Priest appointed to help stressed Russian athletes
Russians athletes who were cleared to participate in the Olympic Games in Brazil following a major doping scandal are not having a great time in Rio, despite having been blessed by a walking, talking Christmas tree better known as His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, above.
According to the Chicago Tribune:
The Russians, like characters from any garden-variety Cold War movie, are cast in the role of the villains at the Rio Olympics. During the first three days of competition, they have competed under the suspicion of fellow athletes and under the derision of otherwise neutral fans. More than 100 Russian athletes were banished from the Games because of their ties to a state-sanctioned doping program; the 270 or so who were cleared and are here to compete have encountered open hostility.
Heavens to Betsy, they’ve even been booed!
Bring on Archpriest Andrey Alexeyev, rector of the Church of St Dmitry Donskoy in Severnoye Butovo, south of Moscow.
Alexeyev, according to this report, been appointed “father-confessor” to the Russian Olympic team. He declared:
I have an inner demand to share with you a piece of unexpected news that His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia appointed me a father-confessor of the Russian Olympic team during their stay in Rio de Janeiro.
Alexeyev said that members of the Russian team have experienced:
Great stress in connection with the notorious developments, which certainly exceeded sport grounds.
The priest urged parishioners to pray for Russian athletes:
Who will have to go through difficult trials. Our task is to support them in this complicated affair.
Earlier Patriarch Kirill met with Russian athletes and conducted a special prayer service for them in the Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin.
A site called “Last news from Russia” adds that Muslims are also fervently head-butting their magic carpets for the athletes.