"Masha's 'God's-folk'"
Solovki by Mikhail Nesterov
Public DomainSolovki by Mikhail Nesterov

 From the eleventh century onwards, a tradition of pilgrimage developed in Russia. It started with pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, from where they would bring back palm leaves, earning themselves the name palomniki. But this was a prohibitively expensive form of worship, so soon places of pilgrimage sprang up within Russia, such as Solovki, off the coast of Northern Russia. Pilgrimages could be one-off journeys or semi-professional occupations whereby people constantly travelled across the country, seeking religious education and comfort in shrines and monasteries. Often people who took on this lifestyle were those with learning difficulties or physical disabilities.