Peasants, Pilgrims, and Sacred Promises: Ritual and the Supernatural in Orthodox Karelian Folk Religion
Lying on the border between eastern and western Christendom, Orthodox Karelia preserved its unique religious culture into the 19th and 20th centuries, when it was described and recorded by Finnish and Karelian folklore collectors. This colorful array of rituals and beliefs involving nature spirits, saints, the dead, and pilgrimage to monasteries represented a unique fusion of official Church ritual and doctrine and pre-Christian ethnic folk belief. This book undertakes a fascinating exploration into many aspects of Orthodox Karelian ritual life: beliefs in supernatural forces, folk models of illness, body concepts, divination, holy icons, the role of the ritual specialist and healer, the divine between nature and culture, images of the forest, the cult of the dead, and the popular image of monasteries and holy hermits. This book will appeal to anyone interested in popular religion, the cognitive study of religion, ritual studies, medical anthropology, and the folk traditions and symbolism of the Balto-Finnic peoples.
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Preface and acknowledgments
Folk religion and the sacred
Folk religion in Orthodox Karelia
Boundaries against disorder
disorder in the resource zone shared by humans
communal cohesion and disorder in
The natureculture dichotomy in communal selfdefinition
The pilgrimage vow and sacred ideals
the sacred divided
Abbreviations for archival source materials