Article Information


Tatiana Krikhtova (

St. Tikhon Orthodox University, Moscow, Russia

Citation: Litvintsev D. (2020) Religioznaya sostavlyayushchaya vnemeditsinskoy instrumentalizatsii reproduktsii: Zachat'yevskiy monastyr' v narrativakh pol'zovatel'nits roditel'skogo foruma «Bebiblog» [The religious component of non-medical instrumentalization of reproduction: the Zachatyevskiy Monastery in narratives of users of the “Babyblog” parent forum]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 23(1): 198–222 (in Russian).

Abstract. Reproductive medicine today is available to a large number of people. The women who became mothers with the help of special medical procedures want to reflect on their situation and “appropriate” a child who did not appear “naturally”. They use for such reflection the language of the religion they belong to. The article makes the first attempt to describe such a reflection among women belonging to the Orthodox Church. In this article the practices related to the Zachatyevsky Monastery in Moscow are described. The author analyzes narratives of one of the largest Russian-speaking parental forums — the Babyblog as well as the results of her field observation in the monastery. Among women with reproductive problems an instrumentalization of reproduction is formed — the process of creating new non-medical practices that can contribute to conception. This tradition does not deny either medicine or religion but gives them extra power through magical rituals and emotional support of each other. In this case women become the main authorities on reproduction for each other and active participants in the process of overcoming infertility. The instrumentalization of reproduction often implies places, symbols, and rituals associated with Orthodoxy. This creates an implicit theology of motherhood — a comprehension of Christianity which is clearly understood by all participants. The main actors here are women and they are the main recipients of the divine.

Keywords: reproductive health, Orthodoxy, monastery, Internet research, rituals, communities. 


The study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project no. 18-78-10089).


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