Prilutskii Alexander; Lebedev Vladimir

Contemporary movement of priests who do not pray for the patriarch: an attempt of semiotic and religious analysis

Prilutskii Alexander, Lebedev Vladimir (2020) "Contemporary movement of priests who do not pray for the patriarch: an attempt of semiotic and religious analysis ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2020, vol. 88, pp. 103-120 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI202088.103-120


This article analyses from the perspective of semiotics and religious studies the milieu of the movement of “non-mentioning priests”, a fundamentalist movement in the present-day Orthodoxy, the adherents of which regard the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate and other canonic Orthodox local churches as “graceless”. The grounds for this are accusations of “Sergianism”, ecumenism, adoption of documents that contain biometrics, church modernism. The movement includes laity and clergy of the fi rst two ranks of priesthood. A semiotic marker of this movement is not pronouncing the patriarch’s and local bishop’s names during church service. The article is a fi rst attempt of studying the discourse of the non-mentioning; it draws on the content- and intention-analysis. The sources of the study are original texts and materials published by representatives of this movement in the Internet. The article shows that this movement should be regarded as the presentday Orthodox fundamentalism because its programme contains many elements of a typically fundamentalist agenda. Using a semiotic inventory, the followers of this movement generate complex semiotic fi ctions designed to prove the canonic character of the movement and the lawfulness of the relevant theological claims. In particular, the ideologists of this movement make use of references to historical precedents which are semioticised as symbols or metaphors. Consequently, there appear signs whose sphere of denotation is purposefully made extremely indefi nite. The article also analyses the semiotic drift in the relevant discourse, the extreme points of which are symbol and metaphor. Particular attention is paid to the analysis of exchatological myths, popular in the movement, and of their semiotic design. On semiotic level, the formation of an eschatological mythology is corresponded by the semiotic drift, the poles of which are the symbol and metaphor. Besides, the semiotic drift is an instrument of apologetics. Semiotic chains are also used; they allow one to place in the eschatological context those concepts and phenomena which are initially neutral in terms of eschatology. In its conclusion, the article discusses prospects of further development of the movement in question.


fundamentalism, modern Orthodoxy, semiotics of religion, semiotic fi ction, semiotic drift, anti-ecumenism, anti-globalism, religious persecution


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Information about the author

Prilutskii Alexander

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Student status: Graduate student;
Academic Rank: Professor;
Place of study: Russian State Pedagogical University; 48 Naberezhnaya reki Moiki, 191186, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation;
ORCID: 0000-0002-7013-9935;
Email: alpril@mail.ru.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.

Lebedev Vladimir

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Academic Rank: Associate Professor;
Place of work: Tver’ State University; 33 Zhelyabova Str., Tver’ 170100, Russian Federation;
ORCID: 0000-0003-4840-3135;
Email: Semion.religare@yandex.ru.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.