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The Consecration of Altars in 17th–21st Century Siberian Orthodox Churches: The Neurosymbolic Aspect

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2021.49.1.126-132

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Abstract

This study explores the ways the symbolic aspects of the consecration of altars are manifested in 17th–21st century Siberian Orthodox churches. I focus on altars of Sophia the Wisdom of the Word of God, and the Holy Great Martyr Barbara of Heliopolis. Sources include diocese registers published in the early 1900s, 17th century documents, works of Old Russian literature, church indexes, and the “Temples of Russia” (temples.ru) database. On the basis of a neurosymbolic approach to completely record reference data, a conclusion is made that the consecrations of altars dedicated to Sophia Wisdom were elitist, whereas altars in the name Holy Great Martyr Barbara were rare, but were re- energized in the late 20th and early 21st century, after this saint had become the patroness of Russia’s strategic missile forces. Specific cults of saints have a chance to re-emerge when biographical or historical events of a local, regional, or state level come to be associated with episodes in the history of Christianity and hagiographic vitae. Everyday life is thereby linked to a religious context, and numerous repetitions account for the fact that consecrations of altars become traditional. Temples become material symbols, and memorial dates relating to saints turn into verbal symbols functioning as mental labels.

About the Author

A. Y. Mainicheva
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Leading Researcher

Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia



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For citation:


Mainicheva A.Y. The Consecration of Altars in 17th–21st Century Siberian Orthodox Churches: The Neurosymbolic Aspect. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2021;49(1):126-132. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2021.49.1.126-132

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ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)