October 5, 2009

Russian Church Houses Ostriches

Rector of Kemerovo Church Sheltered Emus

Kemerovo, Russia
September 3, 2009

Australian ostriches live at St. Triphon Church in Kemerovo village of Metallploschadka.

This spring, a parishioner has given two emus as a present to Fr. Gleb Karlyuta, Siberian edition of the Rossijskaya Gazeta weekly has reported on Thursday.

"They gave - I took: why to reject presents! Frankly speaking, I wanted to have something unusual at the church. The idea with birds seemed to be made in heaven," Fr. Gleb said.

The priest reminded that it was mentioned in St. Triphon's life story that he was a protector of farmers and saved fields from plant pests with birds' help as they eliminated gluttonous insects.

Ostriches help increase the number of churchgoers. "Now, ten people pray inside the church and another ten people - near the aviary," the priest told.

Turkey cocks and a hen have come to the churchyard after the ostriches. Their aviary is located near the ostriches. The church guard and sometimes the father rector feed the birds with corn, vegetable peelings, greenery, special compound and even cottage cheese (to strengthen their bones.)

"When ostriches appeared in our churchyard, I came across various opinions in Internet forums, some people wondered if they could be allowed to the churchyard. I believe we have to explain people in different ways that the Church and God are not somewhere in the distant heavens. Church can be a house for cats and for dogs as well. And doves have always lived at churches," Fr. Gleb stated.

It is not the first church in the region to house animals. Thus, Kemerovo Church of St. Xenia of Petersburg has a club of horse riding.