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Academic Periodical

The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute

Problem of Superstitious Beliefs Among Parishioners and Ways of Dispelling Them in the Process of Catechesis. Reflections of a Catechist Based on Practical Experience

Vladimir Yakuntsev
pp. 25–36
The author analyses his long-term personal experience of providing catechetical instruction to the baptised and defines its main and most complex problem, i. e. superstitious beliefs among modern christened people. The article confirms that catechesis of previously baptised people requires the catechist to have a special focus not merely on firmly establishing the Orthodox faith but on standing against specific superstitions. The article examines the nature of superstitions and the distinction between superstitions and heresies. The focus is on the most common superstitious belief that sacraments are efficacious ex opere operato. This superstition encourages a particular kind of pietism characterised by a false hope of salvation. The holders of this superstitious belief have been nicknamed ‘zahozhane’ (‘drop-in Christians’). The author briefly reviews ways of overcoming the power of superstitions through revival of comprehensive patristic catechetical instruction for people prior to their baptism.
Keywords: catechesis, tradition, superstition, heresy, drop-in Christians.

Last IssueIssue 44 (autumn 2022)

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