Russian military to train priests to use combat vehicles

Omsk, Russia, February 2, 2018

The priests will not handle any weapons during the course of their training

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The Omsk Airborne Troops training center will hold training for the first time for Russian Orthodox priests soon. The clerics will learn how to drive BMD-4M combat vehicles, as well as the rules of use for military communications equipment, the Omsk Diocese reported to TASS on Thursday.

The special gathering of about 30 priests who serve as assistants to troop commanders for work with believing soldiers will be held February 5-8 at the Omsk base of the 242nd training center for airborne troops.

A special feature of the workshop is the unconditional ban on both the use and study of weapons by the clergymen. In between the practical sessions, the priests will hold spiritual-moral talks with students of the training centers and cadets of the Omsk Academy.

“During missions in ‘hot spots,’ the clergy of the airborne troops have had to evacuate wounded soldiers from the field of battle in armed personnel carriers many times. That’s alright if the priest was a soldier and knows how to do it from experience. But if not? What if the only hope for rescuing the wounded rests with the weaponless regimental priest, who doesn’t know how to control a military vehicle and can’t get in touch with anyone?” noted the representative of the Omsk Diocese who spoke with TASS.

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