Title of the article:



Anna B. Permilovskaya

Information about the author/authors

Anna B. Permilovskaya — DSc in Culturology, Chief Researcher Scientific Center of Traditional Culture and Museum Preservation, N. Laverov Federal Center for Integrated Arctic Research Russian Academy of Sciences, Severnaya Dvina Emb. 23, 163000 Arkhangelsk, Russia. E-mail: annaperm@fciarctic.ru


Theory and history of culture




Vol. 53


pp. 54–70


February 25, 2019

Date of publication

September 28, 2019

Index UDK


Index BBK



Wooden architecture represents a special direction of the traditional architecture in Russia. To a large extent, its history is the history of the Russian North wooden architecture, which turned the region into a “country of architects”. The article discusses issues related to the temple-building tradition: the relationship of peasant customers and carpentry artels, construction without drawings — on the “model" based on the contract (“poryadnya”). In the North and the Arctic conditions, the specifics of the Russian life generated a special type of thinking and mentality, which was supported by the Orthodoxy, including pre-Christian, pagan beliefs of the Slavs. Previously, this relationship was called “Dual Faith”, “Domestic Orthodoxy”. The term “Folk Orthodoxy” is adopted at present. Dealing with the given issue, the author refers to the comparative experience of studying world religions. Peasant cultures of various nations possess a single “cosmic level”. Folk varieties of religions and mythologies based on the agricultural structure have survived, being modified into Christianity. The peasants ’worldview is characterized by constant inclusion in cosmic and natural rhythms. The study shows the role and significance of Folk Orthodoxy in the establishment and transformation of the traditional temple architecture of the Russian North and the Arctic. The historical legends about the choice of a place for church construction, the holding of public peers (“bratchina”) and widespread building of promise chapels and commercial chapels, characteristic of the Pomorie maritime culture, serve as the thesis confirmation. In folk rituals, many items of church use: candles, holy water, icons, performed values uncharacteristic of Orthodox Culture. Candles were used during divination, holy water at fortune-telling. The icon was perceived not only as a sacred image, but also as a magical object. The study suggests that Folk Orthodoxy has become an integral part of Russian Christian culture, while preserving the tradition and the Orthodox picture of the world. By introducing the topic of wooden church building into the field of national ethnoculturology this paper actually creates a new research direction.


traditional culture, wooden architecture, church, chapel, Folk Orthodoxy, Russian North, Arctic.


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