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Key words
Inochentists, Balta psychosis, the sacred and the profane, space semiotization, megaiconostasis
About the Author
Tel.: +380 (48) 722-48-15
9, Pushkinskaya str., Odessa, 65026, Ukraine
Senior Researcher, Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art

Alexandr A. Prigarin
Tel.: +380 (48) 723-52-54
2, Dvoryanskaya str., Odessa, 65082, Ukraine
DSc in History, Professor in the Department of Ukrainian Archeology and Ethnology, Odessa I. I. Mechnikov National University
Date of publication

For more than a century and a half, photographs have been included in people’s daily and holiday practices and form an important part of mass and folk culture. Given the shortage of canonical images, the role of photographs is not so much to replace them as it is to supply of believers with a basic, necessary visual array that symbolizes the connection between the accessible and the inaccessible, the visible and the invisible.
A vivid and original example of this phenomenon may be observed in the sphere of alternative religiosity among the Inochentists of the Odessa Region. The Inochentists endow photos with additional significance, including the perception of photographic prints as sacred symbols, despite their technological modernity. In the home of one of the apologists of this religious movement the authors observed an organic but paradoxical combination of Orthodox artifacts and personal relics. Insofar as the Inochentists value the essence of the image apart from the way it was made, photographic prints fulfill the function of iconographic images. We have observed entire iconostases of this type.
The authors found that in the context of non-canonical belief, homemade and amateur photographs exhibit the traditional characteristics of icons and are more in demand than they are, fulfilling the roles of coded tradition, objects of reverence, and items to be interpreted and debated. This kind of original material can be used not so much for documentary reconstructions as for the reconstruction of mental preferences and characteristics of a particular worldview.


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For citation

Dmytriuk V. V., Prigarin A. A. Sacredness in a profane interior: Photographs among the Inochentists. Traditional culture. 2019. Vol. 20. No. 2. Pp. 98–112. In Russian.