Tocheva, “Crafting Ethics”

November 22, 2011

Tocheva, Detelina. 2011. Crafting Ethics: The Dilemma of Almsgiving in Russian Orthodox Churches. Anthropological Quarterly 84(4): 1011-1034.

Abstract: With the liberalization of religious practices after the fall of the Soviet regime in Russia, almsgiving to beggars in Russian Orthodox churches has become one of the most widespread forms of Orthodox charity. However, the priests are faced with an ethical dilemma: should they be charitable with beggars or should they sanction those who do not live according to certain moral standards? This article examines how Orthodox priests interact with different groups of beggars and how they create ethical ways of acting. It proposes that contemporary Russian Orthodox ethics are multi-referential, anchored in historicity, relatedness, interaction, and creative reasoning.

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