Non-possessors belonged to a 16th-century movement in the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 in opposition to ecclesiastical land-ownership. It was led by Nil Sorsky
Nil Sorsky
Nil Sorsky was a leader of the Russian medieval movement opposing ecclesiastic landownership . Nil Sorsky is venerated as a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church. His feast day is on the anniversary of his repose on May 7.-Early life:Before becoming a monk, Nil Sorsky worked as a scribe and was...

 and later Maksim Grek
Maximus the Greek
Maximus the Greek, also known as Maximos the Greek or Maksim Grek , was a Greek monk, publicist, writer, scholar, humanist, and translator active in Russia...

 and others and was opposed to the "Possessors" led by Joseph Volotsky
Joseph Volotsky
Joseph Volotsky — also known as Joseph of Volotsk or Joseph of Volokolamsk ; secular name Ivan Sanin — was a prominent caesaropapist ideologist of the Russian Orthodox Church who led the party defending monastic landownership.He is a saint ; his memory is celebrated on 9 September and 18...

 (they are also known as the "Josephites" for this reason) and later Archbishop Feodosii II of Novgorod. It was finally defeated at the Stoglav Council in 1551.

The non-possessors are similar to other movements in Christianity, the Spiritual Franciscan for example, in that they believed that ownership of land and the Church's possession of wealth in general had corrupted the church. The non-possessors (nestyazhateli) also believed that the Church should not forcibly convert or persecute heretics or pagans, but should patiently work to convert them to the true faith.
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