Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Studies of Historical Hagiographies through Prism of Structuralism

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Studies of Historical Hagiographies through Prism of Structuralism

Article excerpt


Synodal Commission for the Causes of Saints is the coordinating scientific-research body involved in collecting and analysis of materials for canonization of hermits of faith in order to represent it for decision to His Holiness Patriarch and the Holy Synod. Commission is formed by prescription of the Holy Synod in 1989, according to decision of Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of year 1988. As basis of future activity of Commission acted the work of historical-canonic group in frames of Jubilee Commission on preparation and conduction of celebration of Rus Conversion Millenium.

The result of major activity of Commission became the preparation of canonization of Russian New Martyrs and confessors of XX century that at that moment were accepted to be considered as known to God only, but not to people, at the Jubilee Bishop's Council of year 2000 (1097 persons were honored by names).

Within all period of time while Metropolitan Yuvenaliy of Krutitsy and Kolomna was holding the chairman's position (years 1989-2011), 1866 hermits of devotion, including 1776 Russian New Martyrs and confessors were canonized ( Namely this is one of reasons of actuality of the given research; there also exist disparities in the New Martyrs lists of ROC and ROCOR, soon after canonization took place the process of decanonization, parishioners are not aware about "New Martyrs Martyrdom", and the process of canonization itself, according to words of church representatives, is still not completed.

While speaking about a contemporary researchers of this phenomenon, the most well-known among them is hegumen Damaskin (Orlovskiy), who was one of the first in our country eo start the studies of Martyrdom of Russian New Martyrs. By virtue of his efforts, the now widely known hagiographic collections "martyrs, confessors and hermits of devotion of Russian Orthodox Church of XX century" came out. Studies of history of persecution against the Church in XX century became life-time projects for Father Damaskin. Today he is a person in charge of "Memory of martyrs and confessors of Russian Orthodox Church" foundation that is conducting a serious work on studies of material about the saints of Russian land, detection and promotion of their spiritual heritage (Damaskin, 2014). The New Martyrdom also became an object of studies in several candidate dissertations. A large amount of information is comprised namely in articles and reports at conferences, belonging to different authors. In connection with this we can tell that the problem is insufficiently studies, there is not complex approach.

Chronological frames of our research cover to some degree a rather large period of time: in the work will be analyzed historical hagiographies from the Conversion of Rus to XV-XVI centuries, because the phenomenon of the New Martyrdom should be started from the very beginning.


Religions studies' analysis rarely addresses to paradigm of structuralism. And this is no completely correct, because religion has a language dimension too, being reflected in religious texts and texts about religion. One of specific forms of religious literature are hagiographies and menologies.

Levy-Strauss used the method of structuralism for studies of preliterate cultures (and hagiographies also initially had an oral nature only), in connection with which certain peculiarities are distinguished:

1) phenomenon of culture is considered in synchronous cross-section of society, in unity of its internal and external connections;

2) phenomenon of culture is analyzed as a multilevel integral formation, and connections between its levels are interpreted in semiotic key;

3) research of phenomenon is performed with obligatory taking into account of its variability, in frames of particular culture or more wide area where its transformation took place (http://www. …

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