Monuments reveal

Story behind monument

The tradition of burying actors outside the cemetery fence

The tradition of burying actors outside the cemetery fence

Movie character Ellochka from the film ’12 chairs’. Monument in Kharkov, Ukraine. The tradition of burying actors outside the cemetery fence

The tradition of burying actors outside the cemetery fence
Mankind has erected a mass of boring and simply uninteresting monuments. However, few of the actors have been honored with a monument. In fact, more recently, the acting profession, to put it mildly, was not at all prestigious. Indeed, not prestigious so much that there was a tradition of burying actors outside the cemetery fence. Why?
According to one version, this is due to the prohibition of the church to portray the lives of others. According to the Christian world view, every person has been given one life since birth. So, one needs only to live his own destiny, and not to depict other people. Besides, according to the church teaching, trying on the stage different images, the actor not only tries other people’s destinies, but also takes the sins of other people. Therefore, plays along with the antichrist, and thus, sinks to basest sins.
Despite the roles that the actor played in the performances, after his death (along with suicides and people who died from an alcohol overdose) they were buried only outside the cemetery. The church believes that the actors even during their lifetime voluntarily killed their souls.

The tradition of burying actors outside the cemetery fence

Russian actor Yuri Nikulin, grave monument, Novodevichye cemetery, Moscow. The tradition of burying actors outside the cemetery fence

According to another version, the actors were buried outside the cemetery because they were too lascivious, and sinning. Not attending church, they did not repent of what they had done during their lifetime.

Third, the negative attitude to actors and everything connected with them, goes back to the history of the ancient theater, often associated with pagan mysteries. Therefore, the Christian clergy perceived the stray actors, as hidden pagans, and as priests of pantheistic cults.

In Russia, the attitude towards the theater, both among the Orthodox and the Protestant intelligentsia was in the atmosphere created by the Orthodox Church. Among the church leaders and Orthodox ideologists of different eras, there were two ideas about the theater. Theatrical creativity, unlike all other arts, always caused distrust in the church environment. Conservatives believed that the theater is a sinful occupation, a hypocrisy that is unworthy of a Christian. According to conservatives, even in the early Christian period the theater was declared a pagan act, in which the service of idols was combined with the distortion of the image of God in man. One of the famous opponents of the theatrical creativity in the XIX century was the Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod, Konstantin Pobedonostsev. In particular, he forbade performances during the Great Lent. Besides, until the revolution, it was the tradition ti bury actors behind the fence of the church cemetery.

Meanwhile, in the late XIX – early XX century partial recognition of the theater among the Orthodox public was due to the influx of intellectuals into the ranks of the clergy. Also, with the first attempts to establish a dialogue of intellectuals with the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church. A special role in relations between the Church and the theater belongs to a bishop as Metropolitan Tryphon (Turkestanov), who was an artist before the adoption of the priesthood. Noteworthy, Metropolitan Tryphon reconstructed the “Cave Action”, one of the festive Orthodox mysteries, and put this work on stage in 1913.

Novodevichye cemetery – one of the most famous places of burial of the deceased in Moscow. It arose in the 16th century on the territory of the Novodevichy Convent, so the first of its “inhabitants” were nuns. Gradually, the cemetery expanded, and today the old and new Novodevichye cemetery fenced off by a wall. Nowadays, the “overpopulated” cemetery has become a pantheon, where famous people are buried. People come here as a museum – look at the graves of celebrities and the work of famous sculptors.

burying actors outside the cemetery fence