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On the Strategies of Maintaining and Transmitting Religious Tradition among Ingrian Finnish Seuralaiset-Movement

Author(s): Ergo-Hart Västrik

Journal: Folklore (Tartu)
ISSN 1406-0957

Volume: 28;
Start page: 151;
Date: 2004;
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Keywords: Ecstatic religious practices | Hymn singing | Ingrian Finns | Local lay prophets | Manuscript hymnals | Popular religious movements

This essay casts some light on the religious traditions of the Ingrian- Finnish seuralaiset-movement. This non-institutionalised mystical-ascetic religious movement, which emerged in the first half of the 19th century, was widely known among the Finnish population of the presentday Leningrad Oblast. Both lay and religious authorities made continous endeavours to eliminate the movement and therefore the strategies of maintaining and transmitting their religious tradition in the circumstances of heavy pressure pose great challenges. The essay is based on recent field materials recorded on the Ingrian-Votian expeditions of the Estonian Literary Museum in 2001–2002. Sohvi K., the key informant who lived in Kolpino, was an earnest follower of the seuralaiset-movement and an active practitioner of their singing tradition. Materials of three recording sessions with Sohvi K. allow to discuss the position of the local prophet in the process of mediating the repertoire of the movement, the importance of sound recordings in sharing the religious communion with people who were not able to participate in prayer meetings, as well as the role of handwritten hymnals and photographs in maintaining and transmitting the tradition of the movement.
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