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народное христианство и рождественская обрядность на Западе и у славян
International Journal for the Study of Slavic Medieval Literature, History, Language and Ethnology

VOLUME 11 - 2003


Supplementum 1 to Palaeoslavica presents Alexander B. Strakhov's book
народное христианство и рождественская обрядность на Западе и у славян

The book contains a Preface, eight chapters, and a List of Works Cited.Chapters I-III describe the legendary miracles of Christmas Eve: the blossoming and fruit-bearing of trees (ch. I), water turning to a wine in rivers and springs (ch. II), the unusual behavior of domestic animals in barns (ch. III). The chapters analyze in details the Advent (the days of Stt. Barbara, Lucy, and Andrew) and its customs, whose aim is to stimulate the blossoming of trees; the legend of the fern which flowers on St. John's Eve; formulas of "impossible" (ch. I); motifs of "wine" and "vineyard" in Christmas carols; girls' fortunes-tellings about future groom; and ablutions and swimmings included into the ritual calendar (ch. II). Chapter III discusses the "Bethlehem mythology" and its echoes in popular rituals and superstitions concerning animals and shepherds.Chapter IV describes customs whose aim is fertility in the household: rituals concerning fruitful trees and rituals connected with straw; both taking place during Christmas-tide. The ritual burning of the Christmas log and threats to fruitful trees, both performed on Christmas Eve, are analyzed in connection with the Gospel motifs and parables, while the important role of the straw in all Christmas rituals is understood as an imitation of the setting of Bethlehem's cowshed.Chapter V describes motifs and taboos of the Christmas rituals which, as the authors shows, were borrowed from the corpus of superstitions and taboos surrounding pregnancy, labour and a post-partum period. Here the author analyzes the images of the "woman mythology": the Mother of God, St. Anne, midwife Salome. Chapter VI continues the discussion of the "woman theme" and describes the images of the popular meteorology which go back to the mytho-poetical understanding of the image and dance of Herodiade's daughter.Chapter VII discusses the peculiarities of people's behavior during Christmas, explained, on one hand, by the end of the pre-Christmas Fast and, on the other, by the popular belief that the infant Christ has not yet been baptized during the first two weeks of Christmas-tide. The book further discusses in details the Christian attitude towards fasting and breaches of fasting, as well as toward the baptismal ceremonies.Chapter VIII analyzes the popular beliefs of the written Christian tradition concerning the temporal relief of the sinful souls from their torments on the Christmas Eve. The author connects this idea with those elements of the European Christmas rituals that are usually explained by the pagan "cult of the ancestors."The book presents highly rich material concerning not only the Christmas rituals themselves but also such problems as the solar myth in Christianity, the symbolic significance of the wheel in rituals and customs; various localities of the "other world" (and images inhabiting it); the popular vision of time and its sacralization; the popular understanding of such images, as "Tree of Life" and "Tree of Death", Agnus Dei, Herod and Judas. The author often uses unpublished material, recorded by him and his colleagues during the ethnographical expeditions in Belarus and Ukraine between 1975 and 1988. The extremely rich list of sources cited contains 1053 positions.

Anne-Laurence Caudano
‘Let There Be Lights in the Firmament of the Heaven’:
Cosmological Depictions in Early Rus

International Journal for the Study of Slavic Medieval Literature, History, Language and Ethnology

VOLUME 14 - 2006

Supplementum 2
to Palaeoslavica presents Anne-Laurence Caudano's book
‘Let There Be Lights in the Firmament of the Heaven’: Cosmological Depictions in Early Rus

