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 aren’t usually open to such informal presentation. Ksenia Luchenko, a journalist at the Orthodox website Pravmir, who came up with of the idea, told AFP:
That’s why we did it ourselves. We’re don’t have links to the official Church. It’s all their own cats… we staged nothing. It was whoever had a cat and was ready to pose for a photo.
Many priests later asked the author why they weren’t part of the shoot. Luchenko told the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, “Seeing the result, some called and asked us, ‘Why didn’t you invite me? I have a cat like this!’” The official reaction from the Orthodox Church came from top spokesman Archpriest V A Chaplin, the head of the MP Synodal Department for the Coordination of Church and Society (OVTsO), who said, “It wasn’t a great sin, but I wouldn’t hang such a calendar on my wall”. Even the public had mixed reactions… a majority said that the calendar was sweet, but some said, “Nothing can help these priests, even cats!”
6 December 2015
Finally, we got the calendar Поп + Кот (“Priest (slang) and Cat”) from the printers! Put this on your wall for 2016! Twelve months, so, we have 12 priests with their housecats or cats. We combined the idea of the Alaverdy Calendario Romano (with handsome Catholic priests) and Calendar i Gatti di Roma (with cats of Rome). Here’s our dream team who worked on the calendar:
- Photographer: Anna Galperina
- Coordinator: Кsеniya Luchenko
- Design: Aleksei Chekal
- Editor: Sergei Chapnin
- Production: Аleksаndrа Akmayeva
We want to give a big thanks to the Christian Artist Artel Artos (http://artos.name). So far, it’s only on offer for sale at the Pokrovsky Gates Cultural Centre (at the Primus Store, 27 Pokrovka Street p. 1) or you can contact me.
The Priests and Their Cats:
- January: Archpriest Oleg Batov and Cat Apelsin (Orange (fruit))
- February: Archpriest Pyotr Dynnikov and Cats Angola and Vasik
- March: Archpriest Viktor Grigorenko and Cat Motya
- April: Priest Sergei Kruglov and Cat Shurik
- May: Hieromonk Grigori Pobozhin and Cat Koshka (“cat”)
- June: Priest Yevgeny Nevodin and Cat Irs
- July: Archpriest Pavel Velikanov and Cat Rys (Lynx)
- August: Priest Dimitri Kuzmichyov and Cat Maks
- September: Archpriest Aleksandr Strizhak and Cat Lyamurka
- October: Hieromonk Feodorit Senchukov and Cat Mona
- November: Archpriest Lev Shikhlyarov and Cat Selestina
- December: Archpriest Vyacheslav Perevezentsyov and Cat Bonya
2 December 2015
In a rare venture into popular culture, Russian Orthodox priests posed as models for a glossy 2016 calendar, cuddling their pet cats. The calendar put together by an Orthodox news website has 12 smiling priests in dark robes relaxing with their cats… sitting side-by-side on the sofa, or having the pet sprawled on their chest, or draped round their shoulders. One of the creators, who came up with the idea, Ksenia Luchenko, a journalist at the Pravmir website said:
It’s the first calendar to depict priests in such a way. However, the Church isn’t usually open to such an informal depiction of its clerics. That’s why we did it ourselves. We’re don’t have links to the official Church.
Religious-themed calendars usually just depict holy icons. Luchenko said of the casting process for the calendar:
It’s all their own cats… we staged nothing. It was whoever had a cat and was ready to pose for a photo.
Nevertheless, Luchenko conceded that the cat-owning priests in the charming black-and-white shots by Anna Galperina turned out to be “nice-looking”. The Russian Orthodox Church doesn’t officially endorse the calendar. Senior Church spokesman Archpriest V A Chaplin, the head of the MP Synodal Department for the Coordination of Church and Society (OVTsO), told Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei radio, “it isn’t a great sin, but I wouldn’t hang such a calendar on my wall”. However, it has won praise from the media, with the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda writing, “The priests are kind and twinkly, and the cats are cute and fluffy”. Even Russian Cosmopolitan magazine covered the calendar. Luchenko added:
Not all priests agreed to do it. Not everyone wants that kind of publicity. Our calendar Поп + Кот (“Priest (slang) and Cat”) grew out of a photography book project showing Russian priests in their everyday lives. By chance, we had a photo of a priest with a cat, so, I thought, “Why not do a series?” It was only after we completed the calendar that the team realised they had a Roman Catholic competitor… an unofficial calendar published in Rome every year featuring handsome priests called the Calendario Romano. Our calendar had an initial print run of 1,000 copies, but that looks likely to increase. Several churches ordered them to sell in their shops.
The creators also plan a presentation with some of their priest-models later this month, to raise funds for an animal shelter.
5 December 2015