Footage of the "dance with sabers" performed by the priest of a preeminent rank has gone viral. In the video, Valeriy Kolesnikov, the abbot of St. Nicholas Church in Gubkinsky, a town in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia, masterfully handles the weapon, with a Cossack song playing in the background.
Filmed on November 20 at the conference dedicated to the interaction of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Cossacks, the video caused a stir online. Some Internet users admired the archpriest's skills; others considered it inappropriate claiming that weapons and religion can't be mixed.
The archpriest turns out to be the self-taught saber virtuoso in only only six weeks. He learned how to handle the swords from the Internet, looking at videos and repeating the movements. Being a confessor of local Cossacks, Valeriy wanted to become a good example for the elderly generation, which is hardly able to perform any physical activity, as well as introduce young ones to the secular traditions of the Cossacks.