Intentionality Of Orthodox Discourse On Material Of Instagram Blogs


The article analyzes the Orthodox discourse of the popular social network Instagram based on the intentional method. This method makes possible to perceive the text of blogs as a reflection of the author’s communicative intention. The analysis of Orthodox content on Instagram highlights public blogs, which are official pages of representatives of the highest hierarchy, synodal and diocesan departments, metropolises and dioceses, and personal blogs maintained by priests, bloggers, Orthodox activists, mothers. These blogs are used by the Russian Orthodox Church to implement the Christian mission, which has five forms: educational, apologetic, external, reconciling, informational. Each form represents the speech intention of bloggers, based on the postulates of the Christian mission. These postulates, based on the commandments of Christ, determine the macrointentionality of educational, apologetic, external, informational, reconciling discourses. The macrointentionality of accounts forms communicative intentions of bloggers, embodied in discourses intended for certain groups of users. It is the target audience and the communicative intention of the bloggers that form the multi-genre microintentionality of public and personal Orthodox blogs. The study shows that in public blogs there is more frequent news discourse reflecting the external, informational and apologetic mission of the Russian Orthodox Church; in personal blogs, the discourse is focused on the interpretive genre, which carries out the educational function of the Russian Orthodox Church. The main genre of representation of macro- and micro-intentionality is a sermon, which, due to the content format, takes transformed forms.

Keywords: Christian missioncommunicative intentionintentional methodmacrointentionalitymicrointentionalityorthodox discourse


According to the research company Mediaskope ([Electronic resource], , as of 2019, the number of Internet users in Russia amounted to 78 % of the total population of the country, that is, about 98 million people. One of the most popular social networks among the Russian population in 2019 was Instagram ([Electronic resource], . Despite its relatively young age, Instagram is popular all over the world, as evidenced by Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg: about 500 million users a day ([Electronic resource], view Instagram stories. Given the fact that the life of modern people is largely concentrated on social networks, His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill addressed those present at a meeting of the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on April 29, 2015, with the words: “If we do not want virtual reality has also become an atheized phenomenon, we will have to seriously think about how the Church today can be present in this world more efficiently, more reliably from the point of view of transmitting to the world and especially young people with our message. ([Electronic resource], ” Based on this appeal, the Russian Orthodox Church, represented by its preachers and missionaries, conducts pretty active work on the Internet, and in particular Instagram, in the format of various Orthodox discourses.

Problem Statement

The Orthodox discourse, understood by us as “... a coherent text in conjunction with extralinguistic – pragmatic, sociocultural, psychological and other factors; text taken in the event aspect; speech, considered as a targeted social action (Yartseva, 1990), has become commonplace in social networks.

Conventionally, Orthodox blogs on Instagram can be divided into 2 types: personal (clergy, mothers, Orthodox activists, etc.) and public (Orthodox online projects, magazines, official pages of representatives of the highest hierarchy, blogs of the synodal and diocesan departments, metropolises and dioceses, etc.).

The analysis of the Orthodox discourse was based on thematic materials of the social network Instagram, which is currently in demand by the social media audience and is actively used by the Russian Orthodox Church to implement the Christian mission: the official account of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill – «patriarchkirill» ([Electronic resource], ; projects «batyushkaonline» ([Electronic resource], , «matyshkaonline» ([Electronic resource], , etc. Blogs of priests and preachers, for example, Priest Nikolai Babkin ([Electronic resource], , are very popular; Priest Pavel Ostrovsky ([Electronic resource], ; Priest Andrei Dolgopolov ([Electronic resource], . Among the priests-bloggers there are representatives of the Yekaterinodar Metropolis, for example, priest Evgeny Podvysotsky ([Electronic resource], ; priest Konstantin Maltsev ([Electronic resource], and others.

Research Questions

Analyzing the Orthodox discourse, the authors tried to find out how the macrointentionality of blogs forms the communicative intentions of bloggers, embodied in microintentional discourses intended for certain groups of users.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to identify the intentions of the creation of Orthodox discourses by priests and bloggers, as well as to determine the authors’ speech intentions

Research Methods

The Orthodox discourse in the studied blogs was analyzed on the basis of the intentional method developed by the Doctor of Philological Sciences Klushina (2012). According to this method, intentionality is understood as the ability of the text to reflect the author’s communicative intention. According to linguists, intentionality in the media is a systemic education, which is determined by the traditions of use in a particular professional sphere of communication (Duskayeva & Tsvetova, 2012). The communicative intentions of public and personal blogs on Instagram are based on the concept of a Christian mission . Modern missiology distinguishes its five forms (Ginkel, 2010): educational mission aimed at teaching Christian fundamental principles; apologetic mission aimed at testifying to the truths of the Orthodox faith and at comparing them with non-Orthodox creeds; external mission understood as Christian witness among peoples, which do not have truly Christian foundations in their national culture; reconciling mission aimed at appealing to people to create peace at various levels of personal, family and social life; informational mission, which, according to the Concept of Missionary Activities of the Russian Orthodox Church , is considered as “the activity of spreading the Christian faith, as well as churching people to save them.” ([Electronic resource], . The listed forms of verbal intention of certain Orthodox blogs determine the macro-intensity of educational, apologetic, informational, reconciling discourses, for example: “A person should not allow others to “eat” themselves. A person should not be an object for manipulation. In general, a person should not agree that he is an object, that he is being used, that he is being humiliated, that he is constantly being terrorized. There is no humility in this. We must be able to stop this, to move away from these relations. Skillfully leave, with dignity, not embittered. We must be able to resist. This is something that, by and large, we do not know how. We immediately fall into hatred, confrontation, anger, enmity, war, but we have not yet learned how to resist in a good, in a good way, with dignity. This is a very important Christian science” – Archpriest Alexei Uminsky [pravoslavnayobitel] wrote; “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (John 4:16) – [biblelist]”; “Today is Forgiveness Sunday! Make peace with everyone and forgive everyone yourself to start Lent with a pure heart and kind thoughts. Devote the holy days of fasting to God and your soul ...” [matyshkaonline].


