St. Stephen of Perm in Komi Folklore

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St. Stephen of Perm in Komi Folklore

Submitted by Yuri Klitsenko

St. Stephen of Perm cuts down sacred birch tree.

According to Komi folklore St. Stephen of Perm (1340-1396) and some Russian soldiers of Christ were floating on wonderworking RAFT of STONE by rivers to baptize Komi folk and to defeat pagan shamans.

Shaman Paljajka suggested St. Stephen of Perm to test strength on water. Shaman was able to walk under water without breathing.

St. Stephen replied. - I will not dive for you, but I will walk on the water to watch you that you haven’t put out your head from water.

Both have prayed to their gods, both have said spells over water and have started competition. While Paljajka, suspecting nothing, easily floated under water, St. Stephen has read at this time stronger paternoster over water. It has weakened at once forces of shaman. Paljajka began to choke under water and has come up to repeat spell over water, but St. Stephan has beat him on the head with a cross.

Do you recognize yourself defeated? - St Stephen asked. – No, for you, Stephen, has outwitted me, but has not won. Our gods are strong and will help me.

St Stephen kept on beating shaman with cross. The people, seeing that Paljajka is defeated, rushed on him and began to beat him. Paljajka has again said a spell over water, dived into the river and disappeared from the persecutors. Then St. Stephen in his turn said even more strong paternoster over water. Paljajka again began to choke and eventually was captured and murdered.

Floating on the wonderworking RAFT of STONE by rivers of Komi land St. Stephen of Perm realized that magic powers of shamans are directly connected with rivers. So St. Stephen instructed Christian soldiers to cut escaping shamans off rivers.

«St. Stephen knew that in the river there was force of shaman Kyska, if shaman reach the river and dive into the water, he can come out for hundred miles from here. And then Kyska again will start to harm Christians. So St Stephen asked his men to cut Kyska off river… St. Stephen has warned the companions not to let shaman Meleika to dive into the river because all magical strength of shaman is connected with water».

In this way St. Stephen of Perm managed to cut off river and kill evil Kyska (who raped baptized Komi girl Ulyana), shaman Meleika and many other pagan wizards.

Pagan princess of Udor escaped by boat, but after seeing St. Stephen floating on the stone, princess of Udor committed suicide.

Komi folklore inform: "St. Stephen floated on a stone and has not drowned. Who is such a person? - God!"; “St. Stephen with the Holy Spirit floated on the raft of stone”.

Stephen's floating on a stone represents the initial phase of cosmogonic creativity of the positive divine hero-demiurge, occurring during initial times. As well as in cosmogonic plot, the stone becomes that strong basis, from which the Christian earth starts to be developed. Later Stephen's stone turns to island, comparable with primeval island created by demiurge.