Some time ago I became interested in the topic firmly pagan currents of ancient Europe. And, of course, could not raise the question — how, in fact, was the Belarusian paganism, witchcraft? Was it at all? And how it can be linked with the European tradition?
Then I managed to dig up a relatively small — especially because the topic is, in fact, we have not seriously developed and were restricted to extracts from the works of anthropologists …
And just the other day I came across a couple of articles Belarusian researcher V. Lobach and was quite shocked. Put here a few husks of them (translated from Belarusian) with comments.
Baptism of White Russia — the question is, strictly speaking, dark. In the era of Prince Vladimir is first encountered face to face Western and Eastern Christianity (Orthodox and Catholics future). It happened in ancient Turov. As to the actual Christianization, then, oddly enough, we do not even know the names of the first Baptist. Belarusian historians now agree on the fact that, most of all, it was a peaceful way (which, incidentally, explains the semi-pagan character of the Belarusian Christian, especially Orthodox).
So, on his first century in Belarus, little is known. Significantly, however, that in the "Sermon on the evil duseh" Cyril of Turov, famous Belarusian churchman XII., Also known as Chrysostom [by the way, he is considered one of the likely author of "Words …» — SC], condemns the local population, which is " leaving God … damn women charodeyts looking, and the words nauzov lovely listen. " Creation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, where in one state were formally united pagans formally baptized people of Belarusian and Ukrainian lands, and at all left the Orthodox Church as a passive witness. Little has changed and the second baptism, conducted Jagiello in 1387 [that was a must, put forward by the Polish side, signing Krevsk Union by which Jogaila became King of Poland — SC] Even the sixteenth century does not give us examples of the bloody trials of witches. As for the Europe, the bull of Pope Innocent VIII "Summis desiderantis" 1484g. a turning point in the Inquisition. Since then, it will not fight for the purity of the faith, but against witchcraft (sorcery). So, Sicilian inquisitor of the sixteenth century. Ludwig Paramo cynically declared: "Not to mention what a great service rendered to humanity Inquisition … for 150 years in Spain, Italy and Germany were burned about 30,000 witches" (…) It would seem that the Protestant church … would be to abandon the terrible persecution . But … Only in 1542, in Geneva, burned 5000 people, but after 4 years prison guards reported to the local council that all witches overcrowding and the executioner said that from one man is not enough. " [From yourself, it really is. Somehow made to believe that the burning and torture of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people are only on the conscience of the Inquisition, while the period of the Reformation on charges of witchcraft were burned by order of magnitude. And that does not include the victims of American Puritan fanatics — SC]
Similar processes were observed on the Russian lands, and their growth was parallel with the strengthening of autocracy. Thus, if the burning of the four wise men of Novgorod (1227) and twelve "vschih zhenok" in Pskov (1411) were, in fact, quite exceptional, in XVI-XVII BBB. "Witch case" in Muscovy become widespread. At the same time, the Grand Duchy was a "country sorcerers" … S. Orzechowski, speaking of Barbara Radziwill [wife of the last Jagiellon Sigismund II August — SC], to argue that it was a bad Catholic, because rose "among the poisoners, and sorcerers." F. Evlashevsky in the preface to the "Catechism" testified about the revival of the pagan traditions of the Belarusian land, "where the idol and Xia rozlichnyh balvanov vzhe from Kolka namnozhilo hundred years since, those with them and God forgotten folk-Lithuanian Commonwealth." (…) And what kind of persecution of sorcerers from the church could be discussed if Orthodox priests also practiced sorcery, as evidenced by the 37 th paragraph of the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood? (…) The spiritual orientation of the common people and the clergy did caused near panic state, "so people razsvirepeli Lithuanian Commonwealth, as others and to God do not know much, spindles and Pray he does not know how, more wise men and enchanters bavit Xia." It is unlikely that in that situation could do something significant and holy inquisition tribunal, created in 1436
Witchcraft flourishing in the country affected the folding of certain stereotypes about the local population. Thus, "under Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich was sent to Pskov mention the prohibition to buy the Lithuanians [here: residents ON — SC] … as hops Rogues have announced that there is a woman-witch, and she slanders of hops that are exported to the Russian city to bring to Russia the plague. " However, the legislation ON affect such an important thing as pernicious sorcery, appeared in a number of criminal cases. It is, however, the jurisdiction of the secular court podlegalo [primarily a mop — SC] (…) It is highly significant that side Braslav famous case in 1615 — the wines of sorcerers, mother and son, was proved (against them showed the entire village, and were themselves accused especially not persisted), but, in contrast to similar practices in Western Europe at the time, prosecution was not affected the whole family, and the property was confiscated by the Church. However, if the magician caught "in the hot", he faces a real lynching — or, as happened in Minsk [exact — Tyumen — SC] Poviat in 1662 — a quick trial with immediate enforcement of sentences. However, most of the complaints of the first half of the XVII century. Associated with sorcery, simply recorded in Galway City books and ignored [! — SC]
The situation has changed somewhat in the second half of the century after the bloody "flood" and the terrible events of the war of 1654-1667. with Russia. Started quite natural reaction of the Catholic Church in Belarus actually burned bonfires (NDP, Grodno process Maximus Mark 1691) Do not forget about the outrage perpetrated by individual feudal lords in relation to dependent farmers. An end to this savagery was laid in 1776, when the decree of the Diet abolished criminal liability for magic.
In summary, the author makes two very interesting observations: 1. in Belarus [and part of Ukraine. Remember the Wii? — SC] any sorcery traditionally divided into malignancy and useful. First until the second half of the XVII century. podlegalo not prosecuted. Second, conditionally called "quackery" (healing, divination, prisushki-otsushki, etc.) are not considered as something out of the ordinary, and therefore could not serve as a reason for the court. 2. The trials of sorcerers have identified a number of interesting factors: the existence of some arcane clans (well, how can you not remember Vseslav Sorcerer!), Who owned a range of magic tricks and representatives of which, within a certain area, considered to be "natural" sorcerers (often it was men), which can, in turn, is indicative of the fundamental principle of such a specialized priestly …