The chosen macrointentionality of blogs forms the communicative intentions of bloggers embodied in microintentional discourses intended for specific groups of users. Thus, the public blog [patriarchkirill], embodying primarily the informative and external mission of the Russian Orthodox Church, builds a discourse as news, for example: “Meeting of the Primate and delegation of the Local Orthodox Churches with King of Jordan Abdala II bin Al-Hussein, Feb. 26, 2020.” The text of the information is supplemented by a photo report. Blogs [matyshkaonline], [batyushkaonline], [pravoslavnayobitel] and others realize an educational function, therefore the discourse is oriented on teaching, edification, instruction: “Many people think that saints are far from us. But they are far from those who themselves have retired, and are very close to those who keep the commandments of Christ ... They hear our prayers, and our souls feel that they are praying for us,” the Monk Silouan of Athos [pravoslavnayobitel]; “Have a good weekend, dear people! Devote these days to God and your loved ones. Let the custom of going to church together become a good tradition of your family. Tomorrow, March, 1, is Shrove Sunday... Make peace with loved ones, ask for forgiveness if you have offended anyone, because living in peace and love with everyone with a pure and kind heart is the greatest happiness” [matyshkaonline].

The author of the intentional methodology for studying the media text, Klushina, names a number of text-forming categories that the author uses to create text: an ideologem as a way of approving given concepts, nomination, persuasion using assessment, naming as a stylistic-ideological category, stylistic tonality of the text (Klushina, 2008). The listed text categories help not only to “approximate” the text of a specific target audience, but also to expand it due to microintentionality.

The microintentionality of personal blogs is formed from the communicative intention of priests and bloggers to show subscribers the everyday real life of the parish and the priest in it, as well as the desire to answer the pressing questions of the flock. Therefore, the topics of personal Orthodox blogs are issues of homebuilding, family life, upbringing, relationships, etc.

Macro- and microintentionality of the blog are implemented in genres aimed at different target audiences. This may be a genre of representation of reality, telling about the events of a particular community and supported by a photo or video; a biographical genre that tells about the life and preaching of a revered saint; genre of interpretative sermon and others (Pavlovskaya, 2019). Since the target audience, due to incompetence, is not always ready to accept Orthodox texts, bloggers of public and personal accounts turn to the methods of “explanatory journalism” (Tyazhlov, 2016). In the Instagram Orthodox discourse, such methods include photos and videos, quotes from author’s sources, infographics, interpretation of bloggers, etc. However, the main genre and main form of the priest’s influence on listeners / readers, in which the macro- and microintentionality of the Orthodox discourse is manifested as in the temple, and on social networks, remains a sermon. But, given the format of Instagram content and the genre and stylistic features of media texts, priests-bloggers and leading sites are forced to transform the sermon genre, adapting it to certain conditions of the social network (Sakhno, 2017). At the same time, the sermon gets a broader meaning, turning into a preaching activity, which Burega, Archimandrite Simeon (Tomachinsky) considers a sermon (Burega, 2018). The transformation of the sermon also reflects the intentionality of the content per specific target group (Pavlovskaya, 2019).

According to Neupokoeva, intentionality is an extralinguistic factor that shapes the concept of the entire publication and determines its speech appearance (Neupokoeva, 2010). Speaking about Orthodox discourse, it can be argued that the macrointentionality of Orthodox accounts is determined by the commandments of Christ, which, in turn, form the verbal intention of bloggers and determine the microintentionality of these contents (Neupokoeva, 2010).


Thus, the macro- and microintentionality of Orthodox discourse reflects the desire of priests-bloggers, leading Orthodox accounts, to form the spiritual world of a person on the basis of Christian values ​​and in the spirit of the moral and ethical principles of Christianity. These attitudes are manifested in blogs through ideological concepts, understood as the most important ideas approved by the addressee in his discursive activity. Ideologems manifest themselves most clearly in ideologically determined statements, while these statements can have different communicative orientations (Zhuravlev, 2004).


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27 February 2021

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National interest, national identity, national security, public organizations, linguocultural identity, linguistic worldview

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Pavlovskaya, O. E., & Sakhno, O. S. (2021). Intentionality Of Orthodox Discourse On Material Of Instagram Blogs. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), National Interest, National Identity and National Security, vol 102. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 769-773). European Publisher.