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Author: Vladimir M. Kirillin
Information about the author:

Vladimir M. Kirillin, DSc in Philology, Director of Research, 1) А.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia; Professor, 2) Moscow Theological Academy of the Russian Orthodox Church, 141300 Moscow region, Sergiev Posad, Trinity-Sergius Lavra, Academy; Professor, 3) Sretenskaya Theological Academy of the Russian Orthodox Church, st. Bolshaya Lubyanka, 19, bldg. 3, 107031 Moscow, Russia.

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For citation:

Kirillin, V.M. “Holy Sepulchre through the Eyes of Old Russian Pilgrims of the 12th–17th Centuries.” Germenevtika drevnerusskoi literatury [Hermeneutics of Old Russian Literature]. Issue 21. Ed.-in-chief O.A. Tufanova. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2022, pp. 368–411. (In Russian) https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2022-21-368-411 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2022-21-368-411
Keywords: Old Russian traveling, itinerary, proskinitarian, abbot Daniel, Archimandrite Agrefenius, pseudo-Ignatius Smolnyanin, monk Zosima, priest Varsonofy, guest Vasily, merchant Vasily Poznyakov, deacon Trifon Korobeynikov, merchant Vasily Ga-gara, hieromonk Arseny Sukhanov, hierodeacon Jonah the Little, Holy Sepulchre, burial cave, Holy Bed, stone proclamations, Kivoriy, interior, exterior, object world, parameters of sacred reality, historical authenticity.
Date of publication: 16.12.2022


The article considers the descriptions of Kuvuklion, the main Christian memorial, which are contained in Old Russian travel notes compiled by Russian pilgrims who visited Jerusalem from the 12th to the 17th centuries. The comparison of these descriptions with each other, as well as partly with similar descriptions of Greek pilgrims and Western pilgrims, reveals the specifics of attitude of Russian travelers as observers and storytellers to the described holy relic. The latter, with varying completeness and degree of attention to particulars, but methodically sought to create a visual image of the Kuvuklia in the imagination of their readers, to develop a more or less clear, objectively detailed idea of it, remaining in the exclusively business discourse in stylistic terms, which in no way reflects spiritual and emotional experiences and aesthetic impressions, which could well color their perception at the moment of direct communion with shrine. Accordingly, the goals of their appeal to readers as a verbal presentation of a specific subject phenomenon in the Holy Land without any expression about it, which was probably considered superfluous, were determined by the same restrained business nature. At the same time, when comparing the texts, it is found that the expression “Holy Sepulcher” was originally used polysemically in the wide speech space of Middle Ages, gradually acquires a more specific meaning, which is undoubtedly a reflex of a certain speech development.


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