Analogy In Sermons Of Patriarch Of Moscow And All Russia Kirill


The article is devoted to the linguistic analysis of analogy as a means of argumentation in religious discourse. As a research material, the sermons of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill have been chosen The focus is on analogy as a method of linguistic-creative activity of the confessional linguistic personality and as a means of text formation and structuring, which is used to explain the Christian dogma. The purpose of the study is to identify the features of the use of analogy in the process of argumentation in the disclosure of religious truths in the preaching texts of Patriarch Kirill. The use of analogy is analyzed as a means of argumentation, in which the author introduces one or more speakers precedent for the religious community. Thus, he creates a polyphonic text, which has a high pragmatic potential. In addition, the analogy serves as the basis for creating the text of the speech itself, defining its specifics. The sermon has a similar structure to the parable and is built on the basis of a comparison sign (tertium comparationis), marking the process of analogy in the religious consciousness. Tertium comparationis allows to contrast religious values ​​with the values ​​of modern society and declare a negative attitude towards moral values, to appeal for faith and preservation of religious morality. The linguistic markers of the analogy in the sermons of Patriarch Kirill are detailed metaphors, comparisons, oppositions and precedent phenomena.

Keywords: Discourseconfessional linguistic personalitysermonanalogy


Religion, as a part of human life and one of the main values of culture, is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. It is designed to determine the moral guidelines according to which members of the society build their relationships, form their own opinions, and evaluate the partners in communication in the process of discursive activity. Vladimir I. Karasik states that the purpose of religious discourse is to join faith in a certain confession through the disclosure of religious values. Confessional values include the values of faith, such as the recognition of God, the understanding of sin and virtue, the salvation of the soul, the feeling of miracle, the observance of rites (Karasik, 2004).

The peculiarity of religious discourse consists in the open affirmation of values that are expressed in the form of allegories and parables, as well as in the narration, when the logic of the plot is a factor of persuasion. The precedent texts of religious discourse contain a large number of proposals in the imperative mood. And since the religious discourse is canonical, the structure of the text of the Holy Scripture and its narrative style are transferred to secondary texts and reflect the striving to achieve accuracy in definitions in status-oriented communication, when agents of religious discourse pursue discursive goals, disclose values, interpret texts and explain the behavior.

Problem Statement

The paper focuses on the modern Christian sermon. A sermon is a public speech of a preacher in a worship service directly in the temple or indirectly through the media, addressed to clients of religious discourse and containing an explanation of the doctrines, a commentary on the Holy Scripture, recommendations for appropriate behavior. The choice of the Christian sermon as a research material is explained by the fact that this is one of the most open genres of religious discourse, in which both traditional Christian and individual occasional narrative techniques are combined to reveal the general idea and details in the communicative activity of a confessional linguistic personality (Salakhova, 2017).

Research Questions

As a part of the study this article is devoted to the analysis of the confessional linguistic personality of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. The study of the communication process of an individual confessional linguistic personality makes it possible to find both common and personal verbal markers of religious discourse. The aim of this study is to analyze the process of analogy and its verbal markers in the speech of Patriarch Kirill. Thus, the study materials include the texts of the sermons of the period of 2017-2018 posted on the Internet on the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church The subject of the study is the functioning of the analogy in the sermons of Patriarch Kirill. And it was chosen not accidentally.

The analogy is one of the most expressive means of rhetorical influence, and it is also an indicator of the linguistic activity of the linguistic personality (The Process of Analogy in Lingvo-Creative Activity of the Language Personality, 2017). In the process of the linguistic analysis, a number of characteristic features of the application of the analogy in his speeches have been revealed. More than 10 sermons of 2017-2018 have been studied, totalling to about 20 pages.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to analyze the peculiarities of implication of analogy in the sermons of Patriarch Kirill and to recognize consistent patterns of using analogy and analogical argumentation in Russian religious discourse.

Research Methods

In the study some linguistic methods have been used to identify the function and structure of argumentation in religious discourse. The main research method is discourse analysis (DA), which is a set of methods of studying the text and context, as well as the conversation and the society. This definition of DA is introduced by Teun van Dijk, who underlines the importance of discursive or textual analysis. The method is also described in Makarov’s work “Fundamentals of Discourse Theory” (Makarov, Mikhail, 2003). In the cases of analyzing of precedent phenomena the DA is implicated in the study.

