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Russian bodybuilding priest serves both body & mind (PHOTOS)

Russian bodybuilding priest serves both body & mind (PHOTOS)
A head priest at a church in Russia's Belgorod Region has been making headlines, losing his long priestly robes to flaunt his well toned muscles after service.

Priest Maksim Pastukhov has been serving at a local church in the Ivanovka village in south-western Russia for several years. Admired by elder church-goers as a kind and wise spiritual guide, the man also courts fans among other audiences.

Photographs of Father Maksim recently appeared in Russian media, and nothing but briefs covered the priest's not-so-chaste body. Showcasing his muscles, he took part at a regional bodybuilding championship, gaining third prize. The all-action priest also has a black belt in martial arts.

Father Maksim says he's been minding both his spiritual and physical development for a long while. Serving the church and its congregation, he is also in charge of a gym for local boys, where they can train and build muscles under the priest's supervision. To open the "Orthodox sports club" named after one of the saints, equipped with costly weight-lifting and other fitness machines, the man sold his house, he revealed in an interview.

The priest says young people come to the gym not to train their bodies only. They often get involved in religious discussions, he says, adding that he also serves as a confessor outside the church. Each practice starts and finishes with a prayer.

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