The Female Spiritual Elder and Death: Some Thoughts on Contemporary Lives of Russian Orthodox Saints

In contemporary Orthodox hagiography a special type of saint has emerged — blessed female spiritual elders (blazhennye startsy should not be in italics here). In some respects this form of sainthood is a successor to the traditional “fools for the sake of Christ.” Yet the staritsy have their distinctive features, chief among them the saint’s possession of an incurable disease such as blindness or motor function disorders. The meaning of these ailments can be interpreted as a sign of permanent liminality and the person’s divine election.

Imagining My Country: Pilgrimage as Postcolonial Reassessment of National Identity in Contemporary Russian Domestic Travel Writing

This article examines Irina Bogatyreva’s novella Off the Beaten Track (2008) through the prism of postcolonial theory, highlighting the specific ways in which an author can use religious elements, such as pilgrimage, to resist the totalizing ethnic or socioeconomic narratives imposed from the cultural and political centers of the Russian Federation.


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