Lex Talionis: Narratives About the Punishment of Blasphemers in the Orthodox Urban Community

Альманах
Key words
urban folklore, narrative scheme, blasphemers, Strastnoi Monastery, Orthodox community, anti-religious campaign
Author
Nadezhda N. Rychkova
About the Author
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5516-1643
E-mail: nadya.vohman@gmail.com Tel.: +7 (495) 250-69-31
6, Miusskaya sq., Moscow, 125047, Russian Federation
PhD in Philology, Fellow Researcher, Centre for Typological and Semiotic Folklore Studies, Russian State University for the Humanities
Received
Date of publication
DOI
https://doi.org/10.26158/TK.2020.21.2.010
Body

This article discusses texts about the punishment of blasphemers recorded from community members of the Strastnoi Monastery. The monastery was created in 1654 and destroyed along with its buildings in 1937. Contemporary Orthodox believers hope: (1) to revive the monastery on Pushkin Square in Moscow; and (2) to restore the sacredness of this place. Despite the fact that such issues have been studied by folklorists more than once, the majority of the texts they recorded have been from rural people. The relevance of the current research stems from the fact that its data was collected in urban space. The difference between rural and urban texts is that the urban ones concern not so much the events of Soviet history such as anti-religious campaigns, but modern life connected with the monastery, and not only that. The research shows that the narrative scheme “a person violates taboos and is punished by higher forces” continues to be realized in contemporary religious folklore narratives. Such stories may be told to confirm the special status of a place; to teach a person how to behave in a sacred place or with a sacred object; and to maintain community identity. 

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For citation

Rychkova N. N. Lex Talionis: Narratives About the Punishment of Blasphemers in the Orthodox Urban Community. Traditional Culture. 2020. Vol. 21. No. 2. Pp. 115–123. In Russian.