sources are prescriptive or proscriptive, written by clerics to tell us what should and should not be done, and historians must decipher by inference what actually was done during the period in question. The Domostroi, a sixteenth-century work associated with the archpriest Sil'vestr of the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin, offers spiritual, moral and practical guidance on managing a (wealthy) household. Instructions on issues such as curing sickness by prayer and pilgrimage, when and how to pray at home, what food to prepare on religious fast days, project a fairly detailed picture of the author's ideal of Christian family life.5 The Stoglav, or One Hundred Chapters, which records the rulings made by the Church Council of i55i on 'correct' or prohibited forms of piety and culture, is one of the most interesting sources of this type. Practices condemned by the church as unacceptable (mostly listed in chapters 4i, 92 and 93) include amusements such as dancing, drunkenness, and the activities of itinerant minstrels (skomorokhi) who accompanied weddings and led people astray with 'devilish games'; graveside rituals on Trinity Sunday involving excessive lamenting followed by excessive merry-making; sorcery and various superstitions such as leaving cauls, salt and soap on the altar (apparently with the connivance of the parish priest); and lewd or unruly behaviour on the eve of church festivals, especially St John's Day, Christmas and Epiphany, described as 'foul pagan and Hellene customs and games'.6 It is difficult to interpret these passages as accurately reflecting Muscovite piety in the sixteenth century, however, since the Stoglav cites canon law liberally, while various commentators have identified textual antecedents such as the Izmaragd, Kormchaia kniga (Nomocanon, or Book of the Helmsman, one of the earliest prescriptive texts inherited from Byzantium), Statute of Vladimir, and the Bible. Distinguishing 'eye-witness' testimony from literary borrowing is a complex and risky task, and observations of popular practices were no doubt made through the prism of this literary heritage. While this text offers glimpses of the lay public's piety, it tells us perhaps more about the preoccupations of the clerical hierarchy.
Studies of 'popular religion' or 'folk belief have tended to focus on the problematic but highly influential concept of dvoeverie or 'double-belief, a term used by scholars since the mid-nineteenth century to describe the conscious or unconscious preservation of pagan beliefs and/or rituals by Russian Orthodox
5 Carolyn Johnston Pouncy (ed. and trans.), The Domostroi: rules for Russian households in the time of Ivan the Terrible (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, i994). The question of authorship and readership is dealt with by Pouncy, 37-49, and P. Bushkovitch, Religion and society in Russia: the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, i992), 47-9.
6 E. V Emchenko, Stoglav: issledovanie i tekst (Moscow: Indrik, 2ooo), 4o2.
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