Philippins a small Russian sect, so called from the founder, Philip Pustoswiat, under whose leadership they emigrated from Russia to Livonia near the beginning of the 18th century, are a branch of the Raskolniks (q.v.). They call themselves Starowerski, or "Old-Faith Men," because they cling with the utmost tenacity to the old service-books, the old version of the Bible, and the old hymn and prayer books of the Russo-Greek Church, in the exact form in which those books stood before the revision which they underwent at the hands of the patriarch Nikon (q.v.) near the middle of the 17th century. There are two classes of the Raskolniks — one which recognizes popes (or priests); the other, which admits no priest or other clerical functionary. The Philippins are of the latter class; and they not only themselves refuse all priestly ministrations, but they regard all such ministrations — baptism, marriage, sacraments — as invalid: and they rebaptize all who join their sect from other Russian communities. All their own ministerial offices are discharged by the Starik, or parish elder, who for the time takes the title of pope, and is required to observe celibacy. But the preaching is permitted to any one who feels himself "called by the Spirit" to undertake it. Among the Philippins the spirit of fanaticism at times has run to the wildest excesses. They refuse oaths, and decline to enter military service; and it Was on this account and like incompatibilities that they were forced to emigrate, under the leadership of Philip Pustoswiat, "the saint of the Desert." They are now settled partly in Polish Lithuania, partly in East Prussia, where they have several small settlements with churches of their own rite. They are reported to be a peaceable and orderly race. Their principal pursuit is agriculture; and their thrifty and industrious habits have secured for them the good-will of the land- proprietors as well as of the government.
They are sometimes called Bruleurs, or Tueurs, from their tendency to suicide, which they consider meritorious, and which they accordingly court, sometimes burying themselves alive, sometimes starving themselves to death. Accusations of laxity of morals have been brought against them, of renouncing marriage, and living in spiritual brotherhood and sisterhood, the truth of which has never been clearly established; for when the empress Anne (A.D. 1730-1740) seat commissioners to inquire into the state of their monasteries, they shut themselves up, and burned themselves alive within their own walls, rather than give any evidence on the subject. See Platon, Greek Church (see Index). (J.H.W.)