'Chocolate Mary' - Romany Christianity in Slovakia
The aim of the study is to emphasize the need to re-examine terminology commonly used in relation to the 'Romany religiosity'. The historical and cultural contexts of the notions 'religion' and 'Christianity' need to be particularly re-examined. The authoress focuses on the phenomena of present 'Romany folk beliefs'. The Slovak majority defines the later as superficial. The authoress argues that this type of Christianity is practiced specifically 'within' (in particularly on the margin of), 'out of' or 'parallely with' official Christianity. She outlines the main features of the 'Romany Christianity' putting them into general typologies as well as non-European types of Christianity respectively non-European types of religions (according to Harvey Whitehouse and Simon Coleman's typologies). Consequently, she defines 'Romany Christianity' as an 'imagistic' mode of religiosity with a 'contractual' type of the 'God's agreement' in contrast with the 'doctrinal' mode of religiosity and 'covenant' type of the 'God's agreement' common in the 'Christianity of majority'. Unlike previous, 'negative' definitions of Romany folk beliefs as 'deviations' or 'contamination' of the majority beliefs, the new typology developed by the authoress enables neutral definition of 'Romany Christianity'. The 'Chocolate Mary' (i.e. Virgin Mary with a brown colour of skin) is used within the study as the authoress' metaphor for the 'Romany Christianity' and at the same time as an authentic example of the 'Romany transcription/translation' of a religious symbol.
T. Podolinska, Ustav etnologie SAV, Klemensova 19, 813 64 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
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