Accepted Paper:

The moral value of dissidence: apparitions of the Virgin Mary and socialist repressions  


Agnieszka Halemba (Polish Academy of Science)

Paper short abstract:

The focus is on Marian apparitions under socialism that have been less analyzed than those on the western side of the Iron Curtain. On the basis of recent ethnographic fieldwork, it is also shown how presently the socialist period is a tool for legitimization of apparitions in Ukraine.

Paper long abstract:

At the presently active Marian apparition sites in Dzhublyk (Transcarpathia) and Lishnia (Galicia) in Ukraine, the socialist period is evoked as a source of legitimization for the apparitions. In different ways and to a different extent, the underground activities of the Greek Catholic priests and believers during socialism are evoked both to criticize the present church authorities as well as to give an aura of moral legitimacy to the newly established pilgrimage centers and their supporters. The visionaries active during the socialist times also play a role at contemporary apparition sites, which poses interesting questions concerning continuity of apparitional phenomena from socialism to post-socialism. While there is a considerable amount of interesting anthropological and historical works on apparitions of the Virgin Mary on the western side of the Iron Curtain, the apparitional phenomena in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe under socialism received much less scholarly attention, despite availability of some devotional and journalistic literature. A brief analysis of apparitional events from socialist countries will result in proposing several hypotheses concerning divergences and continuities between apparitional culture on the two sides of the Iron Curtain, as well as between socialist and post-socialist period.

Panel Reli008
Cold War Marian politics and prophecies