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In recent years the attention of a number of observers has been drawn to an increasingly popular, entirely informal prayer practice in written form. More and more books, visitors’ books and guestbooks are appearing at our shrines for visitors to record requests, prayers and declarations of gratitude, and their pages are filled with individual prayers. They are unusual because they allow us to observe a special communication situation, the written representation of an informal, non-normalised, oral manifestation. The writing often objectifies and even ritualises this special act of prayer. The guestbooks of shrines and parish churches offer everyone access to a forum for these exceptional occasions. In this article I would like to present such guestbooks, collected at Hungarian shrines, and the conclusions drawn from their comparative analysis.

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