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The Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church

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Agafya Lykova

Agafya Karpovna Lykova is a well-known Siberian hermit from a family of Old-believer besopovtsvy (priestless ones) who lived in the forest massif of the Abakansky range of the Western Sayan in Khakassia.

Agafya Lykova

Agafya was born April 17, 1944, into a family of Old-believers, the Lykovs, who fled from being persecuted for the faith to remote places of the Siberian taiga. Her father was Karp Osipovich Lykov and her mother – Akulina Karpovna. Since the late 1930s, the Lykov family lived in complete isolation from civilization. After 1946, the bank of the Abakan tributary of the Yerinat River became the Lykov’s permanent residence.

In addition to her father and mother, Agafya Lykova had a sister and two brothers: Savin (born 1926), Natalia (born 1936) and Dimitri (born 1940). In the family of the hermit Old-believers, Agafya was the most literate. She was in charge of conducting church services in the home.

Agafya Lykova

Agafya’s mother, Akulina Karpovna, died in 1961. In 1978, the Lykov family were discovered by civilization. The geologists, exploring this region of Siberia, came to the Lykovs’ settlement. At the time of the discovery of the Lykov farm, the family consisted of five people. In October 1981, Agafya’s brother, Dimitri, died, in December, the second brother, Savin, died, and 10 days later, Agafia’s only sister, Natalia, died.

For seven years, Agafya lived with her father Karp Osipovich, who died on February 16, 1988. After the death of her father, Agafya contacted her relatives; relations, however, did not develop.

Agafya Lykova

Agafya practically lives all the time at the Lykovs’ settlement. During this time, she has had quite a few visitors, including travelers, journalists, writers and representatives of religious communities of various denominations. Agafya also had monastic novices and volunteers who helped with the house and yard work, and she was in correspondence with local authorities and often asked for help.

In November 2011, father Vladimir Goshkoderya from the city of Orenburg made a trip to the Sayan taiga to visit Agafya Lykova. For the first time during the Lykov family’s settlement in the taiga, a priest of the Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church visited the place where the Old-believer family came many years ago to save their souls.

Father Vladimir did not just visit, his trip was a response to the letter of appeal from Agafya to metropolitan Korniliy. In her letter, she writes that her ancestors lived and prayed with the priests, who were subsequently tortured by the New-believers “fierce torment”. The Lykov family had reserve communion from the Irgiz monastery, they also had a book about metropolitan Ambrose and always prayed for him.

Agafya Lykova

During the two days of his stay with Agafya, father Vladimir, with the blessing of metropolitan Korniliy, took her confession and completed the baptism of the servant of God, Agafya, after which she was honored with accepting the Holy Mysteries of Christ.