Cave digging of XVII–XIX-th centuries in the area of central Russian Belogorye: an attampt of folkloric Russian utopia implementation

Author(s):  V.V. Stepkin, candidate of Sciences, MBGEI (Municipal Budgetary General Education Institution) Pavlovsk Secondary School with Enhanced Coverage of Certain Subjects, Pavlovsk, Russia,

Issue:  Volume 45, № 3

Rubric:  Topical issues of russian history

Annotation:  The article presents a cave digging process in the area of Central Russian Belogorye in XVII–XIX-th centuries as an attempt to implement the folkloric Russian utopia. A semiotic approach is used, which allows to see a cult cave as a sign in the sacred area of a country neighbourhood reflecting mentality of a peasant community. It is noted that during the period under consideration some utopian ideas about ideal sacred area started to gain ground among peasants as a result of their changed social status. It is deduced that these views well superimposed on perception of symbolism of white colour, which can be seen in the chalk exposures, in the folk community of Russian-Ukrainian borderzone. Creating caves in this area, peasants tried to implement their iconic views toward white colour as the colour of liberty, richness and holiness. Running into authorities’ reaction the cave diggers only once managed to transfer from folk Orthodoxy into a legal official monastery, the case was connected with history of Belogorskaya cave

Keywords:  caves, cave digging, Central Russian Belogorye, utopia, Belovodye, folk Orthodoxy, sacred area, Russian Orthodox Church

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