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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Bar owner fined for serving ‘blood of Jesus’

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

A St. Petersburg court has fined a bar owner for using images of Jesus Christ and other Christian iconography to sell drinks. At least one person filed a police report, complaining that the interior design and menu of the S’aint bar had offended his religious beliefs.

Sophie Noskova-Avramovich pleaded guilty to violating Article 148 of the Russian Criminal Code, which covers “offenses against religious beliefs,” and has been fined 30,000 rubles ($342), according to a spokeswoman for the city’s judiciary, Darya Lebedeva.

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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.”

She noted that the defendant had created the bar’s menu and used “Christian 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.

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

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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 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.