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Antropologicheskij forum, 2022, no. 55
THE TSAR’S ROAD: INVISIBLE INFRASTRUCTURE AND PIOUS LABOUR IN CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY
Groupe Sociétés Religions Laïcités, École Pratique des Hautes Études
Abstract: A religious infrastructure, from the point of view of a religious person, consists of two parts—tangible and intangible. Whereas a tangible part of a religious infrastructure includes material things and buildings which make religious life possible, an intangible part is created by invisible agents who govern people and material things. The invisible world is no less real for a believer than a visible part of the infrastructure, therefore in her religious life a believer seeks for such moments when she can experience the integrity of this ecosystem. A typical example of such projects are processions of the cross, highly popular religious events in contemporary Russia. The article analyses the tsar’s processions of the cross in Yekaterinburg which commemorate the massacre of Nicholas II and his family, which were later canonized as Orthodox saints. To analyse these religious projects, the author introduces the concept of pious labour. She argues that pious labour is a collective effort of believers which aims at binding together tangible and intagible parts of the religious infrastructure. In contrast to pilgrims and religious tourists who come to sacred places to consume grace, participants in the processions of the cross produce grace by doing the pious labour of keeping their religious ecosystem coherent and well-integrated.
Keywords: processions of the сross, religious infrastructure, pious labour, Romanovs, Orthodox saints, Yekaterinburg.
Acknowledgements: The reported study was funded by RFBR, project no. 19-09-00420 “Pilgrimage in post-secular world: Infrastructure and practices of creating spiritual / religious experiences”.
To cite: Kormina J., ‘Tsarskaya doroga: nevidimaya infrastruktura i blagochestivyy trud v sovremennom rossiyskom pravoslavii’ [The Tsar’s Road: Invisible Infrastructure and Pious Labour in Contemporary Russian Orthodox Christianity], Antropologicheskij forum, 2022, no. 55, pp. 167–194.
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