'Worldly life is frightening:' Famous Siberian hermit prefers taiga to civilization
"I was born here in Erinat in the year 7453 after Creation, old style. That’s the year I was born into the true Christian faith. My father’s ancestors were old believers ever since Prince Vladimir christianized the Russian land. Our faith was passed on from generation to generation. We were four children in the family and all lived together. Now I’m the only one left, and I’ve lived like this for 27 years," Agafia explains.
The only living member of the famous Lykov hermit family, Agafia is a reclusive 'Old Believer', which is a denomination of Russian Orthodoxy. Her family fled religious persecution almost a century ago, and found a new home deep in the taiga.
In the mid-17th century, the head of Russia’s Orthodox church, Patriarch Nikon, introduced radical reforms in Russia. Those who did not accept the changes became known as 'Old Believers'. To avoid religious persecution, many families fled to some of the most remote parts of the country.
"Patriarch Nikon went to hell where he made a deal with Satan and introduced the new laws. He was the ultimate Satan worshiper. He abolished the two-fingered sign of the cross handed down to us by Christ himself, changed the books and the articles of church," Agafia says of the 17th century church head.
She speaks two languages - Russian and Old Slavonic. She still lights her fire with a flint and steel, and makes her own bread from flour that’s donated by people who want to help. "I don’t take the flour which is marked with a bar-code. This bar-code is a sign of the Beast," Agafia says.
Agafia has a vegetable patch, where she grows potatoes, onions, peas, carrots and turnips. All of her teeth are intact but they are ground down because for half her life she sustained herself on nuts alone.
"Celestial bodies always change twice, but when there are two new moons in March, those years turn out to be leaner and colder. In this case we collected plant roots and barley stalks, to ground them into meal. Everything goes," says the old lady, remembering previous years when her family was still undiscovered.
Despite her detachment, Agafia is well informed about the "outside" world. Books and magazines are delivered to her by helicopter, along with other support.
According to the hermit, "now it’s the year 7522 since the Creation or the year 2022 since the year of the Lord, 8 years disappeared off the record."
Agafia has been living in the remote taiga for almost 70 years. Now her age is taking its toll and she is looking for a helper. To this end, she gave RT a letter, asking for help.