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Russian Priests Fly ‘Holy Fire’ Aboard Military Helicopter Near Ukraine


Russian Orthodox priests borrowed a military helicopter to fly “Holy Fire” over a Russian town rattled by weeks of cross-border attacks.

Video published Tuesday showed two solemn priests holding a lantern and an icon while flying over the Belgorod region town of Stary Oskol, 100 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

“The clergy flew over Stary Oskol with the revered Iveron Icon of the Mother of God and Holy Fire brought from the Holy Sepulcher,” said Pravoslavnoye Oskolye, the Russian Orthodox Church’s local website.

The flame was brought from Jerusalem, where Christian tradition says Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected, to mark Orthodox Easter on April 24.

“The helicopter was provided by the servicemen,” Pravoslavnoye Oskolye said.

Social media users were quick to label the aircraft a “holycopter.”

The priests were joined by a local lawmaker and an administration official, Pravoslavnoye Oskolye reported.

Although the church did not indicate the flight's purpose, the sortie follows a series of explosions at oil depots and ammo dumps in Belgorod in the weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 that regional officials blame on Kyiv.

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