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  • #344823

    Anonymous

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    In 2010, my friend and I went to the Arkhangelsk region on a survival trip, which, however, was not so extreme because welcoming northern women fed us as we do not eat in Moscow  :) . But this is not the point. The residents of Russian north are Pomors – a Russian subethnos (with a Finno-Ugric substratum), who still lead quiet measured life filled with magic and Slavic mythology despite the fact that all of them are calling themselves Orthodox. Pagan worldview itself is very strong and is present in our daily life, but in these places it is more obvious.

    So called "obetnyje kresty” (votive crosses) are very common in the Russian North. This is a great example of the synthesis of Russian Orthodoxy and Paganism in the north. People bring clothes and stuff to the cross and pray for healing of loved ones, help, etc.

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    We have even seen wooden Christ statue, made as a cross with open arms. It is very unusual, as statues of Christ are not very common in Orthodox Church. And people come to this statue and hang clothes on it regularly.

    Also, different spells are used very often, which are considered to be "Christian", but, you know, there are no Christian spells as Christianity denies any magic. We talked to the locals about the spells, and they were speaking about them as if they were talking about ordinary everyday things. For northerners Paganism in fact haven’t gone, that old way of life is still preserved, just the background changed. So there is no need for them to call themselves Neo-anybody.

    #406136

    Anonymous

    Interesting. Since they are Finno-Ugric substratum do you think this tradition is more of Finno-Ugric or Slavic origin?

    #406137

    Anonymous

    Thank you for this thread. This is exactly a type of informations I'm very interested in – pagan rites and magic in everyday life.

    Povhec – using parts of clothes for magic acts is common among Slavs.

    #406138

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Interesting. Since they are Finno-Ugric substratum do you think this tradition is more of Finno-Ugric or Slavic origin?

    I mentioned Finno-Ugric substratum just to be precise. In this case, I think the major factor was the remoteness of these areas from the political center, so neither authorities nor official Church were able to fully control the life on these lands. Therefore, people have preserved some ancestral traditions, in this case, Slavic. Finno-Ugric communities who had lived densely in the Arkhangelsk region left some special wooden idols (partly destroyed and burned by one Christian priest in the beginning of the XX century).

    imageimageimage

    #406139

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Interesting. Since they are Finno-Ugric substratum do you think this tradition is more of Finno-Ugric or Slavic origin?

    No, it is not. This is example of inculturation. Similar practices exist among other Slavs, even  among Lithuanians I think.
    For example Serbs bring shirts and priglavc on grave crosses.
    PS
    Pomors were not exactly Orthodox, most of them were Old believers, majority even bespopovci.

    #406140

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    I mentioned Finno-Ugric substratum just to be precise. In this case, I think the major factor was the remoteness of these areas from the political center, so neither authorities nor official Church were able to fully control the life on these lands. Therefore, people have preserved some ancestral traditions, in this case, Slavic.

    Thanks for starting the topic.

    Pomory have a Finnic admix, but then again which Slavs don’t have an admix of other ethnicities? People in the north have preserved much of folk culture the elements of which are recognisable as Slavic by eastern Slavs.  The region is a treasure in regards to folklore.

    More pictures from the Russian North which I posted in Slavic picture of the day" topic which I can remember now in which northern region of Russia they were taken.

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    #406141

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Pomors were not exactly Orthodox, most of them were Old believers, majority even bespopovci.

    Yeah, Old Belief was widespread in the north before 1917. Then Soviet opression drove them underground. Starovery survived, but now they live in closed communities and not very welcome any guests. Moreover, Starovery are more strict with such remnants of paganism.

    Even the Soviet religious terror was not able to abolish Northern devoutness. I remember one granny told us some absolutely mind-blowing stories about one local Soviet chief in the 50-60-s, the head of political education office (that post demanded to be a strict atheist, a shock -worker and a true builder of communism), who always used a variety of charms and magical rites to tranquilize the cattle, to make it rain – and all that actually happened! He was absolutely mysterious person and everyone feared and respected him not actually for his position (he could easily destroy the destiny of any person), but for his powerful magic knowledge.

