A prayer service for the Olympic team


The Synodal Department for Church Relations with Society and the Mass Media of the Moscow Patriarchate announced a prayer service on the occasion of the departure of the Russian Olympic team to Tokyo. The prayer will be held by the chairman of the Patriarchal Commission on Physical Culture and Sports (there is one), Metropolitan Mitrofan (Badanin) of Murmansk and Monchegorsk and Archpriest Andrei (Alekseev), the spiritual advisor of the national team.

Russian athletes in the temple before leaving for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro / Archive photo

The message reads: “With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia <…> a traditional prayer service will be held before the departure of the Russian national team for the XXXII Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo”.

The event is scheduled for June 30, but it is not yet known whether it will take place before or after Vladimir Putin‘s press conference.

In addition to priests and athletes, the following will turn to God: Chairman of the Russian Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdnyakov, chairmen of Russian sports federations, representatives of the Olympic Committee and all employees of the Russian Ministry of Sports who will accompany the team. Whether Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, Hare Krishnas, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists and atheists will be among the participants is not reported.

Since the commemorative event is called traditional, it means that it is not the first time that they pray together. The specific results of appeals to the Almighty are difficult to determine. But by circumstantial evidence, we can assume that the Man Upstairs can hardly hear us: most Russian footballers kiss the lawn and point their fingers to the sky before entering the field, but it’s all in vain. It didn’t work in Sochi either. While the competition was going on, it seemed to help. And then our heavenly office was unable to cope with the International Anti-Doping Agency. And then things went wrong real fast.

We sincerely wish good luck to our athletes. May they show good results and win wonderful victories in a fair fight. But, in our opinion, persistent training will bring more benefits than visiting temples. In the atheistic Soviet Union, sporting achievements were significantly higher than in modern Russia.