On Unmanly and Puerile Cowardice
Religious Fables, Folklore, Legends, and Stories
From All Creatures Articles Archive

Submitted by: Yuri Klitsenko

Dear friends

I failed to learn well language of symbols in Evenki shaman's tents. Only some general ideas are getting clear.

According to Evenki mythology the earth is "great raft" floating in the waters. When the great raft tilts, day and night change, seasons of the year change. (Seasons of the year? There only two seasons there - 9 months long winter and 3 months summertime).

Shaman's tent is great raft, connected with upper and lower worlds with special bridges, passages, traps etc.

Some Western scholars call shaman's tent "wooden decorations for shaman's performance". One may say single use "living decorations" and "acting decorations".

Nothing is clear, yet I have published (in the newspaper and in iternet) one more short article about Evenki shaman's tents


I wrote it to support scholar from Bratsk - lonely, poor and rejected old man who did great field work without any grants and awards.

Desribing Evenki fear of spirits (and my own fear of bears) I refer to "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" by St. John Climacus:

Step 21: On Unmanly and Puerile Cowardice

Do not hesitate to go late at night to those places where you usually feel afraid. But if you yield only a little to such weakness, then this childish and ridiculous infirmity will grow old with you.

As you go on your way, arm yourself with prayer. When you reach the place, stretch out your hands. Flog your enemies with the name of Jesus, for there is no stronger weapon in heaven or earth. It is not darkness and desolateness of place that give the demons power against us, but barrenness of soul. And through God’s providence, this sometimes happens in order that we may learn by it.


One year passed since old Patriarch Alexiy the Second died in his bathroom from bad “slip and fall” wounds. An English author has sent me his article "The Church of traitors".

I didn't know much about Patriarch Alexy II before I started to work in Patriarch's team in 2002. Of course I had seen him rather often before - in 1990-2002. But since 2002 I got really impressed by person, which still remains challenge and mystery for me. I can't explain his acts. Patriarch Alexy II had some heart attacks during liturgies but refused help of doctor not to interrupt liturgy. "KGB atheist", who cares about Church services much more than about his own life? Being ill he conducted two long services and died next morning in his bathroom. I was sure that he will die right in the middle of the church during the Liturgy. "Traitor" or "Confessor" His Holiness was very strong character, and his was sacrificing his life in his own way.

One need to remember that majority of Russian people turned away from Christian and any other religion. Many of "traitors" were wise and patient missionaries. Fr. Alxander Men never was "Confessor" - I have seen his letters to Soviet authorities. Fr. Alxander Men was not "Confessor" - he was great missionary who baptised lot of Soviet communists. "Traitors" even managed to open parish of Antioch Patriarchate in Moscow. Antioch Patriarchate in Moscow was kind of foreign embassy independent from Communist authorities. Any Russian communist or member of Komsomol could be baptized without being registered. The Antioch parish became millionaire very soon. I was baptized there without being registered. These were my first uneasy steps towards Jesus Christ. I never was eager to become "Zealote" - I merely wanted to be baptized and participate in communion. I remember Fr. Alxander Men said me "my Church ministry is devoted to such Komsomol youth as you are". So "the Church of traitors" was also "the Church of missionaries". It is mistake to think that Zealotes only can change society, but peaceful teachers and preachers can't change anything at all.

True Orthodox Zealotes join noble Serbian patriots and "chetniks" fighting against USA and NATO lies. I keep Serbian flag "Samo Sloga Serbina Spasava" in my room.

My friend wrote: Sometimes it looks as if you are in training to be a shaman. Ah well, it's a change from the life of the Pravoslavny or the Methodist Church.

It is absolutely impossible to be trained as Evenki shaman. Traditional Evenki shamans had been totally smashed by Soviet atheism. Many of shamans were arrested and killed in the 30-s. The accusation was nonsense: Evenki shamans and Orthodox priests together arranged fire in Baikit boarding school. Many Evenki children perished in the fire, former Orthodox priest who managed to get job at the boarding school was immediately accused and Evenki shamans too. Other accusation against shamans was that they all are involved in "wrecking", "diversionist acts" and "counter-revolutionary sabotage" by sacrificing reindeer for pagan rituals - there is no any private property in communist state so shamans inflict damage of communist property by performing sacrifice rituals. Shamans which survived the 30-s couldn't transmit spiritual traditions to the younger generation, which was totally brainwashed in Soviet boarding schools. "Neo-shamans" are fake, Evenkis don't accept them.

As a result of communist politics Evenkis have no enough reindeer now, so pagans sacrifice to gods and spirits computers, mobile phones, telephones, radio, electric goods etc. Spirits enjoy computerization!

Yours sincerely,


Go on to: Ordenskirche in Arnau
Return to: Religious Fables, Folklore, Legends, and Stories