidence on it is from 1592, when it is mentioned as Kolko. The personal revision of 1782 of Alatskivi manor comprises the data on the village population in the 18th century.
The wooden worship house was built in the village in 1802. There were more than 500 Old Believers from different estates in the community by the early 1830s. A Riga resident Makar Vasilyev, later Ignat Trofimov and Petr Savelyev served as preceptors in the 1830-40s. Upon the beginning of the persecutions in the 1830s, the old books were confiscated from the worship house and sent to the Ecclesiastical Consistory to Pskov. The preceptor P. Savelyev was exiled to Vesenberg (Rakvere) under police surveillance. Then Kolki Old Believers petitioned to the province government for the appointment of a new preceptor. They were advised to appeal to a priest of the unified faith (edinoverie) instead
Insofar as the old worship house was sealed for a long time, it became unfit for use. In 1877, Old Believers of the Pomorian concord (soglasie) built a new wooden worship house in Big Kolki, although the official permission to repair and built new worship houses was given only in 1883. The new worship house was decorated with old icons from the Baranins' family collection. In 1891, Guryan Fedorovich Baranin, who was the trustee of the worship house, petitioned for its renovation and was permitted to lag the house with boards without radical changes. About 300 Old Believers lived in Big Kolki in the late 19th century.
On May 12, 1907, the Kolki Old Believer community of the Pomorian concord was registered by the Livland Province government. There were 544 community members at the time. In 1913, the capital repairs of the worship house were made. Until 1914, P. P. Baranin was the chairman of the community council.
In the Estonian Republic, the community was re-registered twice, in 1926 and 1936. In 1928, the deputies from the Kolki 1st (Pomorian) community preceptor M. Savostkin and P. Belov took part in the 5th All-Estonian Old Believers' Congress, where the community joined the Union of Old Believers of Estonia. In the late 1920s-early 1930s, there were 505 members in the Big Kolki Pomorian community. M. P. Savostkin was the perceptor, F. Novozhiharev the chairman and Z. Baranin the secretary of the community at the time. From 1938 to 1949, Averian Trofimovich Matyushev served as the preceptor.
In the Soviet time, the community was registered as the Kolki Old Believer community on February 16, 1945. Matyushev continued to serve as its preceptor. Agafon Antonovich Usanov was elected the chairman of the community. Residents of Big Kolki, Small Kolki, Sofia and Muravyovka villages were its members. There were 573 community members in the end of 1946 and 587 members in 1947.
After the war, Lavrenti Yefremovich Grishakov (1949-1954), Anton Stepanovich Sakharov (from 1954), Miney Fedorovich Yelinkin (1961 - 1966), Ivan Ivanovich Goryunov (the 1970s) and Agafon Antonovich Usanov (the late 1970s) were preceptors. A. L. Murnikov served as a preceptor for a short time. Venedikt Davydovich Selgitsky, elected the chairman of the ecclesiastical committee of the Union of Old Believer Communities of Estonia, was the preceptor from 1989 to 2005.
From the 1990s, renaissance of the Kolki community life began. The community pays a lot of attention to the education of its young members. The Old Believer choir, which performs spiritual songs, is organized in the Kolki school. Z. I. Kutkina and A. Portnova teach Church Slavic language to children. There is a course in spiritual development in the school. In 1998, a small museum of the Old Believer everyday life was organized. N. I. Baranina is the director, A. Portnova the curator of the museum. After Selgitsky's death, there is no preceptor in the community. Yakov Sidorovich Amelin is the community chairman.
Archives: f. 29, series 7, record 365, 370; f. 296, series 9, record 501; f. 297, series 1, record 1335; 4873; f. 330. series 1, record 1701; LHA f. 3, series 1, record 1524; series 10, 372. References: Алексей Нэу. Русское население Юрьевского уезда // Прибалтийский листок. 1893. 21 дек.; И-ръ. Казапель и Кольки. Крупные центры Причудья // ВД. 1932. 6 мая. № 105. С. 2.