The Motif of World Transfiguration in Ivan Zhdanov’s Poem Orans




modern Russian poetry; transformation of the world; metaphysics; Orans; Ivan Zhdanov


In the works of the contemporary Russian poet Ivan Zhdanov, religious motifs, images, and ideas are intertwined with the philosophy of seeking answers to the ‘eternal’ questions of life and death, faith and breaking away from God, and good against evil. Referring to the analysis and interpretation of his most poignant poem Orans, the article demonstrates the author’s metaphysical approach to the perception and transformation of the world and humanity. As in all Zhdanov’s works, in this poem there are two worlds, i. e. the divine and the human, which the author strives to unify and transform. The poet considers love, hope, and forgiveness the fundamental way to reconfigure human experience, which is also apparent from the very title of the poem, Orans. This is a symbol of forgiveness, embodied in the person of the Mother of God, whom the author calls “hope for ultimate forgiveness”. Themes of pain and suffering, an integral part of human existence, are intertwined in this poem, as well as among many others in the author’s oeuvre. Elements of Christian axiology are among the main pillars of his artistic world, which is filled with a desire for spiritual revival. In addition to biblical motifs (the Archangel, the Last Judgment, etc.), we also observe reliance on the folk tradition of the Eastern Slavs (Pokrov Day or the Intercession of the Theotokos). In addition to decoding individual images, the article also pays attention to the poetic style, rhythmic composition, rhyme, and complex metamorphic language which make the poet a representative of metametaphorism/metarealism/neo-baroque. The relationship between the poet and memory, or poetic mission, plays an important role in the poem.

Author Biography

Andrea Grominová

PhD, Head of the Department of Russian Studies, University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava.

2, Námestie J. Herdu 2, 917 01 Trnava, Slovak Republic.

ORCID 0000-0002-2384-6880


Agapkina, T. A. (2009). Pokrov [Intercession of the Theotokos]. In Tolstoy, N. I. (Ed.). Slavyanskie drevnosti. Etnolingvisticheskii slovar’ v 5 t. Moscow, Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya. Vol. 4, pp. 127–128.

Bavil’skii, D. (2003). Doiti do polnogo predela: Ivan Zhdanov otvechaet na voprosy Dmitriya Bavil’skogo [Reaching the Final Limit. Ivan Zhdanov Answers Dmitriy Bavil’sky’s Questions]. In Topos: literaturno-filosofskii zhurnal [website]. URL: (mode of access: 06.03.2018).

Bozh’ya Mater’ Oranta [The Orans Mother of God]. (2010). In Mir ikon [website]. URL: (mode of access: 02.03.2018).

Chizhov, N. S. (2016). Poeziya Ivana Zhdanova: problemy poetiki [The Poetry of Ivan Zhdanov: Problems of Poetics]. Dis. … kand. filol. nauk Yekaterinburg, S. n. 261 p.

Dashevskaya, O. A. (2005). Mifotvorchestvo V. Solov’eva i solov’evskii tekst v poezii XX veka [The Mythmaking of V. Solovyov and His Text in the Poetry of the 20th Century]. Tomsk, Izdatel’stvo Tomskogo universiteta. 150 p.

Davidova, M. G., Shlychkova, E. (2009). Simvolika ikony [The Symbolism of the Icon]. In Prostranstvo i vremya v ikone [website]. URL: (mode of access: 06.03.2018).

Knyazeva, E. A. (2000). Metarealizm kak napravlenie: esteticheskie printsipy i poetika [Materialism as a Trend: Aesthetic Principles and Poetics]. Dis. … kand. filol. nauk. Perm’, S. n. 209 p.

Kozlova, S. М. (2002). “Bozhestvennyi mladenets” v poezii I. F. Zhdanova [The “Divine Child” in I. F. Zhdanov’s Poetry]. In Russkaya literatura v XX veke: imena, problemy, kul‘turnyi dialog. Tomsk, Izdatel‘stvo Tomskogo universiteta. Iss. 4. Sud‘ba kul‘tury i obrazy kul‘tury v poezii XX veka, pp. 149–166.

Losskii, V., Uspenskii, L. (2014). Pokrov Presvyatoi Bogoroditsy [The Intercession of the Theotokos]. In Smysl ikon / transl. by V. A. Reshchikova, L. A. Uspenskaya. Moscow, Pravoslavnyi Svyato-Tikhonovskii gumanitarnyi universitet, EKSMO, pp. 229–231.

Merkulova, O. N. (2017). Metafizika vseedinstva v poezii I. Zhdanova [The Metaphysics of Unitotality in I. Zhdanov’s Poetry]. Dis. … kand. filol. nauk. Tomsk, S. n. 173 p.

Milyutina, M. G., Milyutin, A. I. (2015). Stikhotvorenie I. F. Zhdanova “Oranta” kak ansambl’ semioticheskikh obrazovanii [Poem of I. F. Zhdanov Orans as an Ensemble of Semiotic Formations]. In Filologiya i kul’tura. Philogogy and Culture. No. 4 (42), pp. 114–117.

Polishchuk, V. (2007). Nasha poeziya neottorzhima ot pravoslavnogo soznaniya: interv’yu s Ivanom Zhdanovym [Our Poetry is Inseparable from Orthodox Consciousness. An Interview with Ivan Zhdanov]. In Novaya karta russkoi literatury [website]. URL: (mode of access: 06.03.2018).

Tikhonov, V. (1994). Ivan Zhdanov: “Shila v Moskve ne utaish’” [Ivan Zhdanov: “Awls cannot be Hidden in Moscow”]. In Infodom Altai [website]. URL: (mode of access: 06.03.2018).

Tokarev, А. А. (2018). Poetika russkogo metarealizma [The Poetics of Russian Metarealism]. Dis. … kand. filol. nauk. Moscow, S. n. 149 p.

Zaitseva, О. N. (2008). Kontseptsiya Bozhestvennogo v tvorchestve Ivana Zhdanova [The Conception of the Divine in the Work of Ivan Zhdanov]. In Vestnik Irkutskogo gosudarstvennogo lingvisticheskogo universiteta. No. 3, pp. 27–32.

Zhdanov, I. F. (2005). Oranta [Orans]. In Zhdanov, I. F. Vozdukh i Veter. Sochineniya i fotografii. Moscow, Nauka, p. 88.



How to Cite

Grominová, A. (2019). The Motif of World Transfiguration in Ivan Zhdanov’s Poem Orans. Quaestio Rossica, 7(3), 983–991.



Ars interpretandi