Russian & Bulgarian Pagan Monk Magicians

Russian Magical Pagan Monks (pre-orth) Orth - is the Greek word forming element meaning
This is a photo of two Russian Orthodox Monks, but by the outfit they are wearing they look like Magicians (if it quakes like a duck its a duck)  – The word “Orth” in Greek of its word element means “straight, upright and proper”

Great Schema (From Wiki) (Greek: μεγαλόσχημος, megaloschemos; Church Slavonic: Схима, Schima)—Monks whose abbots feel they have reached a high level of spiritual excellence reach the final stage, called the Great Schema. The tonsure of a Schemamonk or Schemanun follows the same format as the Stavrophore, and he makes the same vows and is tonsured in the same manner. But in addition to all the garments worn by the Stavrophore, he is given the analavos (Church Slavonic: analav) which is the article of monastic vesture emblematic of the Great Schema.

For this reason, the analavos itself is sometimes itself called the “Great Schema”. It drapes over the shoulders and hangs down in front and in back, with the front portion somewhat longer, and is embroidered with the instruments of the Passion and the Trisagion. The Greek form does not have a hood, the Slavic form has a hood and lappets on the shoulders, so that the garment forms a large cross covering the monk’s shoulders, chest, and back.

Greek Orthodox Monks and Nuns
Another piece added is the Polystavrion (Πολυσταύριον, “Many Crosses”), which consists of a cord with a number of small crosses plaited into it. The polystavrion forms a yoke around the monk and serves to hold the analavos in place, and reminds the monastic that he is bound to Christ and that his arms are no longer fit for worldly activities, but that he must labor only for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Among the Greeks, the mantle is added at this stage. The paramandyas of the Megaloschemos is larger than that of the Stavrophore, and if he wears the klobuk, it is of a distinctive thimble shape, called a koukoulion, the veil of which is usually embroidered with crosses.The Schemamonk also shall remain some days in vigil in the church. On the eighth day after Tonsure, there is a special service for the “Removal of the Koukoulion”.

In some monastic traditions the Great Schema is never given or is only given to monks and nuns on their death bed, while in others, e.g., the cenobitic monasteries on Mount Athos, it is common to tonsure a monastic into the Great Schema only 3 years after commencing the monastic life.

Russian Magician

In Russian and some other traditions, when a bearer of some monastic title acquires the Great Schema, his title incorporates the word “schema”. For example, a hieromonk of Great Schema is called hieroschemamonk, archimandrite becomes schema-archimandrite, hegumenschema-hegumen, etc.

In the Russian Orthodox tradition, in such cases the part “schema” is commonly truncated to “схи” (sche), and correspondingly the titles are spelt as схимонах (schemonach), иеросхимонах (ieroschemonach), схиархимандрит (schearchimandrit), and схиигумен (scheigumen).

bulgarian monks

Video of the Bularian Monks:

To read more about their Monks robes go to

For the full explanation go to

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Sanja Ja says:

    How are these pagan monk magicians? Cause they wear robes? What makes them magicians? Though as enticing as it sounds, and interesting, there is simply nothing here that speaks to the title. Additionally, how would a Greek student help you make sense of the robes?


    1. Its a play on words! They of course are Christian, but before Christianity, men like these were Pagan and Magic with Mother Earth was predominant as part of the Magi’s role, the Magicians who were sacred, and were steeped in symbolism, but Christianity ruined the pagans and demonized them. Once Christianity came, they kept the essence embroidered on their robes of symbolism and images but took the role and doctrines of Christians. Just look at them and open your eyes and try to think of a world not influenced by religion, and move further into the depth of paganism, shamanism and dreaming cults before those. Blessings to you.


  2. #Frater Acher – He finally wrote me back and i added the links at the bottom “in the post” !


    1. Frater Acher says:

      You are a star – thank you so much! A fascinating tradition indeed. Robing someone / something in letters ans utterance is a very ancient form of binding magic practiced across many cultures. Amazing to see this outer application of it!


  3. Frater Acher says:

    Amazing image – thanks for sharing – if only someone could explain the makeup and content of the symbols on their robes?


    1. I have a student who is greek, i will ask him


    2. Frater Acher says:

      oh, that would be wonderful. thanks!


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