The Black Death had a profound effect on religious expression throughout Christian Europe, but the ritual of constructing one-day votive churches was a uniquely Russian Orthodox phenomenon. My research looks at the circumstances under which one-day churches were constructed, the sacral-symbolic meanings that these churches represented, and finally, how we can interpret the written record we have about them. One-day churches were constructed of freshly cut wood, on virgin ground. The initiative to build them came from secular authority, religious authority, or a combination of the two. Immediately upon completion, the one-day churches were publicly consecrated by a religious authority figure. The accelerated and continuous construction process was believed to create a magical barrier capable of protecting the city from the evil forces associated with epidemic disease. Medieval Russian chronicles tell us when and at whose direction the one-day churches were built. They do not explain why contemporary people considered one-day churches to be an appropriate response to epidemic disease. In an attempt to answer that question, I will situate the one-day church ritual within the context of environmental, ideological, and sociopolitical trends in medieval northern Russia, focusing specifically on the cities of Novgorod and Pskov from the late-14th to mid-16th centuries.

Bending Time to Regenerate the World: One-day votive churches as protection against the Black Death in northern Russia, 1390-1552

Emma Louise Leahy
;
Emma Louise Leahy;Emma Louise Leahy
2021

Abstract

The Black Death had a profound effect on religious expression throughout Christian Europe, but the ritual of constructing one-day votive churches was a uniquely Russian Orthodox phenomenon. My research looks at the circumstances under which one-day churches were constructed, the sacral-symbolic meanings that these churches represented, and finally, how we can interpret the written record we have about them. One-day churches were constructed of freshly cut wood, on virgin ground. The initiative to build them came from secular authority, religious authority, or a combination of the two. Immediately upon completion, the one-day churches were publicly consecrated by a religious authority figure. The accelerated and continuous construction process was believed to create a magical barrier capable of protecting the city from the evil forces associated with epidemic disease. Medieval Russian chronicles tell us when and at whose direction the one-day churches were built. They do not explain why contemporary people considered one-day churches to be an appropriate response to epidemic disease. In an attempt to answer that question, I will situate the one-day church ritual within the context of environmental, ideological, and sociopolitical trends in medieval northern Russia, focusing specifically on the cities of Novgorod and Pskov from the late-14th to mid-16th centuries.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1660816
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