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The emerging perceptions of nationhood and spirituality in the prayers of the Early Slavs and of Kievan Rus' within their literary context

Bache, Joy Helene; (1997) The emerging perceptions of nationhood and spirituality in the prayers of the Early Slavs and of Kievan Rus' within their literary context. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D.), University College London (United Kingdom). Green open access

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Abstract

This study explores the evolving identity of the Slavs, particularly of Kievan Rus', as perceived in the prayers written by Slavs in the ninth to twelfth centuries. Chapter I examines the so-called Alphabetical prayer, commonly attributed to Konstantin of Preslav, as an early expression of Slavonic literature, celebrating the linking of the Slavonic language with the language of the Gospels and indeed with the logos. Chapters II and III focus on Kievan Rus' and consider how the literary prayers embedded in the accounts of the conversion and baptism of Vladimir I, and also those concerning the martyrdom of Princes Boris and Gleb, raise these events from the level of prosaic and politically motivated incidents to the level of sacred events of national life. Chapter IV investigates the prayer attributed to Ilarion, placed in connection with the Slovo o zakone i blagodati, as a prayer spoken on behalf of the whole people, which impresses on them the identity of Rus' united first and foremost by their new-found faith. In chapter V, works on Feodosii are shown to exemplify an intercessor's monastic perspective, while chapter VI explores how Vladimir Monomakh writes his Pouchenie as a prince and layman, laying a moral foundation through prayer, in particular aimed at the factious princes of Rus'. The final chapter examines how Kirill of Turov's weekly prayer cycle portrays the interior spiritual world. As well as tracing the evolving nationhood and spirituality of Rus', this study throws light on scholarly debates surrounding the original context of some of the prayers. In contexts as diverse as a narrative of a vita to a prologue of a commentary, prayers are seen to function dynamically within their wider setting. In a period when written evidence is comparatively scarce, prayers offer a further perspective on the emerging identity and spirituality of Kievan Rus'. The evident care with which prayers were written and placed in significant contexts should help to alert the reader to the importance of prayers in early Slavonic literature in general.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D.
Title: The emerging perceptions of nationhood and spirituality in the prayers of the Early Slavs and of Kievan Rus' within their literary context
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: (UMI)AAI10055417; Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Early Slavs; Kievan Rus; Literary context; Nationhood; Prayers; Spirituality
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103056
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