What to say while using dust from the Saints’ eyes? A Romanian case

Pp. 161-176

  • Laura Jiga Iliescu
Keywords: church’s walls, theology of icons, saints’body, magic, love songs, popular religious praxis


Hidden rituals are a category of religious practices, whose disclosure is not easy to be made by an outsider ethnologist. In this frame, a relatively less studied ensemble of gestures, which nowadays are almost perished, but whose traces are preserved in the Christian churches’ frescos from Orthodox space is represented by the act of voluntarily scratching the eyes of the saints painted on the wall. The paper systematizes the few references concerning this ritual entirety and also inquires about the relations established between the official dogma and the religious practices as actuated in the very case of the icon and the saint’s figure, in the 19th century Romanian milieu.