How to Cite
Bedina, N. N. (2020). Vladimir Monomakh’s “Homily” in the Context of the Spiritual Content of Great Lent. Heritage of Centuries, (1), 82-87.

Vladimir Monomakh’s “Homily” in the Context of the Spiritual Content of Great Lent

  • © Bedina Natalya N. Cand. Sci. (Russian Literature), Assoc. Prof., Lomonosov Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russian Federation


The aim of the study is to return to N.V. Shlyakov’s idea on the inner connection of Vladimir Monomakh’s “Homily” with the Lenten Liturgy and to determine the main semantic components in the text of this literary monument, which was the main source of the research. The study uses the method of structural-semantic analysis of the text. Monomakh selected quotes from the Psalms on the basis of the psalms that are part of the services of the first week of Great Lent, so the author suggests that the “Homily” was written around this period of the liturgical cycle. The author points to Monomakh’s closeness to the ideas and moods of Great Lent, which is manifested, in particular, in a letter to Oleg Svyatoslavich of Chernigov, the prince who killed Monomakh’s son in an internecine war. The concepts laid down in the text of this letter, which concludes Monomakh’s Homily and relates to moral self-determination, Christian fraternity, and God’s judgment, are successively analyzed. The dominance of eschatological ideas is explained by Monomakh’s Orthodox worldview, the sociopolitical situation in Russia (the collapse of a single state, the strife of the princes, etc.), and the tragic life situation Monomakh found himself. The expectation of a judgment on his soul makes him move “in a circle” from the past to the present and future (beyond the limits of earthly existence) and back when presenting his thoughts. The goals Monomakh achieved in a letter to Prince Oleg are revealed: the justification and assertion of innocence before his brother (man). Based on the double interpretation of the word “confession” in Old Russian, the author of the article notes that Monomakh’s letter is both a homily and a repentance. The semantic core of the entire composition is the moral choice of the prince. The author singled out five semantic points in Monomakh’s letter: the definition of a moral choice and its two options, an appeal to the concept of a family, an appeal to the experience of previous generations, repentance and expression of hope for the salvation of the soul. The author comes to the conclusion that the semantic, structural and emotional core of Monomakh’s work consisted in the ideas underlying Great Lent, the corresponding psalms and church services. Vladimir Monomakh’s letter to Oleg Svyatoslavich reflects the general characteristics of the Orthodox liturgical text: sobornost and eschatology, while the semantic space of the message is identified with the space of communication with God.

Keywords: Vladimir Monomakh, “Homily”, service text, church service, semantic structure, sobornost, eschatology, moral choice