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?

1 Answer 1


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.

  • 1
    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!
    – auden
    Jun 30, 2019 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, 2019 at 18:34

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