Why There are no Witches in the Orthodox World?
About the lecturer:
Prof. Maria Schnitter D.Sc. is a lecturer at the University of Plovdiv since 1984. Her main fields of study include media studies, anthropology of religions and everyday life. She has specialized as a scholar at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Universities of Freiburg, Würzburg, Berlin and Cologne (1992-1997-2003-2017). She taught Bulgarian literature and culture at the University of Vienna (2000-2003). She is a member of the Sinai Monastery`s Glagolitic manuscripts publishing team and conducts field research in Europe, Asia and Africa. She held lectures in Russia, Italy, Great Britain, Israel and other countries. She has many scientific publications in specialized periodical editions in Bulgaria and abroad. She is the author of a big number of books, some of which are the following:
• M. Schnitter, Vom Körper zur Schrift, Sofia, Iztok-Zapad Publishing house, 2007 (co-author with Horst Ventsel and Elisabeth Vavra)
• M. Schnitter, Roads through the Orthodox Ritual, Sofia, Iztok-Zapad Publishing house, 2017

About the lecture:
The lecture traces the attitude towards traditional magic in the Orthodox Slavic environment in the period XV – XIX century in comparison with the processes taking place in Western Europe at the same time. The doctrinal, political and cultural-historical factors hindering the persecution of the “witches” among the South Slavs in the transition from the Middle Ages to Modern Times are described.
The peaceful coexistence of the Orthodox Church and magic in the traditional society of the Balkans was possible by the end of the XX century only because:
• in the Orthodox world, the bearers of “specific knowledge” are not demonized as they are in the Western tradition;
• the Orthodox Church did not go through a process of “rationalization of the faith” similar to the Reformation;
• the “skilled ones” occupy an essential role in the hierarchy of the Orthodox community (alongside the clergy, not in opposition to them);
• the state power during the Ottoman period did not help the imposition of a strict orthodoxy by the Orthodox Church;
• the dominance of Islamic jurisdiction in the Balkans in the Ottoman period precluded the criminalization of heterodoxy;
• printing spread among the South Slavs relatively late.

Free admission.

We look forward to seeing you on March 28 at 6 p.m.!

The lecture is part of the events of the exhibition “Threads I weave and threads I twine, joy and sorrow intertwine… (The magic and the magical in the Bulgarian folk culture)”.
The project is part of the official program of Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019.