Studi Slavistici IV • 2007

“Sante madri”. Una tipologia particolare di sante della Rus’

Published 2007-12-01

How to Cite

Ferro, M. C. (2007). “Sante madri”. Una tipologia particolare di sante della Rus’. Studi Slavistici, 4(1), 65–83.


'Saint Mothers'. A Particular Type of Female Sanctity in Rus

Whereas to prepodobnye, pravednye and blagovernye knjagini there were dedicated hagiographical works and hymns, the mothers of some of the most famous saints of Russian Orthodox Church were never personally recognized in any literature. Information about them are expected to be found in their sons’ Vita. Anyway, though it’s impossible to describe in detail their biography, we can underline some particular and typical features which were necessary for their veneration. First of all, the main reason for which a mother could be recognized as a saint was a theological assumption based on the evangelical parable of the good fruits coming from a good tree (Mt 7, 17-18): from the sanctity of the son one can induce the equal merit of his parents, and thus of his mother in this case. At the same time, these women had to be worthy on their own: in fact, they are always said to have lived pleasingly to God, in the observance of God’s commandments, devoted to the education of their sons in the Christian faith, and to their care until adulthood. Particularly interesting are quotations and biblical references mentioned in texts in order to underline these personal attributes: from Jn 15 to the fi gure of the “just” – a fundamental idea in the Bible –, they reveal the deep elaboration of the hagiographical type of the “mother of saint”. Ancient sources provide some vivid examples of these saint’s mothers educating and supporting their sons: could this be a sign of the female contribution to spiritual and, why not, social development of ancient Rus’?


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