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date: 17 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

What do a skiing Virgin Mary in the snow-covered woods of Karelia and the dark-skinned Latin American Virgins, such as the Virgin of Guadalupe, La Morenita, have in common? This chapter takes examples from two different cultural contexts—Orthodox Karelia, the region between today's Russia and Finland, and parts of Latin America—for interpretations of the Virgin Mary as one who simultaneously shares and transcends women's often intimate everyday experiences, such as sexuality, childbirth, or the loss of a child. Aspects of (women's) popular devotion to the Virgin Mary both differ from official (especially Catholic) Mariology and, interestingly, coincide with some aspects of it, especially with the view of her symbolizing and transgressing the liminal space between the human and the divine. The examples are from different geographical areas and times, representing different fields of study and methods, such as theology, anthropology, and folklore studies, some using ethnographic methods, some textual.

Keywords: Virgin Mary, Virgin of Guadalupe, Orthodox Karelia, feminist theology

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