Via the Daily Telegraph:
Vladimir Putin has become the object of veneration for a bizarre Russian all-female sect whose followers believe that the tough-talking prime minister is a reincarnation of the early Christian missionary Paul the Apostle.
Members of the sect that has sprung up in a Russian village some 250 miles southeast of Moscow believe that the 58-year-old macho Russian politician is on a special mission from God.
“According to the Bible, Paul the Apostle was a military commander at first and an evil persecutor of Christians before he started spreading the Christian gospel,” the sect’s founder, who styles herself Mother Fotina, said.
“In his days in the KGB, Putin also did some rather unrighteous things. But once he became president, he was imbued with the Holy Spirit, and just like the apostle, he started wisely leading his flock. It is hard for him now but he is fulfilling his heroic deed as an apostle.”
Reports from the sect’s headquarters close to the town of Nizhny Novgorod say that its members are all women who dress like nuns and pray for Mr Putin’s success in front of traditional Russian Orthodox Church icons that have been placed alongside a portrait of the Russian prime minister himself.
Followers are reportedly encouraged to sing upbeat patriotic Soviet songs at ‘services’ rather than hymns.