Russian church rides the rails

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As if recovering from seventy years of godless Communism wasn’t bad enough for the Russian Orthodox church, the fall of the regime has brought a whole new challenge: flocks of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and emissaries from other overseas religions competing with the old church for unsaved Slavic souls. In response, the Orthodox church has launched a church-on-wheels to spread the word.

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The GUARDIAN UNLIMITED reports that the rolling church has been painstakingly outfitted with a pulpit and altar, stained glass, and gold leaf worth more than US$70,000 — making it, as a train factory official bragged, “the most expensive carriage in all Russia.” Drunks and beggars were shooed out of the station so Patriarch Alexei II could come sprinkle the train with holy water to send it on its way.

The train will carry a team of six priests and 12 trainee clerics to remote, churchless villages in the far north, where an intensive line-up of weddings, funerals, and christenings await them.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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