Moscow Patriarchate “Outraged” at Blessed Water Sales

Apparently the MP is not pleased because an enterprising priest didn’t give his cut on spring water that he blessed. In a country where “blessed eggs” are sold in supermarkets days before Pascha, and the MP has its official brand of chocolate, the emphasized sentence is horribly telling. One wonders how smart the MP authorities are at the same time (“besides it is unacceptable to distribute sacraments in this manner”). If this water is being sold by the bottle, do they think it’s going to be poured in a tub and used in a baptism? NFTU

(RIA Novosti) – The Russian Orthodox Church in southern Siberia has demanded that a local company halt sales of bottled water advertised as “blessed,” the Novye Izvestiya newspaper said on Monday.

The Triyera company, based in the Altai Territory city of Biisk, has been selling its “Mountain Spring – Baptismal” water since early March. Adverts for the water, which is more expensive than its rivals, claim that it was bottled from a spring in the Altai mountains on Epiphany and blessed in line with Church traditions. Epiphany is celebrated in Russia on January 19.

“January has long gone and there are long queues at the church,” the advert for the water read. “What can you do if you couldn’t lay in a supply of healing water? You could wait for next year – or you could simply go to the shop. We care about people who need baptismal water the whole year round.”

“This is a blatant case of sacrilege,” Bishop Maxim of Barnaul and Altai said in a letter to the company, quoted by the paper. “The water in question has not been blessed and besides it is unacceptable to distribute sacraments in this manner.”

The bishop also said that Church authorities could take the company to court.

The Triyera company has also forwarded a video clip of the blessing of the spring to a priest charged by Bishop Maxim with investigating the water. The unnamed priest has since turned his attention to the blessing printed on the label.

“Is God Save You a wish or a blessing? If a blessing, then this is an infringement of all Church rules, because only we have the right to bless,” the priest was quoted as saying by the paper.

“I understand the reaction of the Church,” the paper quoted the company’s general director, Nikolai Polkin, as saying. “Everything connected to Church brands must belong to the Church. Everything that happens today is done for business purposes. We just didn’t make a deal.”