Mar 12, 2017

American woman's incredible escape after 15 years 'held against her will by remote religious sect in Siberia'

Old Believers are a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church which split in the 17th century
Old Believers are a branch of the Russian Orthodox
 Church which split in the 17th century 
March 9, 2017

An American woman has told how she was held against her will by an obscure religious sect in the Siberian wilderness for 15 years.

The woman, named only as Yelizaveta, said she was sent from Oregon on the west coast of the US to 'visit' cousins in Russia when she was 15-years-old but never returned.

But once there, a male relative took her on an epic journey from Moscow to a remote woman's monastry.

First, she was taken on a flight to Krasnoyarsk, a city in central Russia, and then via helicopter to a small village called Sandakches.

Yelizaveta said from there she travelled for two days down a river via a boat, and then walked another 25 miles to where the religious community lived in complete isolation from the modern world.

The Old Believers are branch of Christians that split from the Russian Orthodox church in the 17th Century.

Men do not shave their beards, believing it is a serious sin.

"They didn’t tell me it was a one-way ticket," Yelizaveta said.

"They lied to me and sent me there. We got to the monastery and I lived there for 15 years."

Yelizaveta said she wasn't physically abused but had to live a very strict life, spending her time collecting firewood or ploughing fields by hand.

She also developed asthma and said the Old Believers said she there was no cure and she had to die.

Yelizaveta fled one night while others were sleeping and made her way to another village, The Times reports.

She managed to get help to make her way back to Moscow and get a new passport to fly back to Seattle aged 32.

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