CAVES ON MONASTERIAL TERRITORIES OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF 17–21ST CENTURIES: GENESIS AND PLACE IN THE SACRED LANDSCAPE

Abstract

The article considers genesis of the caves located on territory of 23 monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church, which are in different subjects of European part of the Russian Federation. It is noted that emergence of the cult caves was influenced by a number of factors. The caves appeared as a transfer result of sacred space of such centres of Christian pilgrimage like Jerusalem, Athos, Kiev onto Russian soil. The caves were also created as a result of spiritual practice of hesychasm, repentance lives and eschatological expectations. Appearance of the cult caves was both in the form of individual penance laypeople and monks, and in the form of people’s cave digging. It should be noted that the caves were built either in new, not previously included in the sacred space of the settlements, or in the areas of monasteries previously abolished as a result of secularization. In some cases creation of caves on monasterial territory was reported. During the Soviet period the caves were abandoned along with closing monasteries. Currently, the sacred space of caves is being recreated along with re-emerging abodes, church service is hold in underground churches. Caves, occupying a unique place in the cultural landscape, attract pilgrims and tourists. However, the sacred space semantics cannot always be fully implemented in them. The concrete examples of transfer discovered in the article fro sacral space of Jerusalem, Mount Athos and Kiev into the cave monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church intended to level this aspect as well as the aspect of Hesychast’s way reflection in the corridors and cells of cave mazes. The structural-semantic method was used in the studies for analysis, which allowed revealing the meaning of cave complexes in sacred monastic space. Anthropological approach to the studies of cave diggers subculture helped analyze the cave creators’ motives and values.

About the authors

V. V. Stepkin

MBGEI (Municipal Budgetary General Education Institution) Pavlovsk Secondary School with Enhanced Coverage of Certain Subjects

Author for correspondence.
Email: morenov@ssau.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7045-4310

Candidate of Historical Sciences, teacher of history

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