Religiosity paradox: where do believers come from?




religious supply in Russia, Russian Orthodox Church, religiosity, priest, religious involvement


The article provides an explanation of the main paradox of the Russian Orthodox Christian religiosity. This paradox concerns the quantitative gap between people who identify themselves as Orthodox Christians (69 %) and those who practice the religion (3 %). The problem is considered based on the data of the author’s empirical study of confession practices. The data were gathered across 50 Moscow parishes on April 9th and 10th, 2016. In addition, interviews with priests and bishops were carried out.The religiosity paradox is explained through the concept of «model of religious supply» developed by the author. This conceptual model is applied to analyze the time behavior in the interaction between a priest and a laic. The model application results allow us to see the religious processes in contemporary Russia from another perspective.By calculating the time that the priest spends on general communication with the parishioner and the time spent on the confession itself, the author describes the specifics of the relationship between religious supply and religious demand on Russian religious market. The article explores the time quantification and the measurement of time slots available for confession and personal communication between the priest and the parishioner. The core idea of the article is that the Russian religious supply is restricted.Thus, the author argues that the Russian religiosity specifics is not limited to secularization aspects. The reliability of quantitative assessments is analyzed through expert interviews. The author’s hypothesis states that there is a substantial increase in the share of believers who take communion «several times per year but rarer than once per month» resulted from the Russian religious supply peculiarities.