A priest's best friend: Orthodox clerics pose for calendar with their cute cats

© Lev Shlosberg
A glossy way to discover more about love and religion: a new calendar, commissioned by a Russian Orthodox website, features 12 priests with their super-cute cats.

It’s an unprecedented way to represent Russian clerics, who are usually not open for such informal coverage, according to Ksenia Luchenko, a journalist at the Pravmir Orthodox website, the author of the idea.

"That's why we did it ourselves. We're not linked to official structures," she told AFP.

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Posted by Ксения Лученко on 2 декабря 2015 г.

“It's all their own cats — nothing was staged. It was whoever had a cat and was ready to pose for a photo,” Luchenko added.

Many priests later asked the author why they weren’t added in the shoot.

“Seeing the result, some call and ask, ‘Why haven’t you invited me? I have a cat like this!” Luchenko told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

The official reaction from the Orthodox Church was voiced by its senior spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin, who said it was "not a great sin."

However, he added: “I wouldn't hang such a calendar on my wall”.

The reaction from the public was also divided. While the majority said the calendar was sweet, some said, “Nothing can help these priests, even cats!”