Table of contents:
- Different discoveries of geologists
- History of the Lykovs
- 40 Years of Solitude
- Secluded life
- Expanding family circle
- The last of the Lykovs
- Attempts to socialize with modernity
- How Agafya Lykova lives now
2023 Author: Henry Conors | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 12:05
According to general ideas, there are two types of classical hermits: Robinson Crusoe, who ended up on a desert island as a result of a shipwreck, and people who became hermits by their own choice. In the Russian tradition, voluntary hermitage is associated with the Orthodox faith, and most often monks become them. In the 70s, in the Sayan taiga, a family of Russian Old Believers Lykovs was found, who had gone into the wilderness from a world that had lost its faith. The last representative of the family, Agafya Lykova, might have disposed of her life differently, but history does not turn back.
Different discoveries of geologists
Development of the taiga in Russia has always gone on as usual, and usually slowly. Therefore, a huge forest area is now a land where you can easily hide, get lost, but it’s hard to survive. Some difficulties are not scary. In August 1978, helicopter pilots from a geological expedition, flying over the taiga along the gorge of the Abakan River in search of a place to land, unexpectedly discovered a cultivated piece of land - a vegetable garden. The helicopter pilots reported the discovery to the expedition, and soon geologists arrived at the site.
From the place of residence of the Lykovs to the nearest settlement, 250 kilometers of impenetrable taiga, these are still little explored lands of Khakassia. The meeting was amazing for both sides, some could not believe in its possibility, while others (Lykovs) did not want to. Here is what the geologist Pismenskaya writes in her notes about the meeting with her family: “And only then did we see the silhouettes of two women. One fought in hysterics and prayed: “This is for our sins, for sins …” The other, holding on to a pole … slowly sank to the floor. The light from the window fell on her wide, mortally frightened eyes, and we understood: we must quickly go outside. The head of the family, Karp Lykov, and his two daughters were in the house at that moment.” The entire family of hermits consisted of five people.
History of the Lykovs
By the time the two civilizations met in the taiga wilderness, there were five people in the Lykov family: father Karp Osipovich, two sons - Savin and Dmitry, two daughters - Natalia and the smartest Agafya Lykova. The mother of the family died in 1961. The history of hermitage began long before the Lykovs, with the reformation of Peter I, when a split began in the church. Russia has always been a devout believer, and part of the population did not want to accept clergymen who brought changes to the dogmas of the faith. Thus, a new caste of believers was formed, who were later called "chapels". The Lykovs belonged to them.
The family of the Sayan hermits did not leave the "world" immediately. At the beginning of the twentieth century, they lived on their own farm in the village of Tishi, on the Bolshoy Abakan River. Life was solitary, but in contact withfellow villagers. The way of life was peasant, imbued with a deep religious feeling and the inviolability of the principles of early Orthodoxy. The revolution did not reach these places immediately, the Lykovs did not read newspapers, so they did not know anything about the situation in the country. They learned about global state changes from fugitive peasants, who left the requisitions in a remote taiga corner, in the hope that the Soviet government would not get there. But, one day, in 1929, a party worker appeared with the task of organizing an artel from local settlers.
The bulk of the population belonged to the Old Believers, and they did not want to endure violence against themselves. Part of the inhabitants, and with them the Lykovs, moved to a new place, not far from the village of Tishi. Then they communicated with the locals, took part in the construction of a hospital in the village, went to the shop for small purchases. In the places where the then large Lykov clan lived, a reserve was formed in 1932, which prevented any possibility of fishing, plowing the land, and hunting. Karp Lykov at that time was already a married man, the first son appeared in the family - Savin.
40 Years of Solitude
The Dukhoborism of the new authorities took more radical forms. Once, on the edge of the village where the Lykovs lived, the elder brother of the father of the family of future hermits was killed by the security forces. By this time, a daughter, Natalia, appeared in the family. The community of Old Believers was defeated, and the Lykovs went even further into the taiga. They lived without hiding, until in 1945 detachments of border guards came to the house looking for deserters. This causedanother resettlement to a more remote part of the taiga.
At first, as Agafya Lykova said, they lived in a hut. It is difficult for a modern person to imagine how to survive in such conditions. In Khakassia, the snow melts in May, and the first frosts come in September. The house was cut down later. It consisted of one room in which all family members lived. When the sons grew up, they were resettled to a separate settlement eight kilometers from the first housing.
