On February 13th, Westminster College Professor Russell Martin presented an online lecture titled “Royal Weddings in Russia: Pageant and Piety at the Court of Russia’s Rulers.” This presentation was part of the Russian History Museum’s Second Saturday lecture series.
The weddings of Russia’s rulers were rich in symbols and rituals. Deciphering their meaning reveals a complex pre-modern society that took Christian belief, liturgical and customary rites, and Orthodox teachings on marriage very seriously. Rituals—especially the most important of them: a wedding—emerge as a key to understanding the politics and religion of early modern Russia.
Throughout his presentation, Martin discussed the role of Orthodox canons and belief in shaping how royal weddings were performed from the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Ultimately, this lecture drew general conclusions about these rituals and ceremonies amidst Russia’s political and religious cultures and was followed by a substantial Q&A.
Image: The Russian Bride’s Attire by Konstantin Makovsky, 1889. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
This program is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act.