Mustvee (Tähtvere municipality, Jõgeva County), the village of Chernaya, later the Chernyi suburb and, finally, from 1921, Chernoye settlement, was promoted to the rank of a city in 1938. The first written evidence on 'Chorna village' on the Lake Peipus shore is from 1493. In the 18th century, Russian Old Believers of the Fedoseyan concord, who fled from religious persecutions in Russia, settled here. In the early 19th century, the village had 371 houses and more than 1900 residents. In 1802, the merchant Ioakim Goryushkin sponsored building of the wooden worship house. Sofron Vasilyev (1821) and Abram Danilov served as preceptors there. In 1836, the latter was charged of re-baptizing children from the families, where parents were of different confession, into the Old Orthodox Belief and sent to the Konevsky Rozhdestvensky monastery. By 1836, there were 332 members from different estates (mainly from the third class) and 545 state peasants, in all 877 members of the Mustvee community. This was the largest Old Believer community in South Estonia. To fight the Old Belief, an Orthodox church was set up at P. Bolotov's house in 1836. Old Believers gathered at Anna Isakova's house and decorated it with 35 icons. In 1840, the first edinovertsy (people of the unified belief) appeared in Mustvee. The Old Believer Kirill Grinkin, after being arrested for a speech against the Orthodox hierarchy and church, was conversed by force, together with his family, into the unified faith.
On January 7, 1848, police sealed the Old Believer worship house together with all utensils. The preceptor Sofron Sofronov, the painter P. Sofronov's grand grandfather, together with Mustvee Old Believers went to the Dorpat court and then to Riga Governor to seek for justice. They spent three months under arrest in Dorpat, suffering for faith. In May-August of 1848, the forcible conversion of Chernoye Old Believers into the unified faith started. A military commando of 40 soldiers and two officers arrived and were quartered in local residents' houses. Several priests of the unified faith from inner provinces of Russia and St Petersburg were invited to persuade Old Believers. On May 29, the sealed worship house was consecrated as a unified faith chapel, in 1849 as a unified faith church. As a result of such kind of policy, the Mustvee community diminished to 731 people by 1848. After Nicholas I's death, Old Believers were left in relative peace, although the functioning of the community was not officially permitted. A one-storey wooden worship house with a shingled roof was built on the stone foundation on the land donated by Chornyi suburb's householders in 1864. There exist photo-materials and memoirs of the Old Believers who attended the old worship house. The latter burnt down during World War II.
After the democratic reforms in the Old Belief Church during the first Russian revolution, the Chernyi (Mustvee) Old Believer community of the Pomorian concord was registered on August 14, 1907. It had 211 members. Matvey Landsberg was elected the chairman. From 1906, Yefim Nikitin served as the preceptor; later Mokey Makarov replaced him. The most remarkable event of the time was the Congress of the Old Believer preceptors of Livland Province that was held in the Chernyi suburb worship house in the end of 1908. By 1910, there were 1110 members (562 of them were men) in the community. Yakov Berezin was elected the chairman of the community council in 1915. The council of the first Chernyi community consisted of 18 members: U. Bashkirov, P. P. Baranin, O. F. Kolpakov, and others.
In 1915, the number of community members diminished to 618 since, on October 13, 1913, a group of 60 Old Believers under Andrey Sumin's, Feodosi Guzhov's and Terenti Klimov's leadership founded the second Chernyi Old Believer community of the Pomorian nuptial concord. Sysoy Topkin was elected the chairman; later Ivan Sergeyevich Kutuzov held the post. The meetings were conducted at Vasili Guzhov's home because of the absence of a worship house. At the general meeting of January 1917, the decision to organize the single Mustvee community, headed by the chairman of the council Yakov Berezin, was adopted.
A new period of Old Believers' life started in the Estonian Republic. In 1926, the society was re-registered and the new charter was adopted. First it was called the Mustvee Old Believer Society; from 1936 it was re-named the Mustvee Old Believer parish (religious society). The community was very large. By the early 1930s, the number of members reached 1850. In 1929, the famous Old Believer from Riga I. Zavoloko visited Mustvee, lectured on the significance of rites in the worship house and on the folklore of Russian villages in the Chernoye settlement Russian School. The lectures were accompanied by "light shows".
The building of a new church (1927-1930), opening of the courses of spiritual education (1933) and znamennoe chant (1939) were the most important events of the community life. The fact that the 14th All-Estonian Old Believer Congress of 1939, which took place in Mustvee, decided to transfer the board of the Union from Tallinn to Mustvee testifies to the great significance of the Mustvee community in the Old Belivers' life in Estonia.
In 1914, the idea of the building of a new church emerged. The collection of means to support the building was organized. D. G. Glubokov donated the land plot in Vygonnaya Street to the community. The war, revolution and separation of Estonia from Russia prevented the realization of the idea. In the Estonian Republic, A. Y. Guzhov and D. S. Blokhin, with the active support of the member of the Parliament and a former member of the Mustvee community P. P. Baranin, carried it into life. The engineer J. Jansen made the project, the local masters N. Nikulin, A. Vasilyev and V. Krasnov performed the building works. First a log house was built, which finally, several years later, assumed the form of a stone church. The famous Prichudye icon painters G. Frolov, P. Sofronov and M. Solntsev decorated the church. The church, named Troitsky, was the largest Old Believer temple in Estonia. It was consecrated in June 1930. The street, where it was situated, was named the Old Believer Street. 3500 people attended it in the day of consecration. The church has the height of a seven-storey building and could accommodate more than 1000 people. In 1933, the repairs were undertaken; in 1935, the cast-iron fence was built around the church.
In June 1940, repressions started in Estonia. Mustvee residents did not escape them. A number of rich Old Believer families were exiled, churches closed and services were held in secret in private houses.
After the end of World War II, the Mustvee Old Believer community continued its work in the new conditions. It was registered on August 10, 1945. Despite the arrest of the chairman A. Y. Guzhov, who was sent to Siberia with his family and died in the Leningrad prison "Kresty", the functioning of the community and church was resumed. In 1946, there were 700 members of the community. Divine service was held in the church and in open air.
The community board changed repeatedly during the last 70 years. Besides A. Guzhov and D. Blokhin, I. Landsberg, G. Venchikov, Y. Kulkov, Y. Troshkin, I. Prussakov and I. Topkin held the chairman's post. Fathers Ioann Kanoshin, Ioann Yevdokimov, Prokopi Zarubin, Sampson Suvorov, Trifon Yerofeyev and Vasili Kanoshin (died in 1999) served as preceptors.
The celebration of the 1000-anniversary of the Christening of Russia in 1988 was the most remarkable event in the community life during the Soviet period. At present, Ignati Trofimovich Guzhov is the spiritual father of the community. He was blessed to service in the day of 70-anniversary of the Mustvee church.
Archives: EHA, f. 291, series 1, record 16584 (Об устройстве новой молельни в Воронье и в Муствеэ 1865-67); series 8, record 514, 529, 587, 1072, 1322, 1323, 1348, 1353, 1365, 1551; series 9, record 461; f. 296, series 9, record 461 (О запрещении постройки моленной в д. Черной 1866); f. 297, series 1, record 4873; series 6, record 726; f. 330, series 1, record 1678; f. 384, series 1, record 2667, 2852, 2857; f. 1655, series 2, record 883 (Рапорты благочинных и священников о распределении колоколов, отобранных от раскольничьих молелен Черновской и Кикитовской по церквам Рижской епархии 1846-1854); record 1188 (Дело о разборке бывшей старообрядческой моленной или старого единоверческого храма на дрова 1880-1892); LHA, f. 3, series 1, record 1524; 2006.
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