    Even today Northern people when entering the forest, are still greeting it "Zdravstvuj, Les-Lesovich!". They consider the forest as a living organism, as an equal to themselves, so before you enter it for picking berries or hunting it is very important to greet it politely. If Les is dissatisfied with your behavior, he can even "vodit’" you – to make you stray and get lost, even if you know every inch of the forest.

    I have a friend, he is about 40 years old, a typical Moscow corporative manager who consider himself an Orthodox Christian and go to church regularly. However, once we had gone on a fishing trip, and when he came to the river, he bowed down to it, said, "Zdravstvuj, Reka-Matushka!" and crossed himself. So totally amazed I learned that the tradition has been preserved not only in remote villages, but in dirty and noisy Leviathan-cities too.

    #406142

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    "pomors" they are slavs as the " Pomaks " of Balkan

    I didn't say that they are not Slavic.

    #406144

    Anonymous

    Mixed paganism and christianity are common for whole eastern Europe, including Poland, Czech and Slovak republic.

    #406145

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Mixed paganism and christianity are common for whole eastern Europe, including Poland, Czech and Slovak republic.

    In Romania as well you can find this mix. Actually most of the customs have pagan origin.

    #406146

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Mixed paganism and christianity are common for whole eastern Europe, including Poland, Czech and Slovak republic.

    Well, it is not acctaully mix. That people are Christians, they do not believe in ancient gods, they just continued to use old costumes in new religion. They do not understand it in original way, they do not follow ancient Slavonic religion. And *it is mostly folk costumes* not exactly expressing of religious feelings. I allready poitned similar example in other discussion, of staunch atheist who cross himself when emotionlay affected, that does not make him Christian. Or on other place of Мuslims in Bosnia who preserved some of costumes of their Christian ancestors. They offten participat in proccession in Montenegro coast, but they are not Christians in any sense, except in matter of syncreticism.

    #406147

    Anonymous

    Something similar (not in such striking forms) exists in villages of South Siberian region "Altay". People officially described as Christians still believe in their village magic and something else. There is no preservation of Slavic culture in such things nor any positive changes in their lives besides attemps of neighbours to kill each others by magic and other weird stories from such villages.

    #406148

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    That people are Christians, they do not believe in ancient gods, they just continued to use old costumes in new religion.

    I can't agree fully with that… nowadays our Gods are prised under different name but they are still the same: St. George is Perun, St. Nicolas is Weles, Mother of God Mary is Mokosh, Jesus have mix of qualities (mostly form Svarozic). Saints start to play roles of Gods. And what about holidays? There is nothing in Bible about Christmas or St. John's Day or All Saints Day. Most of them ware taken from pagan tradition and this preserved.

    In Poland especially in East part of our country exist such a thing as described in previous posts. Hear about "szeptuchy"?

    http://www.forum.com.pl/oferty/69qqbaal/index.php

    http://sabatnik.pl/articles.php?article_id=263

    #406149

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    I can't agree fully with that… nowadays our Gods are prised under different name but they are still the same: St. George is Perun, St. Nicolas is Weles, Mother of God Mary is Mokosh, Jesus have mix of qualities (mostly form Svarozic).

    That people understand them as Perun (PS Perun's atributes were ascribed to St Elias) Mokosh (St, Paraskeva acctually) or Veles? No they do not. They understand them as intercessors to God. I grow up in such enviroment. I am pretty well aware how villagers understand Saints. Nobody see gods in them. Anyway, Jesus is God in Christianity, not really good example.

    Quote:
    And what about holidays? There is nothing in Bible about Christmas or St. John's Day or All Saints Day. Most of them ware taken from pagan tradition and this preserved.

    Bible is not some set of rulles. In Christian understanding it is book which recollects History of salvation of mankind. So there is no mention of any hollyday, let alon rules of celebrating.
    But, if you are really interested, since early days Christians were gathering on site where Martyrs were executed, it is how most of Christian hollydays were established, with exception of oldest and most importnant Pasha (Ressurection/Easter).
    St Joh the Baptist is biblical person. And his hollydays are established in pretty understandable manner, since he baptized Christ, his day is day after Theophany. His other hollyday (Birth of Saint John) is 6 months before Christmass, since that is how things are described in Bible. St Joh was 6 months older than Christ.
    All Saints day is established in 7th century in Rome. Probably in place of some pagan hollyday. But again I fail to see any connection to Slavs. Bulk of Slavs were not Christians back then.
    And like I said, it was practice of Roman Church, to establish hollyday in same day as Pagans, to fight for influence in society. Same thing happened with moving Christmas from 6th of January to 25th of December.

