Religion: Flight to Freedom

A hardy band of 82 Russian-speaking wanderers who call themselves "Old Believers," the men in flowing beards and the women in bright peasant dresses, were sailing last week on the latest leg of a religious odyssey that has taken them halfway round the world. Behind them lay 300 years of persecution, an exodus from Russia across Asia, a bitter exile in Communist China. Ahead was a free, pioneering life in the forests of Brazil.

The tiny but tough sect got its start in 1653 with a group of fundamentalists in the Russian Orthodox Church....

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