The Obdorsk mission itineraries (6070s of the 19th century): analysis of published sources

Shcherbich S.N. (Tyumen, Russian Federation)


                      page 154163


Mission itineraries disclose problems of cultural interaction and reflect the authors unique individual experience of communication with local people and reflections about it. The article reviews the book The Obdorsk mission itineraries (6070s of the 19th century) as a historical source in order to evaluate its information capacities in historical research and its characteristics  as a historical and cultural phenomenon. The source analysis allowed us to reveal background of the edition, its structure and principles of document selection, of writing of scientific commentaries to the itineraries, and of compliance to the rules of archeographic preparation of the publication. The comparative analysis of the original work and the publication has proved their authenticity. This publication is considered to be valuable as the Obdorsk mission itineraries have become available to readers, and, what is more important, it contains scientific commentaries on the missionaries personal data and explains many concepts and terms employed in the text. The geographical index serves for the purpose of quick reference for readers, and, what is more significant, it can be considered as an independent research focus of geography of northwestern Siberia in the 19th century. The name index serves for the purpose of bringing to light some local and foreign names and also allows us to consider these names in the context of cultural interaction of the Orthodox clergy with the indigenous people of Northwestern Siberia. The study of the Obdorsk mission itineraries urges us to single out the key concept of overcoming: overcoming the unkind Siberian nature, inertness and indifference of the native people, their savagery and superstitions, and what is more, self-overcoming getting rid of fears, weaknesses and doubts. The missionary itineraries are a unique source of curriculum vitae of the Obdorsk mission priests living in the 19th century, but sadly this potential is still beyond historical researches. The missionaries written heritage requires further scientific study as a historical source in the modern Russian historiography. Publication of those sources contains rich potential which may be demanded in the comparative historical researches of written heritage of missionaries of the spiritual missions in Western Siberia and other territories of the Russian Empire aimed at revealing its similarities and differences.


Key words: Missionary itineraries, Orthodox missionaries, indigenous people, the Obdorsk mission, source analysis, the problem of cultural dialogue.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2016-34-3-154-163




S.N. Shcherbich

Tyumen State University, Volodarsky st., 6, Tyumen, 625003, Russian Federation