The article is part of a multidisciplinary research project «Analysis of the Time-Budget and Types of Activities of Priests». The idea of the whole research was to study everyday life of modern Orthodox priests using methods of anthropological field research: participant observation, counting of time budget, and interviews. Using this information, the authors tried to describe the place of an Orthodox priest in modern Russia. The research includes observation of 25 priests from different regions of Russia.
This article particularly tells about two practices of priest’s work: pastoral care (that usually means talks with parishioners to help them in their spiritual life) and officiation (that means not a service in the church, but private rituals, such as wedding, burial, house consecration, etc.). There are a lot of discussions and different opinions on the contradictions between these two actions in the life of modern orthodox priest. The main idea of the official position of the Orthodox Church is that post-soviet priests do not want to talk with people and lead them; most of the priests make rituals just for profit.
The main purpose of this article is to show that modern Orthodox priests in their real life do not make a distinction between the two practices. For example, some of them consider officiation as an opportunity for talking with people and inviting them to the church.
The authors of the article have counted the time for both practices and compared it with representations of priests and situation in their parishes. This analysis shows that situation in a particular church influences a priest’s work more than his own willing, so most of Orthodox priests even have no choice what to do: to care, or to officiate.
Key words: priests, researches of clergy, sociology of religion, pastoral theology, pastoral work, pastoral care, officiation, time budget
About the author
Tatiana M. Krihtova – Master of Anthropology, Laboratory Assistant at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University;
Kirill V. Aleksin – Master of Theology, Research Associate at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University;