Russian priests took to the skies and air-bombed approximately 70 liters of holy water to "save people from drunkenness and fornication." This was part of the city’s campaign to rid the citizens of drinking and fornication, with priests chanting a prayer service after pouring the water.
According to reports, the flight from Zmeyevo airfield has taken place every September since 2006 to mark the Russian Orthodox Church’s Day of Sobriety.
Father Alexander Goryachev gets on the plane each year in an effort to encourage sobriety in the country, with footage of the flight showing him fastened into a harness for safety purposes.
However, this was the first time holy water had been poured onto the city, with the priest and local Bishop Savva believing that extra measures were needed to save the city’s citizens from drunkenness and premarital sex.
Father Goryachev sent a published statement to a television station, which read:
"A man saw our plane flying overhead, and told his wife there and then that he would give up the drink – and he did. Every illness is caused by a virus, and viruses are demons. That’s why every illness is first and foremost a spiritual illness."
Rather than empty the holy water from an aspergillum – the apparatus priests use in the church – Father Alexander stated that the water had to be poured from a chalice instead: "This stops the spray from being blown back into the plane."
Although the story has been a source of entertainment and amusement for many, the priest maintained that there was nothing to laugh at, saying: "Laugh if you must, you’ll live longer."
Father Alexander added: "But what are you laughing at? Our efforts to help people heal themselves and stop drinking, taking drugs and fornicating? Let them laugh, but it won’t stop us doing our job."