Dorofeev D.Yu. Russian Wanderers. The Variety of Religious Images of Russian Wandering in the 19th Century


Daniil Yu. Dorofeev
Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Head of Department of Philosophy, Saint Petersburg Mining University
21-ya liniya V.O., 2, 199106 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
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Abstract. The article is devoted to the study of the diverse manifestations of the phenomenon of religious wandering in Russian culture of the 19th century, with the study of their external aesthetic image, lifestyle, Orthodox foundations and principles, characteristic language, methods of organization and institutionalization. The author considers the concept of "wanderer" as one of the fundamental concepts in world and especially Russian culture, emphasizing its polysemantic and heterogeneous nature, and also points to its special value as a visible embodiment of the Orthodox understanding of God, man and the world, permeated with the spirit of hesychasm. At the same time, the author confines himself to the consideration in his article of mainly folk religious forms of Russian pilgrimage, which were widely developed and spread in the 19th century. The central place in the study is devoted to the consideration of the richest material of the book "Wandering Russia for Christ's Sake" by the researcher of folk religious life of the second half of the 19th century S.V. Maksimov, in which the features of life, image, language of the most diverse forms of Russian religious wandering are collected and preserved for us. The article shows wandering as a kind of worldly obedience, self-denial and humility associated with the test of the roads and the possible transformation on them. The main types of wandering, their features are analyzed in detail: from religiously motivated to vagabond, parasitizing on a pious attitude towards pilgrims. On the one hand, the article demonstrates the connection between the phenomenon of Russian Orthodox wandering and the phenomenon of religious pilgrimage as such, but, on the other hand, the specifics of wandering, its differences from similar forms of religious piety, are clarified. The author refers to the essay "Candid Stories of a Pilgrim to his Spiritual Father" to show the influence of hesychasm on the formation of the idea of wandering in its highest and most perfect religious form, as a fundamental Orthodox value worthy of being presented and recognized as a separate form of holiness. The article contains numerous examples of wandering, individual characteristics of the most famous representatives of this movement.
Key words: Russian wanderer, Orthodoxy, hesychasm, Russian painting of the 19th century, Dostoevsky, image, folk religiosity.

Citation. Dorofeev D.Yu. Russian Wanderers. The Variety of Religious Images of Russian Wandering in the 19th Century. Logos et Praxis, 2022, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 5-19. (in Russian). DOI:

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