The Legend of Saint Xenia in the Mental Universe of a Seto Woman named Ksenia Müürsepp Cover Image

Püha Ksenia legend setu naise Ksenia Müürsepa vaimses universumis
The Legend of Saint Xenia in the Mental Universe of a Seto Woman named Ksenia Müürsepp

Author(s): Merili Metsvahi
Subject(s): Customs / Folklore
Published by: SA Kultuurileht
Keywords: legend; folklore; identity; narrative; Seto culture; story-telling

Summary/Abstract: The article is focused on a saint legend told to the author of the article and her colleagues, who were taking folklore interviews with Setos, by Ksenia Müürsepp (1911–2004) on her own initiative. The legend represents an idiosyncratic fusion of the story of the Forty Martyrs of Sebastia and an image of Saint Xenia. The main character is St. Xenia as a champion of (Orthodox) Christianity. The legend is compared to other folk narrative genres and a survey is given of the other legends told by the same person. Also, the narrative strategies used are compared with those of other genres. As the legend was about a female saint playing an active role the author became inspired to study a woman's general position in the Seto community, as well as the extant abstractions of types of women occurring in folk tales. The conclusion reads that the legend of St. Xenia enabled deviation from the local gender stereotypes, because the events were placed in a distant time and place. At the same time, Ksenia's believing the legend to be a true story enabled her subconscious identification with the central character – her namesake – to a greater extent than would have done a tale of any other genre or with a male main character. For Ksenia Müürsepp the sex of the main character was less important than her fight for Christianity.

  • Issue Year: L/2007
  • Issue No: 10
  • Page Range: 783-798
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Estonian