Russia’s Optina Monastery is an Orthodox Christian center located south of Moscow that dates back to at least the sixteenth century. The sacred spot has reportedly welcomed many notable guests during its long history — including writers Nikolay Gogol, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy.
However, the monastery’s latest guests are a bit furrier than these writers.
Optina uploaded a YouTube video on March 29 showing a band of cats following one of the center’s residents while he performed a ritual blessing.
In an email, one of the monks from Optina confirmed to The Huffington Post that the cats’ human leader was Sergey Kuzmich, a lay person who is living at the center. The monk said that the members of the community have an old tradition of walking around inside the center every day to bless the walls, gates and buildings with a cross. The monks take turns performing this task daily.
Kuzmich is the one who usually feeds the stray cats that appear at the hermitage. But this particular time, it seems that when it was their friend’s turn to do the blessing, the furry felines couldn’t resist jumping in.
“Cats know and love him and so they decided to take part in the whole procedure, though it wasn’t feeding time, which looked very touching and that’s why we filmed it and have shared this video on YouTube,” the monk wrote to The Huffington Post.
Watch the video above to see these cats unapologetically strut their stuff.
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