Outside of Moscow, the eccentric members of nun-like sect venerate Russian politician Vladimir Putin as the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul, AKA Saul of Tarsus, AKA Saint Paul, early Christian missionary and proselytizer. The women are the followers of Svetlana Frolova, who calls herself Mother Fotina. From The Telegraph:
“According to the Bible, Paul the Apostle was a military commander at first and an evil persecutor of Christians before he started spreading the Christian gospel,” the sect’s founder, who styles herself Mother Fotina, said.
“In his days in the KGB, Putin also did some rather unrighteous things. But once he became president, he was imbued with the Holy Spirit, and just like the apostle, he started wisely leading his flock. It is hard for him now but he is fulfilling his heroic deed as an apostle.”
Reports from the sect’s headquarters close to the town of Nizhny Novgorod say that its members are all women who dress like nuns and pray for Mr Putin’s success in front of traditional Russian Orthodox Church icons that have been placed alongside a portrait of the Russian prime minister himself.
Followers are reportedly encouraged to sing upbeat patriotic Soviet songs at ‘services’ rather than hymns.
As befits a sect that worships a man who has denounced the decadence of the oligarchs, the sect’s members are said to survive on a Spartan diet of turnips, carrots, peas and buckwheat.
A local priest dismissed Mother Fotina: “Her so-called teachings are a nonsensical mixture of Orthodoxy, Catholicism, the occult, Buddhism and political information,” he said. “But (Mother) Fotina does not come across as a mad person.”
A spokesperson for Putin said that the macho Russian strongman was “bemused.”