The Lake Peipsi area



The Folk Culture Centre

The Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA)



pic30.jpg (45770 bytes)   pic40.jpg (43557 bytes)   pic29.jpg (57747 bytes)   pic27.jpg (41592 bytes)  

The first evidence on village Kasepaa (Kazepe, 'Kasepel' in Russian), situated on the Lake Peipus shore between Varnja and Kallaste, is from 1582. Even then its population was mixed: there occur both Russian and Estonian names. A number of parish members came to Kasepaa from the White Sea region (Belomorye) and brought icons of the Solovetsky school here. There were more than 500 Fedoseyans in the village in the early 1830s. They had their own worship house, built, as a local legend says, in the mid-18th century. It was moved to another place in the 1820s. This was the only Prichudye worship house, which remained unsealed in the age of repressions under Nicholas I. Despite its dilapidated state, the repairs were forbidden by the law of 1826. In 1860, the Orthodox priest M. Malein made an attempt to transport the dismantled worship house to Voronye, yet met Old Believers' resistance and was compelled to yield. In 1862, a community member Timofei Ivanovich Skorodumov financially supported building of a new worship house and donated it to the community.

There were 515 members (250 men and 265 women) in the Kasepaa community in the late 19th century. Hence the church had to be enlarged. Fedor Savostkin and Gavriil Sysh'ikov petitioned for enlargement in 1891, yet their request was not supported. In 1902, the province architect V. Schilling made the project of a new wooden worship house. Its capital repairs were undertaken in 1915.

After the law of October 17, 1916 had been ratified, the Kasepaa community was legalized and on June 12, 1908 took the name of the Kasepaa Old Believer community of the Old Pomorian concord of Yuryev district (uezd) of Livland Province. The entire population of Kasepaa was 689 people, 542 of them were members of the Old Believer community. Vasili Lebedev was elected the chairman of the Kasepaa community council, Nestor Kuznetsov, Artemi Karbuzov, Mark Timashev and Ivan Vavilov were the memebers of the council.

In the independent Estonian Republic, the Kasepaa community was officially re-registered in March 1926. P. I Amelkin, later (from 1930) F. P Savostnikov served as preceptors. M. Y. Timashev was elected the chairman of the council. The number of the community members reached 807 by 1930. The iconostasis was restored by the painters of G. Frolov's school. The Kasepaa residents were among the initiators of the consolidation of the Old Believers of Estonia. On November 21, 1923, the meeting of the Prichudye Old Believers took place in the Kallaste worship house. The preceptor F. P. Savostkin, who acted as a deputy at the All-Russian and Baltic Old Believers' Congresses before the revolution and was a respectable and experienced organizer, made a presentation.

Under the Soviet rule, the life of the Kasepaa community became silent, but not extinct. On August 10, 1945, it was registered as the Kasepel Old Believer community. Deonisi Klepentovich Ogurtsov was the preceptor until 1954. There were 478 community members in 1946, 416 in 1947. Many families did not join collective farms and remained edinolichniki.

The divine service was held on holidays. The nuptial rite was not performed in the post-war period. From 1954 to 1961, Lavrenti Yefremovich Grishakov was the teacher in the Kasapel worship house. After the outburst of disagreements in the community, provoked by the Soviet authorities, and a number of newspaper articles directed against the preceptor, he left the community. From October 1961 until October 1966, Anton Stepanovich Sakharov was the preceptor, later Pimen Ivanovich Tolstov replaced him. Ambrosi Ivanovich Sidorov was the preceptor from the mid-1970s until 1992. Andrei Ivanovich Sergin has served as the preceptor from 1992. Yevstolia Andreevna Amelkina is the head of the community council for many years. The number of parish members, who attend the church, is about 200. In 1995, the Union of Old Believer Communities of Estonia was restored, and the Kasepaa community joined it.

Sources: EHA f. 291, series 1, record. 15413; f. 8, record 1685; fond 296, series 9, record 498, 509; f. 297, series 1, record 9873; f. 298, series 2, record 264; LHA, f. 3, series 10, record1376, 1524.

References: Церковь, 22 февраля 1909 г., № 8; Хроника // ПИ 1923. 4 дек. № 305. С. 3. Эстония, Старообрядческий календарь на 1930 год. Рига, 1930, с. 66 [the year of the registration of the community is indicated wrongly]. Т.Шор. Казепяская моленная в ХIХ веке// Меч духовный. 2005. №16. 250 лет староверческому храму в Касепя // Peipsi Rannik. Чудское побережье. 2004. №12.