THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A PROPHETIC TESTIMONY OF THE PAST IN ELIZAVETA SKOBTSOVA'S POEM ENTITLED 'QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY'
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Elizaveta Skobtsova (1891-1945), one of the leading representatives of the Russian émigré elite, was an advocate of theophanic art, i.e. one that brings mystically experienced God's truth to the world. The poem 'Quinquagesima Sunday' consists of three parts. The First Song is autothematic and presents the evolution of the subject from the 'prodigal intellectualist' to a nun whose love of one's neighbour possesses all the characteristics of eschatological deeds, which advance the Second Advent of Christ. The Second Song is historiosophic; its subject matter is closely bound to Russia's past and Skobtsova's experience of contemporary Europe at war. Skobtsova foresees Russia's victory and promotes the idea that her country will take the lead in the spiritual revival of the world, when its time comes. The Third Song constitutes an ethical and philosophical expression of the history of the Roman Catholic Church. The implied truth can be summed up in two contradictory ideas: God's love and man's insensibility to such love. The contemporary world resists the existence of Spirit and is under self-annihilation. However, the final image of the poem, with the central figure of the Good Shepherd, is a reassuring one. The world's history finally reaches its destiny because the Good Shepherd is alert. He is the Master of history.
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