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Royal Weddings in Russia: Pageant and Piety at the Court of Russia’s Rulers

An online lecture by Dr. Russell E. Martin

In this lecture, Westminster College Professor Russell E. Martin will discuss his research on royal weddings in Russia during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries.

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.

Martin will discuss the bride-show ritual and the role of Orthodox canons and belief in shaping how royal weddings were performed. Ultimately, this presentation will draw general conclusions about these rituals and ceremonies amidst the political and religious culture of Russia.


About the Speaker

Russell Martin is Professor of History at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, and a specialist on early modern Russia. He took his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his master’s and PhD from Harvard University. He is the author, co-author, editor, or translator of ten books, including A Bride the Tsar: Bride-Shows and Marriage Politics in Early Modern Russia, which won the W. Bruce Lincoln book award in Slavic Studies, and the forthcoming The Tsar’s Happy Occasion: Ritual and Dynasty in the Weddings of Russia’s Rulers, 1495-1745 (2021). He is also the author of some 70 articles on a range of topics in Russian history. Martin was editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal Canadian-American Slavic Studies from 2016-2020, and is the past president of both the Association for the Study of Eastern Christianity (ASEC) and the Early Slavic Studies Association (ESSA). He remains the editor of the ESSA’s Newsletter. Martin is also a member of the Chancellery of the Head of the Imperial House of Russia, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, and provides translations into English of documents posted onto the official website of the Imperial House of Romanov (www.imperialhouse.ru).

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Connecting With Zoom

This virtual lecture is presented live via Zoom. Registered users will be emailed a link to join this Zoom program. To get started, please download Zoom on your chosen device and explore the Frequently Asked Questions.

This program will be recorded.


Image: The Russian Bride’s Attire by Konstantin Makovsky, 1889. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.


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