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Religions 2018, 9(12), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120383

Deep Culture and the Mystical Agency of Mary in Eastern Christianity

1
New Social Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, 33014 Tampere, Finland
2
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, 33014 Tampere, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 November 2018 / Accepted: 21 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
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Abstract

The Virgin Mother Mary has always been venerated in Eastern Christianity far beyond her scriptural role. In this paper, we propose a symbolic framework of deep culture and apply it to understanding the prominence of Mary and the manner in which she plays a role in people’s lives through a bewildering variety of Marian icons. The framework begins with a mystical/esoteric perspective to appreciate Mary as a symbol that is multivalent, irreplaceable, archetypal, interior, and manifest yet hidden. We analyze images and stories of five highly venerated icons in Greece, Russia, Finland, and amongst diasporic Orthodox Churches, as well as associated hymns. Our analysis reveals that Mary’s significance for Orthodox faithful is best understood in her role as symbolic doorway to mystical religiosity. This role is highly agentic, although not in the sense in which agency is typically—exoterically—understood as analytical and external, but rather as esoterically affective and internally transformative. We show how a deep culture framework adds to our knowledge of Mary in Orthodox Christianity and how it can be used to examine similar figures in other contemporary and historical religious traditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Eastern Christianity; Mary; Mother of God; deep culture; archetype; symbolic; agency; mystical; icons Eastern Christianity; Mary; Mother of God; deep culture; archetype; symbolic; agency; mystical; icons
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Qadir, A.; Tiaynen-Qadir, T. Deep Culture and the Mystical Agency of Mary in Eastern Christianity. Religions 2018, 9, 383.

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