In some cases, to analyze some aspects of the research the content analysis and the method of linguistic-stylistic interpretation have been used. The method of linguistic-stylistic interpretation is implicated for finding and interpreting the rhetoric figures, used in the sermons of Patriarch Kirill. Such phenomena as metaphor and comparison were described as verbal markers of analogy. The context analysis makes it possible to measure the power of pragmatic influence of some rhetorical means used by Patriarch Kirill in his sermons. It also helps to analyze the process of argumentation and analogy as one of its means, as well as to analyze the structure of the sermon based on analogy and to describe the tertium comparationis which is used as base of text creation.


In their speeches, preachers often construct polyphonic texts, introducing additional interlocutors in their stories and weaving their words into the structure of their text. Those interlocutors are represented by authoritative persons. First of all, these are religious authorities: God, Jesus, the apostles, the disciples of Jesus, the saints, venerated by the church, the individuals, who are precedent for the religious society. In addition, the preachers appeal to the personalities (writers, poets, scientists, political and cultural figures, etc.) that are relevant to the entire linguistic cultural community. It should be noted that Patriarch Kirill also actively uses this argumentation, appealing to God, Jesus, Saint John Chrysostom, St. Seraphim of Sarov, the author of the explanatory dictionary Vladimir I. Dal and others. As a rule, the words of the interlocutor are formed as a quote. For example, the Monk Seraphim of Sarov, one of the most revered saints not only in the Russian Orthodox Church, but throughout the Orthodox world, in his famous talk "On the Purpose of the Christian Life" says that "prayer, fasting, vigil and all other Christian activities, no matter how good they are in themselves, but it is not only in making them that the goal of our Christian life consists" (Kirill, 2017 b). In this example, the author introduces the words of Seraphim of Sarov as a direct quote with an indication of the latter, while noting the special significance of the Saint for the religious community. The speaker draws an analogy between his opinion and the opinion of an individual precedent for the Orthodox society, pointing to the truth of his words and encouraging listeners to follow his opinion.

In some cases, the inclusion of the words of another interlocutor in the speech is achieved through the use of an indirect quote, or without reference to the author of the utterance. As a rule, in the first case, the speaker either cuts, or unfolds the quotation, passing it in his own words. In this case, the quote is accompanied by the markers of someone else's speech, "The Savior / apostle speaks / teaches," "the apostle described," "as the proverb says," "Dal ... connects ..., repeating ..." and others. However, preachers very often include in their speech the words of others without reference to authorship. This happens when precedent statements, quotes from the Bible, which are known to the entire religious community, are used. Proceeding from the economy of linguistic means, the authors of preaching texts exclude references to authoritative statements from their texts. For example, Patriarch Kirill says: "The visible action of the Holy Spirit on man is not accidentally described as light. The face of the prophet Moses shone after a conversation with God (Exodus 34:35); the light shone on persecutor Saul when Christ appeared to him to turn him from a false path and call to apostolate (Acts 9: 3); the face of the Monk Seraphim shone, according to the testimony of a contemporary, during his conversation about the Holy Spirit. This light cannot be hidden, it shines before people (Matthew 5:16), and the person illuminated by him brings this light to others - by his deeds and his very life " (Kirill, 2017 b). In the text posted on the official website of the ROC, the places in the Bible quoted by the speaker at the time of the utterance are shown. However, during the sermon, Patriarch Kirill did not specify sources of quotation, suggesting that the listeners are familiar with the texts cited by him.

