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Before declaming the Grand Inquisitor in the Brothers Karamazov, Ivan refers to a poem with the virgin Marie visiting Hell and begging God for mercy for its inhabitants.

Is this a real poem? If so, what is it?

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It is a XIIth century Slavic apocrypha «Хождение Богородицы по мукам».

In English: “The journey of the Mother of God through hell”.

Aleksey Tolstoy’s novel Хождение по мукам (The Road to Calvary refers to it too.

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    Hello, and welcome to Literature Stack Exchange! Could you link to the poem you cite, or provide some proof that the poem you name and the one referenced in the question are the same? Thanks! – heather Jun 30 at 18:21
  • Hello, here is a link to a Russian modernized version : bibliotekar.ru/rus/48.htm Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an English translation, but a few academics wrote about the link between those text such as Peter Dirk Dekker. – user21102 Jun 30 at 18:34
  • After reading the automated translation of the Russian wikipedia page and the provided links, the poem in question matches the description given by Ivan. So I'm accepting the answer. Thank you for the link user21102 – azani Jul 1 at 18:23
  • You’re welcome! – user21102 Jul 1 at 18:24

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