Russia's army priests are trading their traditional black cassocks for new, specially designed uniforms, the state-run TASS news agency reported on Monday.
The new uniforms are based on the same dark green, digital pattern camouflage worn by Russian soldiers, but sport special insignia and patches identifying the wearer's religious role. Collar tabs display the Russian Orthodox cross, and the priest's ecclesiastical rank is displayed in front of his name and initials. The priests will still wear their large Orthodox crosses around their neck.
"This uniform is very comfortable for priests when they go out to the field, do training, or visit firing ranges, because constantly going around in robes isn't convenient for military service," said Igor Agafonov, a spokesman for the Central Military District's Military-Religious Affairs Department.
So far the uniforms have only been adopted in the Central Military District where they were designed, but Agafonov expressed hope that they would eventually be adopted throughout the army.