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Religions 2018, 9(9), 267;

Orthodox Fasting in a Postsecular Society: The Case of Contemporary Russia

Department of Political Science, Financial University under the Government of Russia, Leningradsky Ave, 49, 125167 Moscow, Russia
Department of International Relations and Area Studies, Russian State University for the Humanities, Miusskaya Ploshchad, 6к6, 125047 Moscow, Russia
Department of Religion Studies, Orthodox Institute of St John the Divine, Ul. Akademika Vargi, 20, kv. 28, 117133 Moscow, Russia
Received: 3 August 2018 / Revised: 30 August 2018 / Accepted: 5 September 2018 / Published: 7 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Food in Global and Historical Perspective )
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The article deals with the revival of fasting in Russia after a long period of its nearly full neglect. On the basis of electronic sources, such as web forums, question-and-answer services, streaming video channels, and other publications the author shows how the clergy and the laity together discuss, collectively test and evaluate diverse fasting practices. The discourse on fasting practices in Russia is polyphonic and highly personalized; even the clergy has no single authoritative position. It remains unclear, who should be responsible for fasting mitigation in case of illness, pregnancy, or other circumstances; people are exposed to many different opinions, what results in confusion and anxiety. The article shows that contemporary believers—including the clergy—are not ready to follow tradition blindly. The discussants are roughly divided into two groups: those supporting traditional rules (fasting from animal products), and those inventing their own practices (fasting from sweets, or switching to cheaper foods). Both groups are interested in rational, mundane arguments in support of their choice: the traditionalists emphasize that fasting from meat is “healthy”, or that Lenten food is “tastier”; their opponents point out that fish and seafood are more expensive than dairy products and poultry; therefore, no money can be saved for the destitute. View Full-Text
Keywords: Orthodox fast; fasting practices; Great Lent; new parishioners Orthodox fast; fasting practices; Great Lent; new parishioners

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Mitrofanova, A. Orthodox Fasting in a Postsecular Society: The Case of Contemporary Russia. Religions 2018, 9, 267.

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