Figures of (Trans-) National Religious Memory of the Orthodox Southern Slavs before 1945: An Outline on the Examples of SS. Cyril and Methodius

By Rohdewald, Stefan | Trames, September 2008 | Go to article overview

Figures of (Trans-) National Religious Memory of the Orthodox Southern Slavs before 1945: An Outline on the Examples of SS. Cyril and Methodius


Rohdewald, Stefan, Trames


1. Introduction

The analysis of lieux de memoire, or places of memory, is--in the eyes of the historian--still a relatively new approach. Although its origins lie in the works of Maurice Halbwachs, it was only applied later by Pierre Nora, and subsequently in Germany by Etienne Francois and Hagen Schulze (Echterhoff and Saar 2002). Within this concept, places of memory are to be understood metaphorically--they are not confined to physical places, but include personalities, events, buildings and memorials, institutions and terms. Such places of memory exist in the production and reproduction of social groups sharing the remembrance. They are "long living points of crystallisation of collective memory and identity. They are embedded in societal, cultural and political practices, and they change inasmuch as the ways of their perception, reception, use and transmission change" (Francois and Schulze 2001:18). Jan Assmann (1997) writes about 'figures of memory', and defines them as "culturally formed, societally binding 'images of memory'"--a term used already by Halbwachs. Assmann prefers the term 'figure', because it means not only iconographic shaping, but narrative, too--alluding to figures of speech. 'Figures of memory' have, with Jan Assmann, a 'specific relationship to time and space' as well as to a social group. According to him, 'cultural memory concentrates on fixed points in the past'. The past 'levitates and fixates' into 'symbolic figures'. In the process of remembrance, history is said to become 'a reality as a normative and producing power' (Assmann 1997:52). Yet Assmann's sharp separation between dynamic 'communicative memory' (which refers to the recent past and communication with living witnesses) and the long term, less flexible 'cultural memory' must be questioned. While Halbwachs stressed the dynamics of reproduction, Assmann's conception of a primarily religious 'cultural memory' is more static. Yet change in 'mythical history' (Smith 1999) in repeated narration is not to be underestimated, but rather has to be of primary interest (Flacke 1998). Seeing figures of memory as possibly 'invented traditions' (Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983) to foster national 'imagined communities' (Anderson 1991), one has to be very sceptical about any claims of continuity and homogeneity.

Lieux de memoire are most often analysed in a national context, and seldom, until lately, in a transnational setting. For the new cultural history of nationalism, the construction, popularisation and cultural medialisation of national self-perception is pivotal. (1) Yet so-called national saints, or Christian religious figures of memory, have so far mostly been analysed for the late medieval ages and early modern period, while only a few works focus on their role in the 19th and 20th centuries. When Nationalism is analysed as 'secular religion', the term 'religion' is used in an analytical and abstract way. Yet it is my intention to look for expressively Christian elements in nationalism (Steigmann-Gall 2004:390-93). (2)

Working with these concepts, the perception of the individuals themselves (and thus their words and sentences) remains of determining significance. I concentrate on national religious figures of memory in nominally orthodox societies to investigate whether the latter developed a special relationship between Christian religion and nationalism. Religious history and cultural history are thus central aspects of political history. In a further step, which does not lie within the scope of this study, the results have to be compared to the evolving research on national saints in western European modern societies. Only then is the project able to adapt, confirm or refute the often-asserted thesis of an especially close relationship between church and nation in Eastern Europe--particularly between nationalism and the Orthodox church.

For my project, 'Figures of National Religious Memory of the Orthodox Southern Slavs until 1945', only those phenomena which were important in the political discourse of the Slavic dominated pre-modern societies, or those which became relevant during the national movements in and after the 19th century, are discussed. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Figures of (Trans-) National Religious Memory of the Orthodox Southern Slavs before 1945: An Outline on the Examples of SS. Cyril and Methodius
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.