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Virtual Lecture: Orthodox Rituals and Practices of Peasants in Late Imperial Russia

Sunday, January 22, 1:00-2:00pm
Members $5, Not-yet-members $9
Registration required by Saturday, January 21. The Zoom link will be emailed the morning of the program.

Although nineteenth-century ethnographers assumed that Russian peasants practiced ancient pagan rituals and had only a basic understanding of Russian Orthodoxy, the reality was far different. Besides venerating icons and saints in the home and church and attending divine liturgy, peasants regularly participated in parish feast days. They also made pilgrimages to monasteries near and far, seeking spiritual counsel, intense prayer, and cures for bodily and spiritual maladies (including demonic possession) at saints’ graves, before wonder-working icons, and at holy springs. The 1903 canonization of Serafim of Sarov represented one of many celebrations of God’s grace when the intercession of a saint before God was believed to be particularly potent.

Presented by Christine D. Worobec, Distinguished Research Professor Emerita, Northern Illinois University.  Worobec has written numerous path-breaking books and articles, especially her monographs Peasant Russia: Family and Community in the Post-Emancipation Period (Princeton University Press), which won the Association of Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) Heldt Prize for the Best Book by a Woman in 1991 and Possessed: Women, Witches, and Demons in Imperial Russia (Northern Illinois University Press), which won the Heldt Prize for the Best Book in Women’s Studies a decade later. Most recently, she worked on mapping and analyzing Orthodox pilgrimages in modern Ukraine and Russia.