    Anyway, I am not trying to offend anybody or anything. What I said id my opinion based on what I learned in History of Religion (comparation of various religion), and some other strictly Christian theological subjects (like Heorhology, ie history of Hollydays and cult.)

    #406150

    Anonymous

    KAPLICZKI : The Wayside Shrines of Poland

    A wayside shrine is a religious image, usually in some sort of small shelter, placed by a road or pathway, sometimes in a settlement or at a crossroads, but often in the middle of an empty stretch of country road, or at the top of a hill or mountain. They have been a feature of many cultures, including Catholic Europe. Shrines are common in Poland, Austria, Southern Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

    Wayside shrines have always been prevalent in Poland. Before Poland became a nation the early Slavic tribes, who lived in the area, practiced a naturalistic religion with a hierarchy of gods, both good and evil. There were also lesser spirits which inhabited the natural world of rivers, trees, rocks, plants and animals.

    As a protection against evil, talismans were erected in strategic places, at entrances to villages, in front of homes and at places that were deemed dangerous. These talismans were the precursors of the wayside shrines of later centuries.

    After the baptism of King Mieszko I into the Roman Catholic faith in 966 A.D., the talismans were more Christian in appearance and became what we now know as wayside shrines (kapliczki). The explanation of the word ‘kapliczka’ says that it derives from the Latin word capella, which means to cover or shelter a religious figure or object. As far back as the 7th century, a small building containing the coat and relics of St. Martin was called capella, a diminutive of the Latin cappa, meaning cover or cloak.

    But Polish ethnographers claim that kapliczki, or roadside shrines, have their origins in ancient pagan traditions and Christian religious beliefs. In the times of our ancient pagan ancestors, the outer boundaries of a village or the place where two roads met, was considered to be an evil place where unfriendly spirits waited to pounce upon the unsuspecting traveler. By the same token, certain trees were seen as having magical powers. Water also had magical properties. Pagan shrines were placed at the feet of such sites and various cult activities occurred here. With the acceptance of Christianity, old beliefs and rites were hard to abandon. Our ancestors sought to protect their old beliefs yet incorporate the new faith. As a result, many kapliczki are found near trees that were believed to have magical powers such as linden, birch or sycamore trees. The mighty oak had similar properties as did evergreens. The linden, for instance, was considered especially sacred as protection against lightening and evil spirits. Later, within the Christian realm, the linden tree was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sycamore leaves had the power to remove spells, but were also utilized on St. John’s Eve as window and door decorations to prevent entry by witches.

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    Despite centuries of oppression by foreign powers, one thing remained constant in the lives of the Polish people, their strong religious faith. The Polish landscape is filled with visual signs of this deep faith and love of God. Wayside shrines can be found everywhere. At crossroads, in fields and forests, along highways and byways, these shrines vary in size and design. Many kapliczki are constructed of stone or brick and enclosed within an alcove, you’ll see a crucifix, a religious painting or figure of Christ or one of a saint. Kings and noblemen erected elaborate kapliczki made of stone and marble often in thanksgiving for battles won. Many of these indeed look like miniature chapels. Wealthy landowners would also build large kapliczki in an effort to ensure a successful harvest, healthy livestock and prosperity in general. However, a kapliczka is not necessarily a chapel-like building.

    A kapliczka can also be a side altar or small chapel within a church. Some of the earliest ones were carved of wood and date from the 15th century.  Some kapliczki are statues of favorite saints simply set on a pedestal; for example, a statue of St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, may be placed near a village as a protection against fire. A farmer would erect a simple, large cross in his field so it would be blessed with a successful harvest. A kapliczka can also be a religious picture or statue set in a special place within a home with a vase of flowers or a votive candle lit beneath it – one’s own personal chapel. However, the most beautiful kapliczki are found in the countryside.

