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Bar owner fined for serving ‘blood of Jesus’

A Russian court has ruled that the Christian-themed menu of the establishment was “offensive”

A St. Petersburg court has fined a woman for operating a bar that used images of Jesus Christ and other Christian iconography to sell drinks, the spokeswoman for the city’s judiciary, Darya Lebedeva, has said. At least one person filed a police report, complaining that interior design and the menu of the bar S’aint had offended his religious beliefs.

According to Lebedeva, the bar’s owner, Sophie Noskova-Avramovich pleaded guilty to violating Article 148 of the Russian Criminal Code, which criminalizes “offenses against religious beliefs.” She has been fined 30,000 rubles ($342).

Lebedeva wrote on Telegram that the bar’s design incorporated Christian symbols, including a large pink neon cross, as well as “elements of non-religious and anti-religious aesthetics aimed at emphasizing the philosophy of hedonism and relativism that is unacceptable from a Christian standpoint.”

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She noted that the defendant had created the bar’s menu and used “Chrsitian symbols and icons, images of Virgin Mary, the Holy Grail, Jesus Christ on the cross, and the symbols of the Holy Communion to advertise alcoholic beverages.” Noskova-Avramovich had demonstrated “explicit contempt for society” and offended “religious feelings” of the patrons, Lebedeva said.

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According to the online catalogue Restoclub, the bar with “Medieval aesthetics” was inspired by Paolo Sorrentino’s TV show The Young Pope, where actor Jude Law portrays fictional Pope Pius XIII. The cocktails served there included ‘The Blood of Jesus,’ ‘The Sorrow of Madonna,’ ‘Personal Jesus’, ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘Judas’ Kiss’.

Conservative activists first complained about the bar in late January. The management defended its stylistic choices at the time, arguing that The Young Pope is not banned in Russia. “Our idea is based on using Catholic symbols to get the younger generation interested in the holy values. We are not hurting religious values in any way, we are not insulting the image of Christ and not worshiping Satan,” the bar said in February.

June 26, 2024 at 10:14AM

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