The book by Anne-Laurence Caudano is a detailed study of written, artistic and archaeological representations of heaven and celestial bodies in Early Rus, from the tenth to the end of the thirteenth centuries. It consists of an introduction, six chapters divided into two sections, and a conclusion.The Introduction is a brief review of the previous works written by eastern and western European scholars pertaining to knowledge of the universe and reflections on the heavens in Rus society. There, the scope and aims of the book are also set. The first part of the book deals with the primary sources. In the first chapter, all sources used are described, and the reasons to include them in the study explained. Although these distinctions are flexible, written sources are divided into two categories: Slavonic translations of original Byzantine works, and works written or collected by the Rus themselves. Material sources range from miniatures, panel-icons, architectural structures and archaeological items. The second chapter is devoted to the ‘readability’ of the foreign material. The aim of this section is to evaluate how much the cosmological ideas contained in Slavonic translations reflect that of the original Byzantine work. The assessment is based on the scope of these translations and the terminology used by the translator. The reproduction and imitation of Byzantine miniatures by the Rus, or their originality, is also part of this analysis. In the second part, cosmological elements are analysed through four cosmological ‘keywords’: heaven, sun, moon and stars. Chapter three is concerned with the heavens in general, and particularly the discussions concerning their shape and number. Representations of the heavens on frescoes, miniatures and icons are contrasted to the findings in written material. An important part is devoted to the symbolism of church buildings as a universe, the dome of which forms the heavens. The fourth chapter describes the sun and the notions related to this celestial object: day and night, seasons, years or the signs observed in the luminary (eclipses or meteorological phenomena). Solar allegories, such as these related to Christ or the eastern orientation of churches, are discussed, as well as potential solar symbols found on archaeological material. The fifth chapter is devoted to the moon and focuses more specifically on lunar phases, calendar tables and signs observed in the moon. Lunar allegories are also analysed, as well as the lunar crescents found among Rus jewelry. The sixth and final chapter is devoted to different sorts of stars, their symbolism and role in Rus society: planets, comets and meteors, or stars of the Zodiac. Various types of stellar pendants are described.The conclusion is a discussion of the place of the heavens in Rus society, and the contexts in which the observation of the cosmos was relevant or not to them: astronomy and astrology, calendars and liturgy, biblical interpretations and symbolic representations.Anne-Laurence Caudano is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg. She has completed her doctorate in the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge. Most recently she was a research associate at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto.



Ольга Б. Страхова
Глаголическая часть Реймского евангелия:
история, язык текст

International Journal for the Study of Slavic Medieval Literature, History, Language and Ethnology

VOLUME 22 - 2014

Supplementum 3
to Palaeoslavica presents Olga B. Strakhov's book
Глаголическая часть Реймского евангелия:
история, язык, текст 
In the entire corpus of Slavic literature one may hardly find a manuscript with a more eventful history than the famous Reims Gospel. The manuscript consists of two parts: the Cyrillic section (REcyr) and the Glagolitic section (REgl). The time and place of REcyr’s creation is unknown. Some consider it an East Slavic manuscript of the first half of the eleventh century; others, a Serbi­an manuscript of the second half of the twelfth century. REgl fol­lows the Catholic rite.
From its colophon we learn that            
     (a) this Glagolitic part was writ­ten in 1395;            
     (b) it contains readings for solemn masses, during which the abbot of the monastery served in episcopal attire;            
     (c) that the Cyrillic section was, the colophon states, written in Saint Procopius of Sazava’s own hand: Pro­copius of Sazava died on March 25, 1053 and was, and is, one of the most revered Czech saints, a great champion of the liturgy in Slavonic, at least ac­cord­ing to his vitae; and finally,            
     (d) that the manu­script had been donated to the (unnamed) monastery by its founder, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, for the greater glory of the monastery and in honor of Sts. Jerome and Procopius.            
Despite the fact that the monastery in question is not named in the colophon, the men­tion of Charles IV as its founder, as well as of St. Jerome and St. Procopius as its patron saints, point to this text as having been copied in the Prague Emmaus Benedictine Monastery, founded in 1347 by Charles IV. The monastery was dedicated, among others, to Sts. Jerome and Procopius, its monks worshipped in Slavonic using Glagolitic liturgical texts, and its Abbot served in episcopal attire, a privilege granted to the monas­tery’s abbots on February 3, 1350 by Pope Clement VI.           
The scholarly literature on the Reims Gospel is enormous and full of inferences which are, very often, speculative and questionable, occasionally reliable and plausible, and inevitably intriguing. Thus we read in various scholarly accounts suggestions that REcyr was copied in Kiev for Princess Anna Yaroslavna (c. 1030-1075), later the queen consort of France as the widow of Henry I of France and regent for her son Philip I; or that the manuscript was produced in the court of Serbian Despota Helen for St. Louis IX; or that the manuscript was written by Saint Procopius of Sazava, or even by Saint Methodius, Apostle to the Slavs, himself; that it was given by Anna Yaroslavna, queen of France, to Roger, Bishop of Châlons; or that it was deli­vered to France by crusaders who plundered Constantinople in 1204; or that it was donated to the Reims Cathedral by Cardinal Charles of Lorraine; that it was used in the coronation of French kings, from Henry III to Louis XVI; that it was none other than Russian Tsar Peter the Great, who, while visiting Reims on June 22, 1717, determined the Slavonic origin of the manuscript; or that it was his vice-chancellor Count Shafirov; or the Russian ambassador Prince Kurakin in 1726, etc.           
The book (263 pp.) puts aside this mass of divergent secondary literature and offers a completely new perspective on the Glagolitic part of the manuscript.