Deer Offer Themselves As Church Sacrifice
Religious Fables, Folklore, Legends, and Stories
From All Creatures Articles Archive

Submitted by: Yuri Klitsenko

[Ed. Note] One of the major problems within the Christian Church is their collective lack of true compassion for animals, which hardens their heart, coupled with their attempts to justify their worldly lusts for killing and eating flesh.  This is one of those stories.

The tradition about two deer or elk may have existed in the Russian North almost into the twentieth century.

On days of some Russian Orthodox feasts, two deer or elk are said  to have come to the church and offered themselves for the ritual sacrifice. One was to be ritually butchered, the other to be set free.

[Ed. Note] This is a fanciful way of keeping the scapegoat story of Leviticus 16 alive into more modern times, but it totally neglects the fact that Jesus was the last sacrifice, and that there is no need for further shedding of blood, and in the process they diminish the work of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When this prohibition was violated by priests and both deer were butchered, the animals ceased to offer themselves to man.

Variants of this legend speak of one white deer, for whom a bull was later substituted.

During their expedition to the Russian North in the first decade of 20-th century B. and Yu. Sokolov noted a curious ritual butchering that they suspected reflected a pagan ritual that coincided with the Nativity of the Mother of God.

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