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“ST. CYRIL AND ST. METHODIUS” UNIVERSITY OF VELIKO TARNOVO - UNIVERSITY PRESS

От древната езическа религиозност към култа към Свети Илия в Балканските земи


Authors:
Milen Ivanov

Pages: -
DOI: https://doi.org/10.54664/GCOK7397

Abstract:

Based on a complex, interdisciplinary approach, the present paper treats the transition from the ancient pagan religiousness to the Christian cult of St Elias in the Balkan lands. The geographic borders of the study cover the territories, populated in the Antiquity by the Thracian ethno-cultural community south of the Danube River. It is well known from the Bible that St Elias was taken up to the heavens by a chariot of flame. It is probably in this respect that the saint has been worshiped everywhere across the Bulgarian lands as a patron of the elements of the sky. Obviously, in his figure and cult there are many pagan elements, features and attributes of the Indo-European god of the thunder and relicts from the cult of Zeus, in particular. It is quite possible that the Thracian idea of Zeus has exerted some influence upon the Christian iconography, as this god used to be venerated being placed on a chariot in the Thracian lands. In conclusion, the author claims, that certain elements of the pagan cult and figure of Zeus, like the chariot and the patronage over the heavenly powers, paved the way for the cult of St Elias. This development represents good evidence of the capabilities of religious syncretism.

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