In the year when geologists and Old Believers crossed, the eldest Lykov was about 79 years old, the eldest son Savin - 53 years old, the second son Dmitry - 40 years old, the eldest daughter Natalya - 44 years old, and the youngest Agafya Lykova had 36 years behind her years. The age figures are very approximate, no one undertakes to name the exact years of birth. First, the mother was engaged in chronology in the family, and then Agafya learned. She was the youngest and most gifted in the family. The children received all ideas about the outside world mainly from their father, for whom Tsar Peter I was a personal enemy. Storms swept over the country, tectonic changes took place: the bloodiest war was won, radio and television were in every home, Gagarin flew into space, the era of nuclear energy began, and the Lykovs remained the way of life of pre-Petrine times with the same chronology. According to the Old Believer calendar, they were found in 7491.
For scientists and philosophers, the family of Old Believers-hermits is a real treasure, an opportunity to understand the Old Russian Slavic way of life, already lost in the historical course of time. The news of a unique family that survived not in the warm climate of the banana islands, but in the harshthe reality of untouched Siberia, spread around the entire Union. Many rushed there, but as almost always happens, the desire to decompose the phenomenon into atoms in order to gain understanding, to do good or to bring one's vision into someone else's life brings trouble. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” this phrase had to be remembered a few years later, but by this time the Lykov family had lost three.
The geologists who found the Lykovs at the first meeting presented the family with useful things that are necessary in a harsh land. Not everything was accepted unambiguously. Of the products for the Lykovs, many things were “impossible”. All types of canned food, bread were subject to rejection, common table s alt aroused great delight. For forty years, cut off from the world, she was not on the table, and this, according to Karp Lykov, was painful. Doctors who visited the family were surprised by the good state of he alth. The emergence of a large number of people has led to increased susceptibility to diseases. Being far from society, none of the Lykovs had immunity to the most, in our opinion, harmless diseases.
The diet of the hermits consisted of homemade bread, wheat and dry potatoes, pine nuts, berries, herbs, roots and mushrooms. Sometimes fish was served at the table, there was no meat. Only when the son Dmitry grew up did meat become available. Dmitry showed himself as a hunter, but in his arsenal there were no firearms, no bows, no spears. He drove the beast into snares, traps, or simply chasing game to exhaustion, he himselfit could be in constant motion for several days. According to him, without much fatigue.
The whole Lykov family had traits enviable for many contemporaries - endurance, youthfulness, diligence. Scientists who monitored their life and way of life said that in terms of the arrangement of life and housekeeping, the Lykovs can be considered exemplary peasants who have comprehended the highest agricultural school. The seed fund was replenished with selected samples, soil preparation and distribution of plants on the slopes of the mountain in relation to the sun was ideal.
Their he alth was excellent, although the potatoes had to be dug out from under the snow. Before frost, everyone went barefoot, in winter they made shoes from birch bark, until they learned how to make skins. A set of medicinal herbs and knowledge about their use helped to avoid diseases and cope with diseases that had already occurred. The family was constantly on the verge of survival, and they did it with success. Agafya Lykova, according to eyewitnesses, at the age of forty easily climbed the tops of tall trees to knock down cones, overcame several times a day distances of eight kilometers between the haunts.
All the younger members of the family, thanks to their mother, were taught to read and write. They read in Old Slavonic and spoke the same language. Agafya Lykova knows all the prayers from a thick prayer book, knows how to write and knows how to count in Old Slavonic, where numbers are indicated by letters. Everyone who knows her notes her openness, firmness of character, which is not based on bragging, stubbornness and desire to stand her ground.
Expanding family circle
After the first contact with the outside world, the closed way of life cracked. Members of the geological party, who first encountered the Lykovs, invited the family to move to the nearest village. The idea was not to their liking, but the hermits nevertheless came to visit the expedition. The novelties of technological progress aroused curiosity and interest among the younger generation. So Dmitry, who most of all had to deal with construction, liked the tools of the sawmill workshop. Minutes were spent cutting logs with an electric circular saw, and he had to spend several days doing the same job.
Gradually, many of the benefits of civilization began to be accepted. Ax handles, clothes, simple kitchen utensils, a flashlight came to the yard. Television caused a sharp rejection as "demonic", after a short viewing, family members fervently prayed. In general, prayer and Orthodox holidays, veneration of church rules occupied most of the life of hermits. Dmitry and Savin wore headdresses resembling monastic hoods. After the first contact, the Lykovs were already expecting guests and were glad to see them, but communication had to be earned.
In 1981, in one winter, one after another, three Lykovs passed away: Savin, Natalya and Dmitry. Agafya Lykova was seriously ill during the same period, but her younger body coped with the illness. Some speculate that contact with the outside world was the cause of the death of the three family members, which is where the viruses came from, to which they were not immune.
