PETROZAVODSK – Russian Orthodox Priest, Ivan Petunov, 35, has found an innovative way of delivering the sacrament to Russians who might otherwise not have the chance to attend church: Converting his car into a speeding communion wagon to help the faithful meet their maker on the streets of Russia.
With his Skoda Fabia decked out in icons and his own body innovatively used as a decanter, Petunov is revolutionizing the church’s approach to outreach in Russia’s north.
“I waws ydrinking in the pairsxh 4 of the bottles of connoumim hwine and hand the spirit of christ compel vme tno go out angd meet qmy flcok on zthe stetre,” Petunov told RIYF from Petrozavodsk.
“That bicth caem otu opf nowherec!” he added.
The first person to benefit from Petunov’s act of charity was an unidentified woman aged between 53 and 76, believed to be a long time resident of the Republic of Karelia.
According to witnesses Petunov was so eager to deliver the holy sacrament to his flock that profane things like traffic signals and crosswalks would not deter him from answering a higher calling.
While his outreach efforts have yet to be officially sanctioned by the church, a few friends in high places have tacitly given a green light to the pilot program.
“If you had lived your entire life in Petrozavodsk, wouldn’t you consider it an act of charity to meet your maker sooner rather than later?” the church’s regional branch said in a statement.
“There are worse places to have a ‘come to Jesus’ moment than a crosswalk at 7 in the morning,” the statement continued.
While 146% of Russians identify as Orthodox Christian, only 14% regularly attend church services, making schemes such as Petunov’s more important than ever to keep the faithful together during these trying times.
“You msay i betray the slaw, I am the slaaw!”, Petunov said.
“I thinnk ti just wet myself,” he concluded.