Russia has called for the urgent ‘de-Satanization’ of Ukraine and has begun deploying Russian priests to the frontline to bolster morale among the troops.
Viktor Ivanov, a priest for the Russian Orthodox Church in Ufa, detailed his excursion into the “special military operation” zone on social media.
While visiting Russian positions on the front line, he declared, “A strong man approached. … Modestly, as if embarrassed, he looks at me and timidly asks: ‘Father, our fighter wanted to be baptized. Is that possible to do?’”
Thedailybeast.com reports: Ivanov said he sprung into action after realizing there may not be another chance to perform the baptism, asking the troops to search for a basin to fill with water.
But “not a single basin was found,” he said. Instead, the troops found him polyethylene bags—the black ones meant for the bodies of the dead. And then the “long-awaited” baptism was able to go ahead and the soldier’s eyes lit up in recognition of the “great event,” Ivanov wrote.
Sure, “the black polyethylene bags that were used as the baptismal vessels were intended for cargo 200,” he said, using a military code word for the bodies of troops killed in action. But “this baptism had its own symbolism.”
The baptism came as Patriarch Kirill, the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, ramped up his support for the war Tuesday by claiming Putin is the chosen one to fight against the “antichrist.”
In a speech before the 24th Congress of the World Russian People’s Council, Putin’s holy man argued there were “a lot” of signs to indicate the “end of the world” was near—and the Russian leader is the only one who can stop it, a fact which makes other world leaders jealous.
“The example of Russia as a contemporary nation with developed science, technology and education, headed by a president who openly proclaims his faith forces many in the West to ask themselves, ‘why isn’t it like that with us?’” he said.
Alexei Pavlov, deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, claimed in an op-ed in the Arguments and Facts newspaper that as the war drags on, there is “more and more” evidence of cults in Ukraine.