Prophecies of «youth Vyacheslav» as an eschatological discourse about disasters

Vladimir Yur’evich Lebedev,
Aleksandr Michaylovich Prilutskiy
Doctor of Philosophy, professor, Tver’ State University (ulitsa Zhjelyabova, 33, Tver’, Russia, 170023)
Doctor of Philosophy, professor, The Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia (Moika Embankment, dom 48, korpus 20a, St. Petersburg, Russia, 191186)

Lebedev V. Y., Prilutskiy A. M. Prophecies of «youth Vyacheslav» as an eschatological discourse about disasters, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2022, vol. 11, pp. 80–93.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2022-11-80-93

Language: Russian

The article discusses the religious veneration of the «Youth Vyacheslav», a teenager who died in the city of Chebarkul in 1993. Despite the fact that at present the cult of Vyacheslav is distributed mainly within the Orthodox ritual sphere, in terms of its content it can be assessed as pseudo-Orthodox and para-Orthodox. This article analyzes the specifics of the eschatological narratives about catastrophes attributed to Vyacheslav. The authors substantiate the thesis that the sociopsychological reasons for the demand for apocalyptic narratives about catastrophes in popular religiosity are due to the formation of lumpenized strata in society, who see eschatological catastrophes as an instrument of punishment for their more successful and wealthy fellow citizens. The content analysis of the body of texts allows us to conclude that the discourse on eschatological catastrophes presented in the prophecies of the «Chebarkul lad» contains five interrelated themes: «Hunger», «Death of cities», «Diseases», «Cryptozoological and cosmoeschatological plots», «Social catastrophes». The specificity of this phenomenon is the combination of banal narrative material and the construction of the narrative itself with a somewhat unusual situational frame.

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Key words: Orthodox Church, Estonia, World War II, Baltic Exarchate, Pavel Kalinkin


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