Dr. Lazar Milin

The influence of the Orthodox Church on the spiritual culture of the Serbian people

pages: 224-235

Abstract

In this article the author speaks of the influence of the Serbian Church on the spiritual culture of the Serbian people, paying close attention to how this Church influence has effected the development of folklore in the Serbian people, especially in the realm of dancing and singing.

In the introduction the author speaks of the effect of the Church in general on the spirit, not only of individuals, but of the nation as a whole, and in explaining this effect he uses the Saviour's parable of the yeast in the dough and of the seeds and the sower. Just as the goal of the yeast is to permeate the entire dough, so the goal of the Church is to transfigure with the Holy Spirit the entire spiritual and economic life of the nation in which it acts. Furthermore, just as the sower's seeds will not always bring forth fruit one hundred per cent, and sometimes might bear none at all (Matt. 13, 4—24. 33) so the action of the Church in every nation, including the Serbian nation, has different results.

Futher on the author illustrates this with the following examples:

a) Dancing should be in harmony with the gravity and dignity of man. It should never destroy either chastity or sense of shame, in other words, it must not be disgraceful. For that reason the Serbian »kolo«, apart from all its gaity, is still dignified and does not degrade the gravity of man nor offends his feeling of shame as in the case with many modern dances.

b) As far as songs are concerned, here exists an entire scale from the greatest Church influence to the least, inded to the point where there is none at all. The author introduces examples of those who sometimes in their spare time sing pure Church songs, liturgical hymns, then the influence of Church tunes on the tunes of folk songs, and in the same way the influence of the Christian ethics on the contents of those songs, and puts forth other examples of songs in which at first view this influence is not noticed at all, but when they are deeper analysed and compared with songs of secular times, then it is seen that even in them the influence of the Church is far greater than would perhaps be expected.

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