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A volkhv or volhv (
Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is ...
: Волхв; Polish: Wołchw, translatable as wiseman, wizard, sorcerer, magus, i.e.
shaman Shamanism is a religious practice that involves a practitioner (shaman) interacting with what they believe to be a spirit world through altered states of consciousness An altered state of consciousness (ASC), also called altered state of min ...

shaman
,
gothi Gothi or (plural , fem. ; Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of ...
or mage) is a priest in ancient Slavic religions and contemporary
Slavic Native Faith The Slavic Native Faith, commonly known as Rodnovery * bg, Родноверие, translit=Rоdnoverie * bs, Rodnovjerje * mk, Родноверие, translit=Rodnoverie * cz, Rodnověří * hr, Rodnovjerje * pl, Rodzimowierstwo; Rodzima ...
(Rodnovery).


In modern Slavic priesthood

In contemporary Slavic Native Faith, the volkhvs are those responsible for holding rites for worshipping the gods and leading communities and religious festivals. Volkhvs are the higher rank of the
sacerdotal Sacerdotalism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

sacerdotal
hierarchy, the lesser order being that of the ''
zhrets A zhrets is a priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deity, deities. They also have the authority or power t ...
''. The latter are not necessarily shamans, and their function is merely to hold
sacrifice Sacrifice is the offering of material possessions or the lives of animals or humans to a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as a God (male ...

sacrifice
s (the word ''zhrets'' literally means "sacrificer", from
Proto-Slavic Proto-Slavic is the unattested, reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for ...
*''žьrti'', and is cognate of Slavic words for "offering"). Though the majority of priests are males, most groups do not exclude women from the priesthood, so that a parallel female priesthood is constituted by the two ranks of ''zhritsa'' and ''vedunya'' ("seeresses"). Prestige is not limited to male priests; a priestess,
Halyna Lozko Halyna Lozko ( uk, Галина Сергіївна Лозко) (Yelanets ( uk, Єланець), Mykolaiv Oblast, 3 February 1952) is Ukrainian ethnologist, theologian and Modern Paganism, neopagan leader. In 1993 she founded the group Pravoslav ...
from Ukraine, is an acknowledged authority within the religious movement. In 2012, three Russian Rodnover organisations, the Union of Slavic Rodnover Communities, the Circle of the Pagan Tradition and the Circle of Veles, signed an "Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Priests", instituting a common priesthood and the criteria for the ordination of those wishing to become Slavic priests.


Among the olden Rus'

Volkhvs are attested among the early
Rus' people The Rus people (Old East Slavic Old East Slavic (traditionally also: Old Russian, be, старажытнаруская мова; russian: древнерусский язык; uk, давньоруська мова) was a language used durin ...
. Volkhvs were believed to possess mystical powers, particularly the ability to predict the future. The first literary reference to a volkhv occurs in the
Primary Chronicle The ''Tale of Bygone Years'' ( orv, Повѣсть времѧньныхъ лѣтъ, ''Pověstĭ vremęnĭnyxŭ lětŭ''), often known in English as the ''Rus' Primary Chronicle'', the ''Russian Primary Chronicle'', or simply the ''Primary Chroni ...
under the year 912; there, the priest-soothsayer predicts
Prince Oleg
Prince Oleg
's death. With the adoption of Christianity, the pagan priests came under persecution and sometimes tried to channel social discontent against the Christian church. The name of the divination book " Volkhovnik" comes from the term "''volkhv''".


Artwork

File:Приход Глеба Святославича Новгородского к волхву.jpg,
Gleb Svyatoslavich Gleb Svyatoslavich ( 1052 – 30 May 1078) was Prince of Tmutarakan and Principality of Novgorod, Novgorod of Kievan Rus'. He ruled Tmutarakan under the overall authority of his father Sviatoslav II of Kiev, Sviatoslav Iaroslavich, Prince of C ...
kills the volkhv.
Novgorod Veliky Novgorod ( rus, links=yes, Великий Новгород, p=vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj ˈnovɡərət), also known as just Novgorod (russian: Новгород, lit=newtown, links=yes), is the largest city and administrative center of Novgorod O ...

Novgorod
, 1071. ''
Radziwiłł Chronicle The Radziwiłł Chronicle, also known as the Königsberg Chronicle'','' is an Old East Slavic illuminated manuscripts from the 15th-century; it is believed to be a copy of a 13th-century original. Its name is derived from the royal Radziwiłł fa ...
''. File:Vedun by Dušan Božić.jpg, Modern artistic vision of volkhv by Serbian artist Dušan Božić. File:Wołchw by Aleksander Karcz.jpg, Modern artistic vision of volkhv by Polish artist Aleksander Karcz. File:Volkhv by Andrey Shishkin.jpg, Modern artistic vision of volkhv by Russian artist
Andrey Shishkin Andrey Shishkin (russian: Андрей Алексеевич Шишкин; born 1960) is a Russians, Russian painter. He was born and raised in Moscow. He has dealt with painting since the beginning of 2000s (decade), 2000s and he currently works i ...
.


See also

*
Gothi Gothi or (plural , fem. ; Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of ...
, the Germanic priests *
Slavic Native Faith The Slavic Native Faith, commonly known as Rodnovery * bg, Родноверие, translit=Rоdnoverie * bs, Rodnovjerje * mk, Родноверие, translit=Rodnoverie * cz, Rodnověří * hr, Rodnovjerje * pl, Rodzimowierstwo; Rodzima ...
* Volkhovnik


References


Citations


Sources

* * * {{Slavic mythology Priests Russian folklore Slavic paganism Eurasian shamanism