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Orthodox Icons and Russian Culture

Kom til professor Charles Locks foredrag.

Among novelists Dostoevsky is unusually concerned with images and their effects. The images that are most vividly described in his novels are by Raphael and Holbein; icons are occasionally venerated but none is described in detail, nor does an icon have an effect on the one who views or venerates it that can be compared to that of Holbein's Dead Christ. This 'anomaly of images' is not peculiar to Dostoevsky but is entirely typical of Russian culture. The aim of this paper is to challenge the widespread assumption that the Russian Orthodox Church has always promoted the veneration of icons and has always honoured the memory of iconographers such as Andrei Rublev and Theofan the Greek. This construction of 'Orthodox tradition' is particularly prevalent today when the post-Soviet Church claims to be recovering its 'historical mission' as the custodian of Russian values. Such a version makes light of the Nikonite reforms of the early 17th century and those of Peter the Great a hundred years later, and it entirely ignores the role played by the Old Believers.

This paper extends Charles Lock's work on Russian icons which includes the following:

'Iconic Space and the Materiality of the Sign' in Religion and the Arts Vol 1: 4 (1997)

'Bowing Down to Wood and Stone: One Way to be a Pilgrim' in Simon Coleman, John Elsner, eds, Pilgrim Voices: narrative and authorship in Christian pilgrimage (Berghahn 2003)

'The Space of Hospitality: On the Icon of the Trinity ascribed to Andrei Rublev' in Sobornost Vol 30: 1 (2008)

Sted ToRS, Snorresgade 17-19, 1. sal, lok. U8