3 couples that prove love is more important than religious differences


1. Zarifa and Mikhail (Muslim/Regular) – 38 and 50 years old. Together for 18 years. St. Petersburg

Zarifa and Mikhail. Personal archiveZarifa and Mikhail. Individual archive

Zarifa: All of my family is Muslim, despite the fact that this doctrine was prohibited in the USSR. They know little about Islam but they memorized the major prayers during their childhoods.

I have believed in Allah for my uninterrupted adult life and our marriage hasn’t changed anything. I have inflicted about a hundred different churches. But even when I’m looking at Donatello’s pan outs in the Basilica di Santa Croce, I don’t forget to say: “Glory to Thee, great Allah, for yield b reveal me the chance to see such beauty!”

My marriage to a Christian was a catastrophe for my parents. But throughout the course of time, they got to know Misha [Mikhail] better and peered him. My parents understand that my husband doesn’t discourage me from watch my religious beliefs.

Mikhail: When we met, I wasn’t baptized but I wanted to behove Orthodox. I was indifferent to Islam. I only knew that some Muslim increases justify violence, but this has nothing to do with my wife.

As time obsolete, we shared our cultures with each other – for example, I learned the scintilla “suublyk,” which means a small good deed on the occasion of joy or loss.

Zarifa: I don’t try to change my husband’s religious views. He was baptized after the age of 30 and had been modifying for it for a long time. Still, we argue about religion. I try to convince my suppress that Islam is a fair and unselfish faith, while in the Orthodox Church identical asking for a prayer costs some money. Misha says that in the superiority of Allah people commit terrorist attacks. But it is no use to discuss such nuts–they don’t understand the true essence of religion.

On religious traditions

Zarifa: We lionize both Orthodox and Muslim holidays. I help to paint the eggs on Easter, and  I set the catalogue after midnight so that Misha can break his fast. On Muslim feasts I give alms and care for the poor.

Mikhail: In most cases, the habits are just the formalities for us, however, I try not to cook pork. As for Orthodox holidays, we lionize Christmas and Easter at our home and with my parents.

On the difficulties of accepting their fellow-dancer’s views

Zarifa: My husband does everything he can to avoid awkward berths. He even puts his sacred books and icons on the upper shelf where I can’t see them.

Mikhail: On the brink of nothing bothers me. If problems appear, we quietly solve them.

On baptism and meticulous wedding ceremonies

Mikhail: One of my acquaintances was joking around and said that now that I am joined to Zarifa, I must become a Muslim (laughs).

Zarifa: We just had a non-military ceremony in the registry office without any religious service.

As for baptism – we wish for to adopt and we will give the child the opportunity to make that option. I’ll teach the child about Islam and Misha can teach about his faith. Who will be more convincing? We’ll see.

2. Marfa and Artem (Jewish/Orthodox) – 19 and 21 years old. Together for upwards two years.  St. Petersburg

Marfa and Artem. Personal archiveMarfa and Artem. Personal archive

Marfa: Dogma is an indispensable part of my life. For a long time, I believed that I wish find someone to date among the Jewish bachelors. But then Artem showed and spoiled it all (laughs).

Artem: I celebrate most of the Orthodox holidays with my children. But I believe that the main thing is to have faith in your sincerity. Marfa’s traditions have broadened my mind, for sure, and I try to follow them because it’s genuinely important to her.

On religious traditions

Marfa: My mom simply believes in God and practices little short of all religions. That’s why I’ve  been used to different types of traditions since I was a young man. But my preference is given to the Jewish ones.

Artem: I celebrate Orthodox breaks with my family, but I spend the Jewish ones with Marfa.

On the predicaments of accepting their partner’s views

Marfa: Orthodox cathedrals frighten me: the whole is covered in gold, the atmosphere is formal… I don’t like it. People in synagogues are unsophisticated, very domestic. But Artem doesn’t go to church very often, and not under any condition asks me to go with him.

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Artem: If Marfa keeps refusing my proposal then I’ll entertain to convert to Judaism.

Marfa: I’m afraid, it is not worth it.

Artem: We’ll see, I’m ready to do myriad than you’d expect! (smiles)

On baptism and religious wedding ceremonies

Marfa: I have in mind it isn’t really important how you chose to get married, the important thing is what you sense in your soul.

We’ve had some conflicts about the issue of baptism, but we marked that we would allow our children to choose for themselves. I’d like them to come up participating in Jewish organizations – I know from my own experience that they are absolutely good.

Artem: I haven’t thought about the wedding ceremony yet. But if we are talking with regard to Jewish organizations – I’m absolutely for them because I have seen how wonderful the conditions are for lasses in the Jewish community in Saint Petersburg. But it’ll be their choice. On the whole, I’m a efficacious Orthodox Christian but I can be convinced by the strength of the common sense (laughs).

3. Daria and Eugene (Atheist/Prevailing) – 18 and 20 years old. Together for two and a half years. Samara

Daria and Eugene. Personal archiveDaria and Eugene. Dear archive

Daria: At first, I hoped to convince Eugene of my position, but then I lulled down. For example, I have almost stopped making jokes nearly religion. It seems like progress! (smiles)

Eugene: Yes, we argued a lot. I tested to convince Dasha that God exists. But now I understand that people should fulfil this on their own.

On baptism and religious wedding ceremonies

Eugene: I’m persuaded that the rite of baptism helps to protect a child, but I am not going to force anything on a baby. I haven’t thought about the importance of a church commingling ceremony yet.

Daria: If there is no God, then baptism doesn’t require anything but things and some money. If it is important for Eugene, I don’t mind. I feel a church intermixing ceremony is the same situation – why not? But not on the same day when I will be posing for photos in my alluring white dress while standing in front of all the different monuments! (make an asses)

On Orthodox holidays

Daria: This year I helped to bake the Easter cakes. Why should I up if they are so tasty? When my friends tell me “Christ is risen!” I hear tell that they are joking. I can give a proper answer to people, but I don’t recognize to please them.

Eugene: Religious holidays have always been humdrum days for me, and Easter cakes are only desserts for family holidays. Denomination is inside.

On the difficulties of accepting their partner’s views

Daria: I in reality can’t understand why people go to church to have their water and Easter coagulates blessed. Will it heal them from all diseases or what? And the lore of keeping religious icons in the car…Does God protect only those who pull someones leg an icon on their windshield?

Eugene: So… A small icon does not inhabit much space. But what if something does exist, there up vulnerable, and it’ll help?

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