Komi-Zyrian Christians Wash Icons

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Komi-Zyrian Christians Wash Icons

Submitted by Yuri Klitsenko

Pictured below is a Procession of Komi Christians carry icons for washing images in the river.

Only females - adult women and girls - have privilege to carry and wash icons.

In past times women walked in the water across the lake, but now there is special wooden bridge across the lake. It was strictly prohibited to wash icons in the lake - only running water of the river Ker-Yu is good for washing icons. No icon could contact unclean dead water of the lake.

They believe that the Lord God encourages proper washing of icons by arranging warm rain, thunder and lightening. If unclean dead water of the lake touched any icon, the Lord God reacts with bad weather - cold storm and frost.

Like the picture of Dorian Gray, Komi icons accumulate sins of Komi Christians, the running water of the river Ker-Yu washes away the sins of Komi folk.

Not long ago unknown criminals had stolen oldest washed icons from Saint Paraskeva Chapel, second half of 18th century, Krivoe, Udor District of Komi Republic.