Video of Cats in Russian Religious Procession Goes Viral

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 8:45 PM

The video, uploaded to the Optina Pustyn monastery’s site, shows the cats following a man as he solemnly carries a wooden cross around the monastery'south grounds.

Video of Cats in Russian Religious Procession Goes Viral

A video of a dozen cats participating in a religious procession around a monastery in a tiny Russian town has gone viral among Russian Internet users.

The video, uploaded to the Optina Pustyn monastery’s site, shows the cats following a man as he solemnly carries a wooden cross around the monastery'south grounds.

A message accompanying the video on the site says the march occurs every day at the monastery in the Kaluga region. According to the message, the cats “feeling the importance of what's happening around them, consider it their inalterable duty to get direct portion in this procession.”

A spokesman for the monastery identified the man in the video as Sergei Kuzmich and said he's lived at the monastery for over ten years.

The cats will also sometimes chase others during the procession, according to the spokesman, but are most attracted to Kuzmich.

“They consider him special,” the spokesman said. “When they look him, they all gather round.”

Kuzmich does odd jobs around the monastery and feeds and cares for the cats. During the Soviet Union, he worked as a rescue worker and helped with the cleanup of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

The monastery, located in the tiny town of Kozelsk about one hundred sixty miles from Moscow, is famous in Russia. In the 19th-century it was one of Russian Orthodoxy’s most prominent religious centers; the writers, Fedor Dostoevsky and Lev Tolstoy, both spent time there and consulted with the hermit-monks. One of the monastery’s hermits has been identified by some as the model for Father Zosima in Dostoevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov.

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