Moscow, December 7, 2016
Orthodox faithful of the village of Bogolyubovo, in the Vladimir region, gathered on Sunday, December 4 in front of their local government building to prayerfully voice their opposition to the planned construction of a condom factory near their beloved Bogolyubsky Monastery, reports the site Pro Vladimir.
The gathered crowd sang hymns, including the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and troparia and kontakia to the Theotokos, and carried signs bearing slogans such as “No condom manufacturing on a holy site,” “Mother of God, save us from desecration!” and “Vladimir is not Sodom, and Bogolyubov is not Gomorrah!”
The village is considered the place of repose of the twelfth-century Russian prince St. Andrew Bogolyubsky and the cradle of Russian statehood, and locals are concerned for the holy site’s continuing legacy. At a Nov. 24 meeting between the protesters and representatives of Bergus, the firm building the factory, one attendee stated, “Purity is the instrument against ugly diseases. From Bogolyubov, we should spread purity and holiness!” drawing on the Orthodox Church’s historical teaching against contraception.
Protestors are also concerned that the name of the village, which roughly translates to “God lovers” will appear on the packaging of the condoms, thus tarnishing the good name of their hometown, and of God Himself. AIDS and other diseases, they believe, are not best fought with condoms, but with “faith in God, prayer, chastity, and repentance of sins.” Believers are also upset because the factory is also to be built within the vicinity of the village’s monastery, and a school.
The firm has been surprised that the protesters were not more excited by the prospect of job creation and increased tax revenue. Tatyana Fadeyeva, one of the leading activists responded, “Then let's make a candy factory, let's make a factory for souvenirs, toys… Let's do something that is spiritually good or good for our children.”
The Church has remained neutral on the specific issue, hoping it will be resolved locally.