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Webinar lecture

“Today I Arise”: Lenten Repentance and Paschal Renewal in Russian Liturgy
in the Last Years of the Empire and in a time of Pestilence

With Professor Nadieszda Kizenko, State University of New York, Albany

Saturday, April 25, 1:00-2:00pm, Free. Register by clicking the link below. The host will send you an email on the day of the event with a link to the Zoom webinar.

The objects in this exhibition take on new meaning when we look at them in the context of how they were used. Although many seem to be purely decorative, they have a religious context. Easter eggs and Easter foods in Russia were part of a broader European tradition to prepare for the Paschal Resurrection as a spiritual spring cleaning. To celebrate Easter, people first had to cleanse themselves by going through Lent, fasting, and confessing their sins. This communal, ritualized aspect of repentance and atonement in Russia and Europe also drew on Jewish practices in the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: stepping back from one’s usual life and reflecting on one’s sins made it possible to then embrace the joyous physicality, materiality, and new life that Easter and Easter eggs represented.

This lecture examines individual objects through the prism of religious and popular observance. It explores how domestic objects connected to Easter observance—Easter eggs, Easter cake tins, and molds—take on particular meaning in a time when people are deprived of the liturgy that normally sustains them. What do material objects and domestic liturgy give the faithful in the absence of the Temple? Do we see both objects and liturgy in a different light?

Nadia Kizenko is Professor of Russian and East European history at the State University of New York, Albany. She writes and lectures often on Orthodox Christianity in the Russian empire and beyond. Look for her forthcoming book, Good for the Russian Souls? Church, State, and Sacramental Confession in the Empire from the 17th Century to 1917.

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