Missionary activity among the indigenous and small peoples of the North is inextricably linked with the reception of the culture of the people to whom the mission is addressed. Many elements of pagan beliefs have become part of culture and have been identified with the traditional way of people’s life. In turn, the interaction of representatives of indigenous peoples with the settlers provoked a change in the pantheon of pagan gods and characters of folk epics, who became identified with Christian saints and biblical characters. The mission in this case should be based on interaction with prevailing national images that reflect Christian ideas and values. In the analysis of Samoyed culture, certain similarities were found between pagan gods-antagonists and the antithesis of the Christian God Almighty and the devil, known in Christian culture. The article discusses the influence of Pagan epic characters similar to Christian God on missionary activity. The hypothesis of this study was that the borrowing of national images could facilitate missionary activity among the indigenous peoples of the North, provide an appropriate cultural code to transmit the Divine Revelation to the peoples.
However, as a result of the work done, it was found that when identifying characters of the pagan epic with Christian saints and God, there is a high probability of countertransference of the negative properties and qualities of the characters to the Christian images, which will have a negative impact on missionary activity in general. Studying and working with national images will effectively optimize missionary activity and avoid methodological errors in planning and building missionary activities in an ethnocultural context.
Keywords: Orthodox Christianity, missiology, mission, missionary work, concepts history, culture, ethnography, missionary field.