The belated Anti-Valentine post

H/T: The Moscow News (here).

Down with love? The Russian anti-Valentine backlash

The Russian Orthodox church has long been concerned about the growing popularity of Valentine’s Day, and in particular its promotion of “irresponsibility”. Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society, warned that romanticizing love outside of marriage could only “lead to trouble”, and backed the recent decision of authorities in Belgorod to ban official events for the holiday. “Unfortunately the spiritual basis of this holiday implies irresponsibility,” Chaplin told The Moscow News. “Love should be linked to family and faithfulness. This is why the Russian Orthodox Church supports the day of family love and faithfulness [on July 8].” And elsewhere in Russia church members are planning a “Valentine, farewell” event in protest at what they see as a debased commercial ritual which carries the name of a Christian saint but offers little of the true spirit of the martyred Valentine.

Readers’ thoughts

Many Moscow News readers sympathized with the anti-Valentine lobby, though for most it was a question of commercialism more than spiritualism. And some felt it was another blow to the preservation of Russia’s traditions in a more global world.

What about Ivan Kupala?

“It’s not a real holiday. If you’re in a relationship every day is the day for your love, so why make such a fuss? “It’s nothing more than a clever commercial strategy, and it doesn’t fit into Russian culture. We have our own traditional holidays, but so few people celebrate Ivan Kupala’s day, for example. “We keep forgetting where we came from and who we are.” Tatiana Sukhoparova

Leave it to the Americans

“I’ve never celebrated it as it’s not a real holiday in Russia. It’s America, so I don’t think of it as my own. Let Americans celebrate it, not us!” Anna Bogoslovskaya


“It is an insult to my intelligence, just another big marketing tool designed by people who want us to spend more money. “There is nothing to it besides money, and it is not because I am bitter about love – I am happily married and both my husband and I detest Feb. 14.” Victoria Nazarenko

What’s the point?

“I don’t think this is a proper holiday and I don’t understand what it’s all about. What is it really for, anyway?” Dmitry Chaykovsky

Schoolboy error

“It’s popular, but I don’t really like it. It’s unpleasant when you have to meet someone’s expectations and be obliged to do something. “Then there is all the marketing and bustle around it, and crowds of people everywhere. “It was interesting when we were at school, but not now.” Igor Samoilov

Chocs away!

“Among my friends we call it Day of Sex for Chocolate. It’s a cheesy holiday.” Alexei Seleznyov

Under pressure

“I don’t like it. Not in Russia, not anywhere else. On its eve it always feels like you have to give a report to someone – on what you achieved and how does your life go. Like some English newspaper wrote, you can’t even be upset or angry on the day, because if you’re single, everyone will pity you for being miserable, and if you date someone, everyone will think you had a fight. Silly holiday when you are not allowed to have free will or emotions.” Natalia Sokolova

2 thoughts on “The belated Anti-Valentine post

  1. These sentiments march arm-in-arm with the Jehovah Witnesses as they trample opportunities for Joy. The ancient rigorists, like Tertullian (whom I still love in the Truth) would be glad, as are all the Orthodox fundamentalists of Russia and the world!

    I don’t currently observe Valentine’s day myself, the commercialism surrounding this ‘holiday’ doesn’t faze me any more than the commercialism that surrounds other fabricated and authentic holidays, but like everything else in the world, it is an opportunity for what is real and authentic to show itself. I have seen and experienced countless examples of goodness and virtue expressed by means of this ‘holiday’, while hardly noticing (in fact never noticing) any examples of the opposite.

    When I was a little boy, the excitement of making little gifts (assisted by my very loving Mom), even if they were cardboard cutouts and candy, to my friends and surprising them was a sparkle in the otherwise boring life of childhood. Boring? Yes, in my case, I was in a hurry to grow up, but things like Valentine’s Day yanked me back to that childlikeness that I now think Christ wanted us to have, when He says, “Suffer the little children to come to Me, for to such as they belongs the Kingdom of God.”

  2. Right on with the Russians! Let’s abolish Valentine’s Day for good. Then there will be no pressure on anyone to express one’s love on a particular day when it should naturally be expressed on any given day and everyday.

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