Home    Number 1, 2024

Lived Religion of the Devotees of Rural Surbs in Armenia

[Prozhivaemaia religiia pochitatelei sel’skikh surbov v Armenii]

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541524010041


Type of publication: Research Article

Submitted: 13.03.2023

Accepted: 03.05.2023

About author(s)

Natalia Kryukova | http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5247-1822 | nkryu@mail.ru | Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences (32a Leninsky prospekt, Moscow, 119991, Russia)


living religion, surb, tan surb, Armenia, rural, sanctuary, shrine, vernacular, popular, Christianity


The article analyses the beliefs and practices of rural surb worshippers in Armenia on the basis of lived religion approaches. Surb means “holy”, “sacred”, “divine”. It is a saint and a place of veneration. A surb can be a book, a khachkar, a church, a tree, an image, etc. – any revered object. The everyday religion of believers is a special relationship with the sacred and the divine power of the saints. People accept the power of the surb as real and experience its effects every day. Ritual practices in the surbahs are seen as a way of influencing the divine power to meet certain needs and perform certain tasks. Ritual practices in surbs have real physical and spiritual efficacy for the worshippers. Also important is physical contact with the shrine. The representations and practices of devotees of rural shrines are not approved by the Armenian Apostolic Church. In Armenia there is a vernacular tradition successfully operating in parallel to the official and canonical tradition.


Kryukova, N.V. 2024. Prozhivaemaia religiia pochitatelei sel’skikh surbov v Armenii [Lived Religion of the Devotees of Rural Surbs in Armenia]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 1: 77–92. https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541524010041 EDN: YHBSLL

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