One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A dissenter from the Russian Church; specifically a member of a Russian Orthodox group which refused to accept the liturgical reforms of the Patriarch Nikon (1605–81); an Old Believer. Compare Raskol.
Early 18th century. From Russian raskol′nik schismatic, dissenter from the Russian Orthodox Church, Old Believer (Old Russian raskol′nik″) from raskol″ + -nik. Compare French raskolnik, German Roskolnik.
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