Three scholars will speak about views of Mary's life in different cultures.
Reverend Chris Visminis will address Dormition and Assumption: Meanings for the End of Mary's Life. The Eastern and Western view of the end of Mary's life differ dramatically. These differing views are dependent on the nature of Mary's role in human salvation and what that salvation comprises.
Vera Shevzov, Professor of Religion, Smith College, will speak about The Life of Mary: Post-Soviet Public Orthodoxy. Since the emergence of the Russian Orthodox Church as a formidable presence in Russian society, the image of Mary has increasingly permeated the public sphere. This talk will focus on the revitalized life of ancient icons, the appearance of new Marian icon types, as well as phenomenon of contested "pseudo-icons" of the Mother of God in post-Soviet times.
Amy Adams, Associate Professor of Russian, College of the Holy Cross, will present The Palladium Project: Vladimir Putin and the Mother of God Icon. In 2004, Vladimir Putin oversaw the return of a supreme protectress, or palladium, Virgin of Kazan to Russia by the Vatican. This presentation considers Putin's relationship with Mother of God icons and the attempt by diverse cultural groups to wrest her protective power from him. It also suggests ways to understand the political and cultural significance of Putin's association with the Mother of God icon type.