Holy cats, Batman! A Russian monk at the historic Optina Pustyn monastery leads a motley crew of cats through the snow each and every day while blessing them and handing out treats.
Optina Pustyn - “Opta's Hermitage” in Russian – was founded many centuries ago though most of its current buildings date from the early 19th and 20th centuries. The Eastern Orthodox monastery for men is located near Kozelsk in western Russia. Its main claim to fame has been its long tradition of religious mentorship and teaching.
Not any more... thanks to Kuzmich, a caretaker at the monastery who has lived there for about 10 years. Every day Kuzmich, holding a crucifix in his right hand, leads a procession of 6-8 cats around the winding paths that weave through the monastery's grounds. At times Kuzmich will pause to bless the various buildings and presumably the cats as well.
The cats belong to a semi-feral colony on the monastery's grounds, according to the press officer for Optina Pustyn. The press officer added that Kuzmich cares for the cats and feeds them, which if one thinks about it is an effective way to attract a following of felines. In any case, Kuzmich and his kittehs are a hit: a video of them posted at the Optina RU YouTube channel is closing in on half a million views at press time. (via TVZvezda)