Fedorovtsy is a Russian Orthodox commune. It appeared in 1922 as a part of the Underground Church; the movement turned away from the official Russian Orthodox Church, which collaborated with the Soviet state. Members refused to take part in Soviet life and organizations or enroll in the army. They tried to live a simple life by subsistence farming and not occupying excessive property. Most of them spent years in prisons but kept the old peasant’s lifestyle, relationships, and culture that had disappeared from most of the Russian countryside. Especially they kept the tradition of spiritual songs.
Now the commune is dying out. In 1970 it numbered about 120 members, in 2008 about 30, and most of them are very old.
In contrast to most of the Russian Orthodox underground and old-believers’ communities, Fedorovtsy is open to strangers. Guests are welcome—especially those interested in Russian Orthodoxy or old-believers’ culture. Fedorovtsy is very hospitable, and nobody there will ask you for your help—but actually, if you can help them in the garden it would be great.
The commune has no telephone, but you can come there without an invitation. To get there you have to take a night train to Voronezh (about a 10-hour trip from Moscow, starting at the Paveletsky train station). Then you take a local bus or a taxi (about $5) to the Voronezh central bus station. There you’ll take a bus to Tishanka (about three hours). It goes to the towns of Talovaya or Buturlinovka via Anna. Tishanka is between Anna and Talovaya. Actually, Tishanka is a group of villages and khutors. The commune is located in a distant village named Staraya Tishanka (The Old Tishanka). It’s 12 kilometers west from the bus stop; you have to ask local people the way there. Staraya Tishanka is the last stop of the local bus, which runs twice a day. If you arrive at Voronezh before 9:00 a.m. and so arrive at Tishanka before 1:00 p.m., you probably have a chance to catch the local bus. Otherwise, you'll need to walk or hitchhike. In Staraya Tishanka you need to find the part named Tot Bok. The post office is the best place to ask.
Probably nobody speaks English in that area, except English teachers in local schools. But there are some friends of the commune living in Moscow who can perhaps accompany you on the trip.
Community location is placed at the center of the zip/postal code, city/state, or city/country (not based on street addresses)