The use of analogy is manifested not only in quoting the words of authoritative personalities, but also in building the text of the sermon. As the linguistic analysis shows, Patriarch Cyril in his sermons uses the analogy in explaining religious values, comparing different points of view, different views on a particular social problem or a social phenomenon. For example, referring to such concepts as "honesty" and "conscience", the author considers secular and religious understanding of these concepts. Beginning with the definition given in Dal's dictionary, the author reveals the point of divergence between secular and religious position. Reflecting on the correlation of the notions of honor and dignity, the preacher observes: "But in a secular view of human dignity there is nothing that would connect dignity or honor with conscience. In other words, there is no internal connection between moral nature, moral law and human dignity, and, therefore, there is no responsibility" (Kirill, 2017 d). Comparing the philosophical and religious points of view on the definition of dignity, Patriarch Kirill concludes that "nothing is required of him, he by nature has both dignity and rights" regardless of conscience, i.e. honor. Thus, the author reveals the opposition "honor and dignity with a clear conscience" and "honor and dignity without a clean conscience." So, the speaker points to the inconsistency of views, and, consequently, of behavior of modern society, which allows to be both good and bad (doing actions not according to conscience). Furthermore, Patriarch Cyril draws an analogy between the words of the apostle Paul and Vladimir I. Dal, noting that they understood honor equally, and proving the truth of their words and the faithfulness of the religious view on the notion of honor.

Most often, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill uses the reception of analogy in his sermons to compare the situation in modern society with the situations in the past. For example, in a sermon on the feast of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God of November 4, 2017, the preacher conducts an analogy between the period of the Russo-Polish war, the October Revolution and modernity. At the same time, the moral state and strength of Siberia and its population, which, in the opinion of the Patriarch, ensures the stability of the whole country, serves as a sign of comparison (the term of A. Jülicher) , which is the basis of the analogy. So, the author says: "And how does this kindness and life according to the law of conscience differ from the life of many people involved in the whirlwind of modern technocratic civilization! I very much hope that the intensive development of Yakutia, which takes place now, will not entail a violation of the natural purity of the spirit of the Yakut people" (Jülicher, 1910). This example shows the result of the analogy between the religious people who live "according to the law of conscience" and the unbelievers who live according to the principles of the technocratic civilization and "plunging themselves into the abyss of suffering", "suffering from their sins", "losing their life guidelines," "forgetting moral principles".

Another example of the use of the analogy comparing the situation in the past and the current state of society may be the sermon of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on the day of the memory of the holy pious princes Daniil Moskovsky and Alexander Nevsky from September 12, 2017. In this sermon the Patriarch reflects on the model of a statesman. At the same time, he draws an analogy between Prince Daniel of Moscow and modern state officials. Prince Daniel of Moscow is "a wise, successful political leader, and a devoted monk dedicated to the whole of his inner life acquiring the Holy Spirit" (Kirill, 2017 a). The sign of comparison in this analogy is "the acquisition of the Kingdom of God," which allows one to be a true Christian and a good politician. In addition to the image of Daniel Moskovsky, the preacher compares contemporary political and religious leaders who have power with Admiral Fyodor Ushakov, who "combined personal sanctity, humility with heroism, and the wisdom of the commander" (Kirill, 2017 a). Thus, Patriarch Kirill concludes that two incompatible realities can be combined, and he encourages secular and religious officials to set priorities straight and correctly.


So, in the course of the linguistic analysis of the use of analogy in the sermons of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, we came to the following conclusions. The reception of analogy is used by the author in each of his speeches. The analogy in the sermons of Patriarch Kirill carries out the function of text formation. It is the basis of the entire preacher's speech. For most, the main goal of Patriarch Kirill's speech is the edification of listeners. These sermons are based on analogy through the disclosure of the meaning of the abstract through particular situations, events or phenomena more accessible to an understanding of modern man, juxtaposition of life, thoughts, points of view, actions of modern people far from religion, either opposing themselves, and religious people, living according to the Christian commandments. In the course of the speech, the listeners identify themselves with the persons portrayed by the preacher, evaluate their actions, check their behavior, which corresponds to the tasks of religious communication and explains the use of analogy in the sermon that fulfills the text-forming function.

In his sermon, Patriarch Kirill applies analogy in the form of quoting of precedent texts to reach its goal and form a certain pattern of behavior among listeners, thus, creating a polyphonic structure, increasing the reliability of judgments, strengthening argumentation, and the pragmatic function of preaching is fulfilled.


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30 April 2018

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

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Salakhova, A. G., & Komissarova, N. V. (2018). Analogy In Sermons Of Patriarch Of Moscow And All Russia Kirill. In & I. V. Denisova (Ed.), Word, Utterance, Text: Cognitive, Pragmatic and Cultural Aspects, vol 39. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 286-291). Future Academy.