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date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter analyses two groups of Eastern Orthodox women in Finland and their relationship to the Mother of God. The analysis is based on sixty-two ethnographic interviews and nineteen written narratives. The focus is on two groups in two marginal contexts within Orthodoxy: women converted from the Lutheran Church and the indigenous Skolt Sámi women in northeastern Lapland (all cradle Orthodox). Both contexts reflect a broader ethno-cultural process of identity formation. The converted women tend to reflect on their image of the Mother of God in relation to their previous Lutheran identity, in which the Virgin Mary plays a marginal role. In Skolt Sámi Orthodoxy, the figure of the Mother of God is less accentuated than St Tryphon, their patron saint. The Orthodox faith and tradition in general have been central for the Skolts in the course of their traumatic history.

Keywords: Finland, women, conversion, Skolt Sámi, indigenous people, lived religion, Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church

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