Kievan Rus occupied border intermediate position between agricultural civilizations of Europe and nomadic and barbarous nations of Asia. Culture of Rus is the culture of “borderland” and outpost. Here Slavs, Hungarian-Finnic, Germanic, Iranian and Turkic ethnical groups united in the political framework which were joint by the culture of ‘Kievan Rus’ giving them the basic characteristics.
The most important achievement of the Kievan Rus culture is the development of a huge space in northeastern Europe giving it a cultural, civilized face. Which is construction of new cities or centers of culture, construction of roads, construction of a bridge connecting to the remote corners of the dense and “untrodden” forests.
Another, no less important historical value is the adoption of Christianity and conversion of pagan culture. Christianity has played a dual role in the development of Rus culture. On the one hand it eradicates the inheritance of pagan Rus in lots of things, impoverishes the historical memory of the people consigns to obvilion the complex world of her mythological images. But there is no doubt in its progressive function. During the Mongol invasion Orthodoxy was the spiritual center which allowed Rus to retain cultural identity, to organize a moral resistance to the conquerors and to put forward the goal of the national revival.
The introduction of Christianity was a real revolution in its effect on the human consciousness of that time. This revolution brought entirely new values, new forms of life and destroyed the ancient ingrained stereotypes. Baptism fundamentally changing the whole sphere of mental activity was coming into conflict with the former religious worldview as paganism has provided resistance and continued to live in people’s masses. Thus, “demonic” pagan merrymaking are described in the annals, national uprisings led by the Magi. Great success has made the Christian church when began to use the old feasts and rituals filling them with new content. A kind of transfer of ancient beliefs into new ways was taking place. Originally paganism existed in parallel with Christianity and then it started to synthesize and in the end the pagan ritual side was almost completely soaked by the Orthodoxy. Gradually a compromised balance between pagan and Christian elements was formed.
Worshiping of pagan deities was combined with the construction of Christian churches and the establishment of a new religious consciousness. Remnants of Slavic mythology survived in the form of a variety of folk rituals and games until today, when they have already been investigated and comprehended by ethnographers. Remnant stories from ancient Slavic mythology retain epics, fairy tales, riddles, ornaments on traditional folk embroidery, wood carving and many other expressions of folklore. Christianization conducted with the destruction of ancient pagan temples, of course sometimes faced fierce resistance of the people and priests. However, due to the assimilation of pagan traditions to the Orthodox traditions all this has led to the creation of original Orthodox tradition. As a result, Christianity played an active part in the overall development of culture and creation of the literature monuments, art and architectural art of building of ancient Rus.
Like all world’s religions Christianity has gained new features on a national basis. They are directly associated with the peculiarities of the national character. Orthodoxy promoted the formation of a new type of a man. This man aimed not to the transformation of the external world but to its spiritualization. Paganism did not separated a man from the nature, of its eternal gyre he was inseparable with the world. With the acceptance of Christianity man perceives himself and his place in the world.
In the «Kievan Rus» collection we have tried to show the moment of contact between the two worlds. Our jewelry organically absorbed elements associated with the pagan and Christian themes. Original images and stories that are popular in IX-X centuries are put in the base of design.