Fathers of the Solovetsky Monastery and their sufferings, Symbols of liturgical reform, Walters Manuscript W.916, fol. 17r, originally uploaded by Walters Art Museum Illuminated Manuscripts.
This manuscript was made around 1800 by an often persecuted group of Russian Christians, the “Old Believers.” Because this group frequently had its books confiscated and was denied the use of printing presses, its members continued to write important books such as this one by hand. This text chronicles and illustrates the story of a group of monks at the Solovetsky Monastery who opposed Nikon’s controversial reforms and endured a siege for eight years (1668-1676) before they were finally betrayed. Most of the monks were killed, though some escaped, and many went to the Vyg region, where the author of this book, Simeon Denisov (1682-1741), was a leader in the Old Believer community.