The Czech news site Tyden reports that a new sect was discovered in Russia that worships Vladimir Putin as the incarnation of Saint Paul. The worshipers of St. Putin are concentrated in the town of Bolshaya Yelnya near Novgorod. Matriarch Fotynya, who had founded the sect, explained that, before he became a saint, St. Paul didn’t exactly lead a model life: he had been a soldier and a cruel persecutor of Christians. By the same token, Vladimir Putin had started in the KGB, but when he abandoned his less-than-sterling behavior, the Holy Ghost descended upon him and he, Putin, began to guide his lambs with wisdom.
The local Orthodox patriarch, who isn’t impressed, referred to Fotynya’s teaching as a mishmash of Orthodoxy, occultism and Soviet political dogma. But no one seems to want to move against Fotynya, even when she makes her followers give her all their possessions and move into her country commune.
The Kremlin, however, seems pleased. Putin’s spokesman, Dimitri Peskov, said that the Kremlin is impressed with the high value Fotynya’s followers place on Putin’s activities. He added, however, that he feels compelled to cite one of the Ten Commandments, namely “Thou shalt have no other god before Me.”
But he didn’t specify whether he was referring to Putin or to the Christian G-d.