Title of the article:



Vladimir Yu. Lebedev

Alexander M. Prilutskiу

Information about the author/authors

Vladimir Yu. Lebedev — PhD in Philosophy, Docent, Professor, Professor, Institute of pedagogical education and social technologies, Tver State University, Zhelyabova St. 33, 170100 Tver, Russia. E-mail: semion.religare@yandex.ru

Alexander M. Prilutskiу — PhD in Philosophy, Professor, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, Kazanskaya St. 6, 191186 St. Petersburg, Russia. E-mail: alpril@mail.ru


Theory and history of culture




Vol. 51


pp. 15–24


March 12, 2018

Date of publication

March 28, 2019

Index UDK


Index BBK

71.1 + 63.3(2)43


The cult of Ivan the Terrible, non-canonical from the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) point of view is one of the semiotic markers for a number of competing religious discourses. Together with the veneration of Gregory Rasputin and “Tsar Redeemer” Nicholas II it performs a sort of integrative function acting as a link for various separate marginal communities within Orthodox pattern, forming an alternative (competing) subculture. The authors study the meaning of metaphors in the appearing of hagiological myth and narrative, where the image of historical Ivan the Terrible is replaced by a coined image of a “holy tsar” who died as a martyr defending Rus` (Russia) from cunning “enemies” which slandered him. The authors demonstrate that hermeneutical strategy of this cult`s apologetics is established with the help of metaphorization. According to this logic, Ivan the Terrible was not cruel, being not only a positive character of the Russian history but also a paradigmatic image of the tsar, maligned by his enemies which led to the emerging of the image of a bloodthirsty tyrant. The paper concludes that the metaphor serves as an important tool in construction of both the myth of the divine tsar in general and the ritual sphere of other revered personalities. Since the formation of the cult in this case contradicts with the position of Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy, the followers of non-canonical cults have to take the critical position into account and produce canonically acceptable images meeting the requirements of traditional hagiology and hagiography. 


Ivan The Terrible, semiotization, myth, sanctity, king.


1 Akafist blagovernomu tsariu-mucheniku Ioannu Groznomu, za veru pravoslavnuiu so srodnikami ubiennomu i oklevetannomu [Akathist to the faithful tsar-martyr Ivan the Terrible, killed and slandered for the Orthodox faith with his relatives]. Russkii monarkhist [Russian monarchist]. Available at: http://www.ruskmir.ru/akafisty-o-spasenii-rossii/akafist-blagovernomu-caryu-ioannu-groznomu/ (accessed 20 January 2019). (In Russian)

2 Andreeva L. A. “Tsareslavie” v Rossii [“Tsareslavie” in Russia]. Obshchestvennye nauki i sovremennost', 2013, no 1, pp. 121–134. (In Russian)

3 Arutjunova N. D. Vstupitel'naia stat'ia [Metaphor and discourse]. Teoriia metafory: Sbornik statei [Theory of metaphor: collected works]. Moscow, Progress Publ., 1990, pp. 5–32. (In Russian)

4 Bohanov A. N. Ivan Groznyi — tsar'-bogoslov [John the Terrible — tsar and theologian]. Vestnik Rossiiskogo universiteta druzhby narodov. Seriia: Istoriia Rossii, 2007, no (10), pp. 72–91. (In Russian)

5 Voroncov A. V., Golovushkin D. A., Priluckij A. M. Sotsiosemioticheskaia spetsifika sovremennogo mifa ob Ivane Groznom [Socio-Semiotic Specificity of the Contemporary Myth of Ivan the Terrible]. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniia, 2017, no 8, pp. 12–19. (In Russian)

6 Erusalimskiу K. Ju. Mezhdu kanonizirovannymi i demonizirovannymi: kazni Ivana Groznogo v kul'turno-simvolicheskoi interpretatsii [Between canonized and demonized: the execution of Ivan the Terrible in a cultural-symbolic interpretation]. Odissei: Chelovek v istorii, 2007, vol. 2009, pp. 361–390. (In Russian)

7 Zygmont A. I. O fenomene tsarebozhiia v sovremennoi religioznoi kul'ture Rossii [On the phenomenon of the deification of the Tsar in contemporary religious culture of Russia]. Vestnik RGGU. Seriia “Kul'turologiia. Iskusstvovedenie. Muzeologiia”, 2012, no 11, pp. 138–145. (In Russian)

8 Knorre B. K. Dvizhenie za kanonizatsiiu Ivana Groznogo i pravoslavno-monarkhicheskii tsezarizm [Movement for the canonization of Ivan the Terrible and Orthodox monarchist Caesarism]. Religiia i rossiiskoe mnogoobrazie: Sbornik statei [Religion and Russian diversity: collected works], edited and composited by S. B. Filatov. Moscow, St. Petersburg, Letnii sad Publ., 2011, pp. 503–528. (In Russian)

9 Lakoff G., Johnson M. Metafory, kotorymi my zhivem [Metaphors We Live], translated from English A. Baranova and A. Morozovoi; edited by A. Baranova. Moscow, Izdatel'stvo LKI Publ., 2008. 256 p. (In Russian)

10 Lebedev V. Ju., Priluckij A. M., Svetlov R. M. K voprosu kul'te “sv. Grigoriia Novogo” (G. E. Rasputina) v marginal'nom pravoslavii [On the question of the cult of “Saint. Gregory Novy” (G. E. Rasputin) in Marginal Orthodoxy]. Vestnik slavianskikh kul'tur, 2018, no 47, pp. 26–38. (In Russian)

11 Pokaiannaia molitva Blagovernomu, Bogom venchannomu Tsariu — Ioannu Groznomu [Penitential prayer to the faithful, God-crowned King — Ivan the Terrible]. Molitvy Bogom venchannomu tsariu Ivanu Groznomu i Grigoriiu Novomu chudotvortsu [The prayers of God to the crowned Tsar Ivan the Terrible and Gregory the New Miracle-Worker]. Available at: https://nasledie77.wordpress.com/ (accessed 20 January 2019). (In Russian)

12 Tsar' Ivan Vasil'evich — Groznyi ili sviatoi. Argumenty Tserkvi protiv kanonizatsii Ivana Groznogo i Grigoriia Rasputina [Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich — Terrible or Holy. Arguments of the Church against the canonization of Ivan the Terrible and Gregory Rasputin]. Moscow, Izdatel'skii sovet Russkoi pravoslavnoi tserkvi Publ., 2003. 64 p. (In Russian)