Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Priests Help With Traffic Violators in Russia
I'm at the Texas Assessment Conference in Austin right now. This is the one business trip that I have to take each year with my secular job. I'm too busy/tired to work on my Gospel of St. John study. I should have a new set of reflections up by Thursday. Tomorrow, I'll be travelling home. Please pray for a safe trip. It's only about a three hour trip for me, but I'll be pretty tired.
In the mean time, I thought I would share with you an interesting news story that one of my parishioners sent me. Enjoy!
MOSCOW (AFP) – Orthodox priests are teaming up with Russian traffic police to lecture sinful drivers and even pour holy water on dangerous intersections, the Noviye Izvestia daily newspaper reported on Wednesday.
In the town of Kuznetsk in Russia's Penza region, 700 kilometres (430 miles) southeast of Moscow, an Orthodox priest accompanies traffic police on patrols and gives violators spiritual advice instead of fines, the paper said.
"The effect has exceeded all of our expectations," Sergei Logov, head of the Kuznetsk traffic police, was quoted as saying. He added that accidents had been reduced by a third since the programme began.
Separately, in a campaign organised last month in the east Siberian city of Chita, priests gave drivers icons of St. Nicholas, considered to be the protector of travelers.
Noviye Izvestia also reported that priests on Russia's far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula had sprinkled holy water at dangerous intersections as part of a road safety campaign called "You're Never Late for a Date with God."
Religion is kept separate from the state under Russia's constitution but the historically dominant Orthodox Church has emerged as a powerful political force since the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union.