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Holy Scrubs: Medical Gowns The Latest To Get Official Orthodox Church Blessing

Doctors attend the traditional Orthodox consecration of medical gowns in Simferopol on June 10.
Doctors attend the traditional Orthodox consecration of medical gowns in Simferopol on June 10.

A Russian Orthodox priest made headlines in 2011 when he blessed the computers of a local equivalent of YouTube. The Russian media also went to town last year when priests consecrated the runway at a regional airport after the mayor survived a scary landing.

The latest such church blessing took place at the Trinity Church in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, where a special ceremony was held to consecrate the white medical gowns of health workers.

The June 10 Mass was held in the packed church before worshippers and a few dozen members of local medical clinics and hospitals -- each either wearing a white medical coat or holding it up with both hands toward the priest as he uttered the words of consecration.

The special "medical gown" ceremony was held in Holy Trinity because it is the host of the relics of St. Luke of Crimea -- aka. Orthodox priest and celebrated doctor Valentin Voyno-Yasenetsky.

A former Orthodox Church bishop in Crimea, Voyno-Yasenetsky became famous as a surgeon during World War II and is credited with saving many lives through his pioneering method of draining pus from wounds and known for drawing a cross to mark the exact place on a person's body where an incision was to be made.

Though Voyno-Yasenetsky won the Stalin Prize for medicine in 1946, he later suffered repression under the communists for his political views and spent 11 years in internal exile before dying in 1961.

He was made a saint by the Orthodox Church in 2000 and is venerated by believers every year on June 11.

'Champions Of Human Life'

During the consecration ceremony at Holy Trinity, Lazar, the metropolitan of Simferopol and Crimea, said the medical gown is no mere "work uniform" but rather a constant reminder of "the great responsibility the doctor-patient relationship carries with God."

Lazar added that "the white coat of the doctor symbolizes help" for people in trouble and that "people in white coats are champions of human life."

Lazar apparently didn't have any of the difficulties that Orthodox Church priest Viktor had to face four years ago while consecrating the servers of Russian video-streaming service Rutube at the company's Moscow offices in order to "expel evil spirits."

Rutube technicians apparently warned Viktor not to sprinkle holy water on the company's computers because it could damage them.

But Viktor reassured Rutube officials not to worry, the Russian Orthodox Church had long been using the Internet to communicate with "its flock."

No computer breakdowns were reported during Viktor's work, and Rutube later had a Jewish rabbi and a Muslim imam bless its servers for good measure.

The reason for consecration was very clear when Inta Mayor Pavel Smirnov called on the Orthodox Church to bless a runway at the Inta Airport in Russia's central Komi Republic after a plane carrying Smirnov skidded off the landing strip on June 5, 2014.

An angry Smirnov reportedly said he would punish those responsible for the rough landing while immediately requesting that the guilty runway get an official church blessing to prevent such a scare from occurring the next time his plane landed.

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