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    The oldest kapliczki were carved from wood and date back to the 15th century. The height of their development came later during the Counter Reformation in the 17th century. The church began issuing decrees demanding that parish priests ensure the sign of the cross was represented in all villages to demonstrate that Catholics had nothing whatsoever in common with heretics and pagans.

    In the 19th century, as the affluence of the Polish peasant grew, the shrines began to take on a more secular, personal purpose and began to be built at the expense of individuals, families and sometimes entire villages. The shrines were built to express needs or gratefulness: to thank God for blessings received, to ask for the undoing of misfortune, asking for a return to health, protection against calamity, gratefulness for the establishment of a new home, success in the harvest, the satisfactory conclusion of an important task and protection from fire, flood or epidemics. The wayside shrines were also located at the sites of battles, in front of graveyards and at the site of crimes. These shrines were expected to contribute to the salvation of the dead and also to protect the living from wandering souls. Every small hamlet, village or town had their own shrine. It could be a large crucifix, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or a particular saint. St. John Nepomucen for instance, can be found near rivers and streams since he the patron saint invoked against floods

    Whether large or small, the kapliczki of Poland fulfilled the need of the people to connect with God. Not just in church on Sunday, but in their everyday life. These wayside shrines were cared for by all: adorned with flowers in spring and summer, sheaves of wheat and ribbons in the fall and in the midwinter, evergreens decorated with hand made straw flowers.

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    [img width=607 height=700]http://x.garnek.pl/ga8362/39a3f664b89b7a11561421a3/przydrozne_kapliczki_w_lubelskim.jpg” />

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    [img width=525 height=700]http://x.garnek.pl/ga5698/5d55131c546a1a22724749a3/przydrozne_kapliczki_swiadkowie.jpg” />

    [img width=700 height=637]http://x.garnek.pl/ga2114/545f7fe216254a11561409a3/przydrozne_kapliczki_w_lubelskim.jpg” />

    [img width=525 height=700]http://x.garnek.pl/ga2381/12e83da0ac8c5a14024459a3/przydrozna_kapliczka_w.jpg” />

    [img width=700 height=525]http://www.kukow.pl/foto/albums/userpics/10001/kapliczka4.JPG” />

    [img width=464 height=700]http://www.wartkowice.pl/asp/pliki/Kultura/kapliczka_001.jpg” />

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    [img width=468 height=700]http://gosc.pl/files/12/03/12/563764_Kapliczka_01_4.jpg” />

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    [img width=525 height=700]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_58bsztuaKs4/S_zlI2aY2uI/AAAAAAAAAC4/PSKViRYgc0o/s1600/Przydro%C5%BCne+kapliczki+2.JPG” />

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    [img width=469 height=700]http://kujawsko-pomorskie.regiopedia.pl/sites/default/files/imagecache/width630px/photos/kap_45v1_gleboczek.jpg” />

    [img width=700 height=633]http://czachorowski.blox.pl/resource/drzewokapliczka.jpg” />

    [img width=468 height=700]http://kujawsko-pomorskie.regiopedia.pl/sites/default/files/imagecache/width630px/photos/ks_11v1_borek.jpg” />

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    [img width=700 height=466]http://kapliczki.org.pl/mediawiki-1.19.1/images/f/f0/W%C4%99gliska,_Chrystus_Frasobliwy,_kapl._wisz%C4%85ca_b.jpeg” />

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    [img width=475 height=700]http://s1.manifo.com/usr/7/73F59/72/manager/etno/csc_0348.jpg” />

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    [img width=468 height=700]http://bialczynski.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/kapliczka.jpg” />

    [img width=468 height=700]http://bialczynski.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/kapl-20080615120813284_1_original.jpg” />

    [img width=525 height=700]http://i1.trekearth.com/photos/65666/pawkap.jpg” />

    [img width=700 height=490]http://i1.trekearth.com/photos/65666/kapprzy.jpg” />

    Wayside shrines and crosses – documantaries in Polish

    More wayside shrines
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Wayside_shrines_in_Poland
    http://www.geolocation.ws/tag/Wayside%20shrines%20in%20Podlaskie%20Voivodeship/en

    Source 1
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    Source 3
    Source 4

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