At the end of last year, 120 Orthodox Christians in the village of Bogolyubovo (a name which means “lovers of God”) gathered to protest against a plan to turn an abandoned brick factory into a condom manufacturing plant.
According to this report, demonstrators prayed, holding icons, a large cross, and signs that said, “No condom manufacturing on a holy site!” and “Mother of God, save us from desecration!”
Protesters were especially offended at the location of the factory near a monastery and a school.
But supportive local officials insisted that the factory would create 200 jobs and would replace imported goods with a domestic product, and Pavel Spichakov, of Bergus, the company that owns the proposed factory, said:
I thought they would support the creation of jobs and tax revenue for the village.
Bergus agreed to meet with concerned citizens but was told at the meeting:
Purity is the instrument against ugly diseases. From Bogolyubovo, we should spread purity and holiness!
Opposition increased, and it been reported now that Spichakov has backed away from condoms.
At the meeting with locals the businessman was accused of being the destroyer of human life – because condoms are male “abortions”.
“It’s abortion, it’s abortion,” said one protester above the general din. Spichakov replied:
What are you talking about? What kind of abortion is this?
Our population is declining. It’s a male abortion. Condoms are male abortions.
The ringleader of the Bogolyubobo uprising, Tatyana Borovikova, said:
If there is a clean well somewhere, you can’t put a toilet next it because it will desecrate the water, you won’t be able to drink it. It’s the same with religion.
So Spichakov scrapped his condom-making plan. Instead, said he would make make bandages and nappies. Church members still are not happy. They claimed that nappies cause impotency in boys.
While some people in Russia are marching in favour of the Russian Orthodox Church, there have been dozens of demonstrations where participants rail against its growing influence.
In St Petersburg, thousands have gathered in the centre to protest against a decision by the local authorities to hand back the city’s grandiose cathedral, St Isaac’s, to the Church.
Likewise, in northeast Moscow, angry residents have been protesting against plans to construct a new chapel in their local park. Every Sunday afternoon in sun, wind or blinding snow, they gather around a chain link fence and make their views known, while believers conduct an ad-hoc service on the inside.
By taking on the Orthodox Church, these demonstrators are taking a risk. Twelve of them had their homes stormed by riot police recently in an operation that was broadcast on national television under the headline: “Raid on the Neo-Pagans.”
What’s more, their chances of success are slim because church leaders have the backing of Vladimir Putin and in present-day Russia, the Church says that non-believers have to step aside.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn