Church Music Manuscripts of the Cheremshany Old-Believers’ Monasteries (from the Collection of the Khvalynsk Local History Museum)

Irina V. Polozova


The article is devoted to examination of the little-studied heritage of church music manuscripts of the Old-Believers from the collection of the Khvalynsk Local History Museum (in the Saratov Region). The Old-Believers were Russian Orthodox Christians who did not accept the reforms in the Russian Church in the mid-17th century, and continued the pre-reform rituals, which included monophonic plainchant. The core of the collection consists of manuscripts from the Cheremshany Old-Believers’ monasteries, which existed from the 1830s to the 1930-1940s. A study of the manuscript heritage demonstrates that it represents in full measure a regional tradition of church singing and reflects the practice of liturgical singing of the Cheremshany Old-Believers’ Monasteries. On the one hand it inherits features of the Old-Believers’ liturgical culture (of the Irgiz monasteries), and on the other hand, it reflects a characteristic feature of Old-Believers’ church singing from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, becoming simpler and more standardized.

Keywords: Old-Believers, church music manuscripts, church singing

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