Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Priests try to keep up with time to make money on SMS messages and ATMs

The Russian Orthodox Church is looking for new ways to fill its purse with money.

A nun was spotted in the center of Yekaterinburg collecting donations for the restoration of temples. To return a favor, the nun was giving away copies of a newspaper article about a miraculous story which happened somewhere far away in Hong Kong. The article said that a bull, which butchers took to a slaughterhouse, flopped down on his knees and gazed at the butchers with prayers of mercy in his eyes. The butchers could not move the animal until they promised him that they would send him to live in a Buddhistic monastery, which they subsequently did.

When asked about a connection between the fairytale and the life of the eparchy, the nun said: “People need to be told of miracles. Father Vikenty allowed me.”

Archbishop Vikenty of Yekaterinburg is tireless in his search for new forms of financial support for his large and bothersome establishment. Residents of Yekaterinburg found curious envelopes in their mailboxes last year, on Easter eve. The envelopes contained bank receipts and leaflets calling people to make donations to restore the temple of Nicholas. In addition, the supporters were offered to get covered against tick bites.

The archbishop has recently purchased a powerful transmitter for Soyuz TV channel. He made quite enterprising efforts to collect the funds for the purchase. A news ticker informing local residents of the collection could be seen on many channels in Yekaterinburg for months. The treasury of the eparchy received about two million rubles (about $84,000) as a result of such advertising.

Prices on candles and other church goods doubled in Yekaterinburg and the region in the beginning of the current year. An elderly woman, who called the diocesan administration to inquire about the price growth, was told that the amount of donations had been raised due to the high inflation rate and the growth of prices on food.

Other eparchies of the Russian Orthodox Church try to catch up with their department in Yekaterinburg. Plastic collection boxes can be spotted in the majority of grocery stores and at every gas station in the city of Pskov.

The website of the Valaamsky Convent contains the price list of its funeral services and the bank account number in the Webmoney electronic system. The renowned convent accepts donations through text messages too. The smallest donation made with the use of a cell phone makes up $0.9.

However, Yekaterinburg is the only city in Russia, where the budget of the Russian Orthodox Church can be replenished with the help of ATMs. In addition to the list of common services, the ATMs offer something new – church donations. A supporter will see a picture of an icon on the screen of the machine when he or she makes such a donation.