The photographic exhibition “The Saint Elias Friday Ilyinskaya Pyatnitsa in the The Village of Il’eshi"
The project “The Field Autobiography”
The photographic exhibition “The Saint Elias Friday Ilyinskaya Pyatnitsa in the The Village of Il’eshi" prepared in the frame of the project “The Field Autobiography” is based on the materials of expeditions of the research fellows of the Department of Ethnography of North-West and Baltic Regions M.L. Zasetskaya, M.A. Dokuchaeva and the RME photographer O.V. Ganicheva. Modern negatives are supplemented by photographs of the Saint Elias Day festivities taken by the photographer A. A. Grechkin in the village of I’eshi in 1929 during the expedition of N.F.Prytkova, the research fellow at the museum.
According the local legend, it was the Saint Elias Friday when the miraculous icon of the Saint Great Martyr Paraskeva appeared near the temple in sixteenth-seventeenth centuries. This event was the reason, why the Saint Elias Friday in the Il’eshi village became the particular feast obetnuy prazdnik followed by the main feast of the village – the Saint Elias Day. Here many popular customs related to the cult of the Saint Paraskeva conserved through centuries “in outstanding dimensions and amazing details”.
Comparing the photographic materials of two expeditions divided by the time period of 85 years one can note important differences in organization of rituals, mainly caused by destruction of cult objects (chapel, stone, birch, and spring), existed at the place of icon appearance before 1960s. However, it makes resemblance even more striking: multitude of the church procession, arrival of pilgrims from various districts of the Leningradskaya Oblast’ and Saint Petersburg, significant number of women and children among them, festive emotional state of believers, women’s prayers near the temple walls, worship of cross, fastened to young birch grown at the place of destroyed tree.