I am trying to discover how the infrequent Communion practice developed in the Russian Church. I think it stems from the annual confession and communion requirement introduced by Tsar Peter the Great's reforms. But I am not sure. It occurred to me that perhaps looking at the Old Believers (with priests) could help elucidate pre Nikonian practice on this issue, unless they too have changed. Can anyone help?
It preceded the Petrine reforms. Infrequent communion was a common problem that sparked the Kollyvades movement (their name, however, was sparked by a separate issue--opposition to the newly devised "Sunday memorials"). Many Saints, including St. Paisij Velichovsky, were involved with this movement.
The idea that one had to take confession before Communion, for example, stemmed from infrequent communion (but this only among the northern Slavs, among the Greeks, an additional period of fasting was developed instead). The canons do not require Confession before Communion unless you have either committed a mortal sin, missed Church for more than 3 Sundays, or abstained from Communion without a valid cause, especially repetitively due to neglect of preparedness. Since the entire Church fell into infrequent Communion, it was logical to make the 1:1 association, since those who do not commune frequently do have to partake of confession ahead of time for the above reasons. I wrote a series of articles on this in the UOW on preparation for communion in the middle of the last decade.