The alphabet was introduced by a Russian missionary, Stepan Khrap, also known as Saint Stephen of Perm (Степан Храп, св. Стефан Пермский) in 1372. The name Abur is derived from the names of the first two characters: An and Bur. The alphabet derived from Cyrillic and Greek, and Komi tribal signs, the latter being similar in the appearance to runes or siglas poveiras, because they were created by incisions, rather than by usual writing.
The alphabet was in use until the 17th century, when it was superseded by the Cyrillic script. Abur was also used as cryptographic writing for the Russian language.
April 26, which is the saint's day of Stephen of Perm, is celebrated as Old Permic Alphabet Day.