WithinFor seven years, the writer Vasily Mikhailovich Peskov constantly came to visit them, his stories formed the basis of the book “Taiga Dead End”. Also, publications about the Lykovs are made by the doctor Nazarov Igor Pavlovich, who observes the family. Subsequently, several documentaries were shot, many articles were written. Many residents of the USSR offered their help, they wrote letters, sent many parcels with useful things, many sought to come. One winter, a man unfamiliar to them lived with the Lykovs. According to their memories of him, it can be concluded that he pretended to be an Old Believer, but in reality he clearly suffered from a mental illness. Fortunately, everything was resolved safely.
The last of the Lykovs
The biography of Agafya Lykova is unique, perhaps, women of such a fate are no longer found in modern history. Whether the father regretted that his children lived without a family, and no one got children, one can only guess. According to the memoirs of Nazarov, the sons sometimes argued with their father, Dmitry, before his death, did not want to accept the last lifetime church rite. Such behavior became possible only after the invasion of the hermitage of the outer life with its violent changes.
Karp Lykov died in February 1988, from that moment Agafya was left to live alone in the zaimka. She was repeatedly offered to move to more comfortable conditions, but she considers her wilderness to be saving for her soul and body. Once, in the presence of Dr. Nazarov, she dropped a phrase about modern medical practice, which boiled down to the fact that doctors treat the body and cripplethis soul.
Left all alone, she made an attempt to settle in an Old Believer monastery, but disagreements with her sisters on fundamental issues forced Agafya to return to hermitage. She also had the experience of living with relatives, of whom there were many, but even then the relationship did not work out. Today it is visited by many expeditions, there are private individuals. Many people seek to help her, but often it is more like an invasion of privacy. She does not like photography and video filming, considering it sinful, but few people stop her desire. Her house is now the lonely hermitage of the Most Holy Theotokos of Three Hands, where one nun Agafya Lykova lives. Taiga is the best fence against uninvited guests, and for many curious people this is really an insurmountable obstacle.
Attempts to socialize with modernity
In 2013, the hermit Agafya Lykova realized that surviving alone in the taiga is not only difficult, but impossible. Then she wrote a letter to the editor-in-chief of the Krasnoyarsk Rabochiy newspaper V. Pavlovsky. In it, she described her plight and asked for help. By this time, the governor of the region, Alman Tuleyev, was already taking care of her fate. Food, medicines, and household items are regularly delivered to her place of residence. But the situation required intervention: it was necessary to procure firewood, hay for animals, fix buildings, and this assistance was provided in full.
The biography of Agafya Lykova blossomed for a short period of time next to the newly-minted hermit. Geologist Erofey Sedov, who worked as part of the expedition that found the Lykovs, decided to settle a hundred meters from Agafya's house. After gangrene, his leg was taken away. A house was built for him under the mountain, the hermit's lodge was located on the top, and Agafya often went down to help the disabled. But the neighborhood was short-lived, he died in 2015. Agafya was left alone again.
How Agafya Lykova lives now
After a series of deaths in the family, at the request of doctors, access to the loan was limited. To get to Lykova, you need a pass, a queue lined up for this opportunity. To the hermit, in view of her advanced years, assistants from the families of the Old Believers are constantly settled, but, they say, Agafya has a difficult character, and few can withstand more than a month. In her household there are a large number of cats that have mastered the forest thickets well and hunt not only mice, but also snakes, undertake long expeditions between the farm houses, spread over long distances from each other. There are also a few goats, dogs - and all require care and large supplies of provisions, given the severity of the local winter.
Where is Agafya Lykova now? At home, in a zaimka in the Sayan wilderness. In January 2016, she was admitted to the hospital in the city of Tashtagol, where she received the necessary assistance. After a course of treatment, the hermit went home.
Already many come to the conclusion that the Lykov family, Agafya herself, are symbols of the Russian spirit, not spoiled by civilization, not relaxed by consumer philosophy and mythical luck. No one knows if the new generation will be able to survive indifficult conditions, while not breaking down spiritually, not turning into wild animals in relation to each other.
Agafya Lykova retained a clear mind, a clear view of the world and its essence. Her kindness is evidenced by the fact that she feeds wild animals in times of famine, as was the case with the wolf that settled in her garden. Deep faith helps her to live, and she does not have the doubts inherent in a civilized person about the expediency of Orthodoxy. She herself says: “I want to die here. Where should I go? I don't know if there are Christians anywhere else in this world. There probably aren't many left.”
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